The album of AC/DC songs was announced on January 26, 2010, and released on April 19 in the United Kingdom, the next day in the United States, and on April 23 in Australia. It consists of fifteen tracks originally released on ten different albums[a] between 1975 and 2008, with the music drawn almost equally from the Bon Scott and Brian Johnson eras of AC/DC. Some of the material was remixed by Mike Fraser for possible inclusion in the film, but, of the songs included on the album, only "Shoot to Thrill" and "Highway to Hell" were ultimately featured in the film, while "Thunderstruck", "War Machine", and "The Razors Edge" were used in trailers and commercials; "Back in Black" had been featured in Iron Man (2008).
Like the soundtrack album for Stephen King's 1986 film Maximum Overdrive, which is titled Who Made Who and also exclusively features music by AC/DC, Iron Man 2 has been seen as, not a greatest hits collection, but a compilation album that contains both hits and lesser known tracks. Unlike Who Made Who, however, there are no new songs on Iron Man 2. Of the use of the band's music in the film, Steve Barnett, co-chairman of Columbia Records, said: "Jon Favreau's vision and passion for AC/DC's music blend seamlessly into this incredible film. The music really underscores the high energy and excitement of the film."
Upon the album's release, a music video for "Highway to Hell" was released. It features footage from the film Iron Man 2 alongside footage and live audio of AC/DC performing the song in River Plate Stadium in late 2009.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of the online music database AllMusic gave the album a mixed review, writing that "this is good guts-and-guitar music, its only flaw being that it plays it totally safe…unless you stop to consider that it might be a bit of a risk to pitch a collection of 30-year-old music to the teenage audience of Iron Man 2." The BBC gave the album a positive review, stating: "Younger listeners might find it all a bit clichéd, but remember: AC/DC are the originators, their imitators responsible for diluting the package’s potency. For those about to rock, raise another salute to your enduringly enthralling forefathers."
The album debuted at No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart upon its release, giving AC/DC their third No. 1 album in the U.K. after Back in Black (1980) and Black Ice (2008). In the U.S., it sold 76,000 copies in its first week of release and debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, becoming the band's eighth top-10 release on the chart. It reached the top of the Billboard Mainstream Rock Albums chart and stayed there for five consecutive weeks.
James Christopher Monger from Allmusic wrote that Debney "had to contend with a near constant barrage of classic AC/DC songs when putting together his score". He called "I Am Iron Man" "a rousing, heroic, old-fashioned blast of all American guts and glory that sounds ripped (in a good way) from an old A-Team episode", and continued that "Antagonist Ivan Vanko's theme is appropriately muscular and Russian sounding, while action cues are beefy and peppered with bursts of distorted guitar (presumably a nod to Angus Young's omnipresent riffage), resulting in a score that’s more than worthy of its narcissistic, heavily armored protagonist."
^Eight albums, plus two different editions of Powerage (the version of "Rock 'n' Roll Damnation" on Iron Man 2 is the full-length version originally released on the Australian and U.S. editions of Powerage, which did not include "Cold Hearted Man", which was originally released on the European edition of Powerage, which included the abbreviated single version of "Rock 'n' Roll Damnation").