Iron Man 2 (2010) annotations
Release date (US): 7th May 2010
Director: Jon Favreau
Screenwriters: Justin Theroux
Interesting that over the Paramount logo and Marvel logo, we hear the press conference that ended Iron Man (2008), with Tony Stark revealing he’s Iron Man. We are picking up right after the last film.
And we go straight to Moscow. They tell us its Moscow, but we couldn’t find the location for this shot along the river.
The a snowy train station, and then the street.
The production never got close to Moscow, and this was all set work. It was most likely Raleigh Manhattan Beach Studios – 1600 Rosecrans Avenue, Manhattan Beach. Not only was that the primary studio for this film, it was the home of the Marvel Studio offices at the time.
An old man watches the television. It is the same footage that ends Iron Man (2008), the press conference.
An old man is watching. It is Anton Vanko. He’s played by Evgeniy Lazarev.
In the comics, Anton Vanko is the original Crimson Dynamo, an Iron Man villain but eventual ally, whose origins laid in Russia (hence the name). He is the first of many characters, mainly villains, to use the name (and the suit).
He first appeared in Tales Of Suspense #46 (October 1963), and created by Don Heck and Stan Lee.
Originally, the plan for this film was to have both Whiplash and Crimson Dynamo as the villains (having two villains in the sequel was still cool at this point). That idea was eventually shelved, although more Crimson Dynamo lore will appear later in the film. But the filmmakers did use many elements of Crimson Dynamo’s comic book origin for Whiplash.
His apartment location is unknown, and again, likely a set.
The score here is called Ivan’s Metamorphosis.
Anton Vanko is the father of Ivan Vanko, who comes to tend to him. He is played by Mickey Rourke.
This is where it gets a little complicated. Ivan Vanko will become Whiplash in this film, however he is not the real identity of that villain in the comics. In fact, no Ivan Vanko exists in the comic at all, but his father, of course, does. So the filmmakers basically created a son for the original Crimson Dynamo to be the main villain here.
There was a Whiplash in the comic, who was a villain associated with Iron Man. He’s real name was Mark Scarlotti, and he had made a special metal whip. You can see why the filmmakers changed it up, but he was a gifted technician (like so many of Iron Man’s foes).
He first appeared in Marvel Team-Up #145 (September 1984), and was created by Gene Colan and Stan Lee.
Rourke was a huge star in the 80s on the back of breakout hits like Diner and 9 1/2 Weeks. Rourke left acting in 1991, but had been making a slow return, finally earning huge acclaim for his role in The Wrestler.
He told Popmatters:
“I didn’t want to do a one-dimensional bad guy like you’d see in a comic book. Get some schmuck to do that. Hollywood always does that, especially when it’s a Russian bad guy. I wanted to add layers to it, represent where he’s coming from, and have a sense of humor.
I want to challenge myself and challenge the audience to say, ‘I see something redeemable in him.’ That makes it more interesting and not so silly.”
Since 2010, another character has taken the mantle of Whiplash – one very much based on this film’s take on the character. His real name is Anton Vanko, of no relation to the original Crimson Dynamo.
Either way, the film’s Anton Vanko dies.
Ivan Vanko gets to work. This sequence supplies the opening credit sequence.
On his wall are images of Stark taken from magazines. The Rolling Stone and Forbes covers appeared in Iron Man (2008).
There’s some pretty funny photoshop jobs on young Robert Downey Jr.
He is working from plans that have the Stark Industries logo on them.
And he’s made an arc reactor.
Then our titles. They animate quite nicely.
6 months later, according to the film.
The music we hear is Shoot to Thrill by AC/DC. It’s a track from their massive 1980 album Back In Black. Aside from the orchestral score. AC/DC provided the rest of the soundtrack for the film. The AC/DC only soundtrack sold 3 million copies – the band was previously against compilations in any form.
They even made a video for this song.
Iron Man is jumping out of a plane. He is hit by some fireworks and lands in what we will see is Stark Expo. This is armour Mark 4.
The city is below him is the New York borough of Queens – in particular Flushing. Although much of the expo centre was created digitally.
When the text for Stark Expo comes on the screen, there is a scene of Flushing at night, with the world globe in the foreground. It’s called the Unisphere and it’s located at Flushing Meadows–Corona Park. It was created for the 1964-65 World’s Fair.
Stark Expo probably takes a lot from the World’s Fair. Marvel created a website to promote the expo like a real event – StarkExpo2010.com – but it’s gone.
We assume that’s Flushing Bay we can see behind the expo centre.
