My favorite part of the first film was Tony Stark. Although we get lots of him in this chapter, it's not the same Tony from Iron Man 1. Aside from the court room scene, his wit has been replaced by desperation. Maybe that's an intentional aspect of his character arc, but I missed his attitude from the original.
I'm not familiar with the comic version, so perhaps War Machine sucks in those, too, but any time Rhodey stepped on screen, the chemistry of the film took a nose dive. Compared to when we first met him, the character seemed as different as the actor portraying him. I never thought Rhodes would go behind Tony's back so easily. In IM2, he has seemingly no qualms about betraying his friend.
What kind of friend conspires with the guy testifying against you in court and so happily hands over the very thing you were fighting to keep out of that enemy's hands?
The motivation made zero sense to me.
The "fight" at the party was the lowest point of the movie for me. Both visually and conceptually. If I don't like how my buddy is acting, running downstairs and stealing his secret weapon to use against him is probably not top five on my list of good ideas.
Was Rhodes given super secret clearance off screen? Did he get to test out the suits or are they so easy to pilot, a Caveman could do it?
Unless they play it off as an origin story.
Origin stories always seem to work best as movies. Maybe that's why the first movie in any given series is always the strongest.