When you think of bodybuilding documentaries, there is probably only one you might know, Pumping Iron. It showed the rivalry between a then unknown Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, who seemed to have the greatest chance of winning the title of Mr. Olympia. Bodybuilding is a niche market, but thanks to the later career of Schwarzenegger this documentary has become known. Generation Iron from 2013 was presented as a spiritual successor, which not only Schwarzenegger and Ferrigno were part of, but which mainly focused on the battle for the title between Phil Heath and Kai Greene in 2012. The sequel also steps back into the world of bodybuilding , but shifting its focus from the competitive aspect of this sport to the sport itself and how it has changed in recent years.
Personally I know hardly anything about bodybuilding, so this documentary gives an interesting insight into the world of bodybuilding. Here too, social media has started to play an important role and there are various bodybuilders who can earn their money with it. For example, there is the monstrously large Rich Piana (who died this summer), who admits that he has become the way he is using steroids and will continue to use them. The young Australian Calum Von Moger has moved to California to try to break through as both a bodybuilder and an actor. But the bodybuilding competitions have also changed.
Former winners tell how it slowly seems to be more and more about mass instead of form. The most successful bodybuilder ever is Iris Kyle. She won Ms. Olympia ten times. Yet she struggles because the market has changed and the competition has stopped in her class. The fact that she is asked to qualify for another competition is almost bizarre. Kai Greene, who always was second in competitions, has turned away from the sport to focus on acting, art and books. It makes Generation Iron 2 a varied overview of a subculture that is interesting to watch.
Generation Iron 2 is available through Netflix