There’s also a big Kodak sign. Brand names like this don’t happen by accident, and there’s no Kodak Theatre in Queens. We see a little more of Kodak later.
Big smiles as Stark removes his armour to reveal a tux. Tony Stark is played by Robert Downey Jr.
“Once you tell an origins story pretty well, that’s usually where things start to get dull, and one or two or three things start to happen over and over again. So, we made Tony Stark’s challenges very much outside the usual realm of activity. As much as anything else, it’s much more of a side job for him the second time around. And the great thing, too, is that the Marvel universe is wild; it’s so far out. That’s the big balance to strike. It would be so easy to go so far out it would intergalactic and nothing would be grounded in reality any more.”
There was an alternative opening sequence that involved the expo.
Stark makes a big speech. In it, he says 1974 was the last time the Stark Expo took place.
He then throws to his dad, Howard Stark, on a video. He’s played by John Slattery.
We only saw an image of him in Iron Man (2008), although he was referred to several times. In that film, he was portrayed by Gerard Sanders.
Howard Stark is also Tony’s dad and the founder of Stark Industries in the comics. There was also a tense father/son relationship, and he also years before there was an Iron Man.
He first appeared in Iron Man #28 (August 1970) and was created by Archie Goodwin and Don Heck.
Tim Robbins was considered for the role.
The music that plays over the old video is Make Way for Tommorow Today by Richard Sherman.
Stark checks his blood and there’s something wrong. Toxicity is 19%.
Reporting live from the expo is Chess Roberts, played by Olivia Munn.
Chess Roberts made only one appearance in the comics, in Iron Man Vol. 3#1 (February 1998). That issue was part of the Heroes Return storyline, and she reported on Stark’s return from his apparent death.
Munn had broken out as a correspondent for The Daily Show, which she was still appearing in at the time this film came out. She would go on to roles in TV shows like The Newsroom and films like X-Men Apocalypse.
She is reporting for WHIH, the fake news channel of the MCU, that has a real YouTube channel.
The news scroll calls it a keynote speech. It’s worth noting at this time keynote speeches by tech heads were all the rage, thanks to a series of electrifying product launches by Apple’s Steve Jobs. There’s definitely some of Jobs in Stark, and it’s the butt of a joke that would feature in Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 (2017).
Here’s Happy Hogan played by Jon Favreau.
“I’ve never done a sequel before. For me there wasn’t the same pressure that you’re used to feeling. [The first time around, you’re] throwing a party and you don’t know if people are going to show up. Here, we knew people were going to show up, and we just wanted to make sure everyone had a good time, and it was just going to be as fun or more fun than the last party.”
Stark greets his admirers waiting for him at the expo.
This location of the part of the expo is the Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts. 450 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles.
Amongst those he greets are Larry Ellison, the founder of software company Oracle.
Oracle have product pale net throughout the film, and was keen to let people know the association. They created this website and video.
Next is Stan Lee in his required cameo.
He’s dressed as Larry King, the television host.
Waiting for Stark and Hogan is a US Marshal, played by Kate Mara.
Stark and Hogan drive away in an Audi R8 Spyder.
An establishing shot of Washington DC. You can tell because it has the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument.
Inside however, it’s actually the Grand Hall of Pasadena Masonic Temple, 200 South Euclid Avenue, Pasadena.
In the hearing with Stark is Pepper Potts, played by Gwyneth Paltrow.
The second time around— the good thing about doing a film again is that you can refine things. You know you’re character better and you sort of know where they want to go more. And, it’s nice. Jon Favreau is very collaborative. We improvised almost all of our scenes, the actual dialogue. And he would say to me, ‘You know Pepper. You tell me, like, what’s right here, because you know Pepper.’
Senator Stern, played by the late Garry Shandling.
The hearing is being televised on C-Span, a real public broadcasting channel focussed on US political matters.
Also at the hearing is Justin Hammer, played by Sam Rockwell.
Hammer in the comics is also a rival and adversary for Iron Man. As head of Hammer Industries, he was a rich weapons manufacturer with no powers of his own, often working with Iron Man’s villains. All those characteristics remain intact, although he was British and a lot older in the comics.
He first appeared in Iron Man #120 (March 1979). He was created by Bob Layton, David Michelinie and John Romita, Jr.
Rockwell was actually in the running to play Iron Man back in 2008. He’s starred in acclaimed roles for films like Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind and Moon and much more. Rockwell told ComicBookMovie:
We sort of didn’t know where (Justin) was going and we discovered that as we shot the film, which is also kind of exciting. It also takes the pressure off you, because you’re like–you know, I got a speech a half-hour before we shot it. I got a speech at lunch time, so I had to learn that and figure that out and use little tricks, you know, but we got it. It’s on film, it’s on celluloid.
