The plot of "Iron Man 2" revolves around Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., adjusting to life after revealing himself as Iron Man in the first film. He must also contend with new villains, including Justin Hammer and Ivan Vanko.
At the end of "Iron Man," Tony revealed himself as the title character to the media. In "Iron Man 2," Tony's role as a superhero has granted him A-list celebrity status, which leads to conflict with his friends and loved ones. Tony's friend Lt. James Rhodes, played by Don Cheadle, begins to lose faith in him, and Tony's love interest Pepper Potts, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, begins to lose her feelings for him.
In the midst of Tony's personal troubles, two new villains attack him. Justin Hammer, played by Sam Rockwell, is a rival businessman determined to eliminate Tony from competition by any means necessary. To do this, Hammer enlists the aid of Ivan Vanko, a superpowered Russian fugitive. Vanko nearly succeeds, but is ultimately foiled by Iron Man, along with help from Rhodes's alter ego, War Machine. The film ends with Tony and Pepper admitting their love for each other, with Tony also considering an offer to join the Avengers.