Inititally, the filmmakers were going to make the character older (like the comics), and approached Al Pacino about playing the role.
There was an extended version of Hammer’s speech.
More people turn up to the hearing. Now it’s James Rhodes, played by Don Cheadle.
Rhodes appeared in Iron Man (2008) played by Terrence Howard. For whatever reason (many documented), Howard did not return for the sequel, and was replaced by Cheadle.
Stark says he’d consider the role of Secretary of Defence. This is a role Stark would actually take in the comics.
Stark has an awesome double sided touch screen phone.
There was a deleted scene with Stark, Rhodes and Potts.
Vanko watches the hearing from Moscow.
Back to Stark’s home. It hasn’t moved from the first film – it’s on Point Dume of the Malibu coast, and a CGI creation.
Then in Stark’s workshop. A set.
We hear the computer JARVIS, voiced by Paul Bettany.
This is Bettany’s 2nd time voicing JARVIS. We last heard him in Iron Man (2008).
The music we hear is Should I Stay Or Should I Go by The Clash, from their album Combat Rock, released in 1982.
We get a glimpse of the Iron Man suits. The first three from the first film, and his current Mark 4.
It is odd that Mark 1 is here? Didn’t it get destroyed and found by the Ten Rings, then repurposed by the Iron Monger?
Stark watches himself on YouTube.
Stark checks his blood again. Toxicity is 24%.
Stark is dying. The Palladium is killing him.
There was a longer version of this scene that was deleted.
The red and blue Iron Man poster is a play on the famous poster of Barrack Obama with the word hope, designed by Shepard Fairey.
Tony swaps the poster for the Barnett Newman painting. Newman was an abstract American artists in the middle part of the 20th century. This painting is called Now II.
He makes Potts CEO of Stark Industries.
The music here is called Making Pepper CEO.
Potts also becomes CEO in the comics.
Back in Moscow, Vanko gets a package. According to Favreau, the person delivering the package is a member of the Ten Rings, the enemy terrorist group from Iron Man (2008).
It’s a fake passport, with the name Boris Turgenov.
In the comics, Turgenov is the name of the second Crimson Dynamo. He was actually defeated by the first one (named Anton Vanko….complicated I know).
He also has tickets to the Grand Prix in Monaco.
Back at Stark’s, he’s boxing with Hogan.
In the comics, Hogan was a former boxer.
The music we hear is The Magnificent Seven by The Clash. From their triple album Sandinista!, released in 1980.
What do you call that fighting style? Robert Downey Jr studied a form of martial arts called Wing Chun for this film, and uses it in many of his action roles ever since.
The notary is Natasha Romanoff, who is of course Black Widow. She is played by Scarlett Johansson.
Black Widow is one of the mainstays of the Avengers in the comics. She is a Russian spy who started as an Iron Man foe, she defected to be on the side of good.
She first appeared in Tales of Suspense #52 (April 1964), and was created by Don Heck, Stan Lee and Don Rico.
Johansson was hugely acclaimed for drama roles up to this point, including a breakout in Lost In Translation and the Woody Allen films Match Point and Vicky Cristina Barcelona. She would go from strength to strength, becoming the highest paid actress in the world in 2016. She told ComicBookMovie:
I loved working with Jon (Favreau). I loved working with Robert (Downey Jr.). And, so, you know, for me, as an actor, we kind of have a beginning, middle and end, and a one-and-a-half or two-hour segment or whatever, and we’re done with it. So, for me to be able to bring something like this back and kind of develop the character is exciting and something we don’t normally get to do as actors.
Emily Blunt was originally considered for the role.
Rushman is a surname that Black Widow has used in the comics as an alias.
There’s lots of Everlast logos, a big company for boxing goods.
And we’re off to Monaco, the glamorous small country on the Mediterranean. They are in the capital Monte Carlo.
It is the home of the Monaco Grand Prix, one of the most important events in the racing calendar, running since 1929.
The music here is called Monaco by The Declanator.
Stark arrives at Hotel de Paris, Place du Casino.
He arrives in a 2009 Rolls Royce Phantom.
Hogan is holding an interesting looking briefcase.
The hotel’s interior is a studio set.
There’s a photographer from ACM – the Automotive Club of Monaco. We will see Vanko in an ACM helmet later.
Stark is greeted by Elon Musk. The rich tech entrepreneur has companies like Tesla, PayPal and SpaceX all under his no doubt fancy belt. The filmmakers used him as inspiration for Stark.
Stark mentions the Merlin Engine, one of Musk’s inventions, the most powerful engine for its weight in the world.
Stark and Potts bump into Hammer and a familiar face – Christine Everhart, played by Leslie Bibb.
This is Bibb’s 2nd appearance in the MCU. We last saw her in Iron Man (2008).
Bibb and Sam Rockwell are a couple in real life, and had been for several years before this film.
Blood toxicity is now 53%.
Onto the streets of Monaco, Stark prepares to race. The production only shot plates in Monaco, with a section of the track created in back in Los Angeles, in the parking lot Downey Studios – 12214 Lakewood Boulevard, Downey.
A couple of racing driver names seem to be nods. Locke could be collector Chris Locke, who donated cars for this sequence. Chapman is likely Colin Chapman, a F1 Team Manager.
Stark goes for a drive. In a 1978 Wolf WR Ford Replica.
As Stark drives off, he passes a tent that reads Maximillian FAVREAU – obviously a nod to the director.
American racing driver Tanner Foust is driving the car.
Some of the wider shots were made by the production shooting empty track, and adding the cars later with CGI.
One of the other cars is sponsored by Roxxon Oil. Roxxon are a big evil corporation in the comics. A Roxxon building was seen in Iron Man (2008).
Vanko is in disguise.
The music here is Monaco Drive, leading into First Confrontation.
Vanko – we can call him Whiplash now – walks onto the track and unleashes his whips. He cuts through a car or two.
Hogan and Potts invade the track as Stark is attacked. Stark tries to fight him with his bare hands.
Hogan runs Whiplash over, but it doesn’t stop him. Hogan’s first meeting with Tony Stark was pulling him out of a racing car crash.
Two real Rolls Royces – combined value of close to half a million dollars – were destroyed in this scene. They were built for the film.
Stark asks to be given the ‘football’. This is the nickname of the suitcase that the President of the United States has, that holds the nuclear codes.
That briefcase turns out to be an Iron Man suit. Mark 5.
Stark has kept Iron Man suits that fitted in a suitcase in the comics. There’s also a very famous red and silver suit that Iron Man wore a lot in the 1980s. That was an awesome suit.
Whiplash‘s whips can deflect Iron Man‘s repulsors.
Iron Man defeats Whiplash and pulls out his arc reactor.
Stark visits Vanko in a Monaco prison. A set?
The music here is Jailhouse Talk.
Rourke spent time researching Russian prisoners and helped create the tattoo look that we can see here.
Senator Stern is on real news station msnbc.
Stark and Potts on the plane.
Vanko busts out.
The prison is Lincoln Heights Jail, 421 North Avenue 19, Lincoln Heights.
Where did they find such a good lookalike for Rourke? In their own stunt department. He’s Rourke’s stunt guy, Mark Kubr. He also worked on Iron Man (2008) and work on Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).
The music here is Ivan Escapes.
The lookalike is killed, as well as a guard.
He is taken to Justin Hammer. Hammer’s facility is SpaceX, located in Hawthorne, California. It is owned by Elon Musk who we saw earlier. Real SpaceX employees are in the background. 1 Rocket Rd, Hawthorne, California.
Hammer and Vanko strike a pact.
At Stark’s, Potts and Romanoff are on the phones.
Behind them is the statue L’Homme qui marche I, created by Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti.
Rhodes walks in as they watching news. One of the presenters is Christiane Amanpour for CNN.
Stark is sitting in his 1932 Ford Model B. It actually belongs to Jon Favreau.
Stark reviews newspaper clippings. All the papers are fakes except the Los Angeles Times.
Anton Vanko defected in 1963.
Rhodes begins to suspect something is wrong with Stark.
Then we’re back at Queens, New York, in an establishing shot. It’s the home of Hammer Industries.
The building exteriors and interiors are still SpaceX Hawthorne.
Vanko reviews Hammer’s creations.
We get a better look at Hammer’s assistant, Jack, played by Jack White. White is a food stylist and would work on Th0r (2011).
Stark at home. Toxicity is 89%.
Stark mentions the watch brand Jaeger-LeCoultre.
At the party, we hear California Love by 2Pac featuring Dr Dre, from his 1996 album All Eyes On Me.
The DJ is DJ AM, a hugely successful international DJ. Sadly, he had died in a drug overdose by the time this film was released. This film is dedicated to him.
Stark refers to Gallagher when shooting the watermelon. He is referring to the comedian who smashed watermelons as part of his act.
There was an alternate scene from the birthday that was deleted.
Rhodes arrives in Stark’s Mark 2 armour.
The music here is Rhodey Dons Suit.
In the comics, his War Machine armour is grey.
The inevitable fight between Iron Man and…War Machine Mark 1?
The music they fight to is Another One Bites The Dust by Queen, taken from their 1980 album The Game.
It goes into It Takes Two by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock, taken from the album It Takes Two, released in 1980.
Stark calls Rhodes a War Machine.
After a big explosion, Rhodes leaves.
Rhodes heads to Edwards Air Force base. This was also used in Iron Man (2008). It’s in Southern California.
We see Major Allen, played by Tim Guinee. It is his 2nd appearance in the MCU, we last saw him in Iron Man (2008).
Stark is having donuts. In the background we hear Groove Holmes by The Beastie Boys. It’s on their 1992 album Check Your Head.
He’s sitting on the massive donut above Randy’s Donuts, 805 W Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, California.
Asking him to exit the donut is Nick Fury, played by Samuel L Jackson.
This is Jackson’s 2nd appearance in the MCU. We last saw him in Iron Man.
Fury and Stark talk inside the real Randy’s Donuts.
Fury’s problem in the South West is likely a reference to New Mexico, as we will see later.
Also on the scene is Romanoff. Now dressed as Black Widow.
Back with Hammer Industries, Vanko gets a bird. Just not his bird.
Vanko has created drones, not suits.
Rhodes presents the suit to General Meade, played by Eric L Haney. Haney is a real combat vet, and has very few acting roles.
Fury tells Stark more about his father and Anton Vanko, in the remains of Stark’s house.
Stark was also a founder of SHIELD in the comics (sort of – a bit more complicated in the comics).
Fury leaves Stark a package, and Agent Phil Coulson, played by Clark Gregg.
This is Gregg’s 2nd appearance in the MCU. He previously appeared in Iron Man (2008).
Stark mentions a couple of American coffee chains – The Coffee Bean, Starbucks.
Gregg mentions Supernanny, a British reality TV show that was a huge hit at the time.
Back at Edward’s. Rhodes removes the arc reactor from the Iron Man Mark 2.
Hammer arrives and shows off some guns to Rhodes and Allen. The music here is called Gun Show.
A set-up scene with Rhodes was deleted.
Hammer’s final gun is called the Uncle Gazpacho. Gazpacho is a soup, possibly what it turns its victims into.
Puff The Magic Dragon is a children’s song and film, but also already the name of a type of minigun.
Hammer shows them the bullet and mentions Ulysses, the epic 1922 novel by James Joyce.
Hammer makes more references. The Eiffel Tower, famous landmark in Paris.
Piano Concerto No.3 by Sergei Rachmaninoff. The 1909 work by Russian composer is considered one of the most challenging in the standard classical repertoire.
Pieta is a statue by Michelangelo that graces St Peter’s Basillica in Vatican City.
Hammer calls Rhodes a Sphinx. In mythology, the Sphinx would only move for those who could answer its riddle.
Stark goes through his father’s trunk. Under the Dallas Record is a copy of Captain America #1, first published in March 1941.
In there is some Kodak tapes.
There’s also a map of Antarctica – could be a reference to something?
He watches the footage of Howard Stark. And a young Tony Stark, played by David Ransom in his most significant role.
He also goes through his father’s notes. The cube within a cube drawing is the Tesseract.
Then Howard addresses Tony from the film.
Stark drives down the Pacific Coast Highway, near Point Mugu State Park.
He buys strawberries from a vendor played by Alejandro Patiño.
In Pott’s office. This is likely a set, it looks different from the first film.
Tony is shown in by a secretary. He later remarks that her name is Bambi. She is Bambi Arbogast, played by Margy Moore.
Arbogast was Stark’s secretary in the comics as well, and minor supporting character for decades. Here she is just passing cameo (and a passing comment in Iron Man 3, 2013)
She first appeared in Iron Man #118 (January 1979), the same issue that introduced James Rhodes. She was created by John Byrne and David Michelinie.
This is Moore’s most significant screen role.
Potts is watching TV presenter Bill O’Reilly and his show, The O’Reilly Factor.
Virginia is also Pott’s real first name in the comics.
Romanoff’s latin response to Stark is ‘Fallaces sunt rerum species’ or appearances can be deceiving.
Stark takes a second look at the futuristic city his father wanted to build.
Looking at the city, Stark (re)discovers a new element.
The element is never named in the film, but the novelisation calls it Vibranium, an important element in Marvel comics and soon in the MCU.
The music here is New Element / Particle Accelerator.
There’s an extended version of this scene.
The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers were characters from an underground comic in the 70s and 80s.
Coulson finds a prototype Captain America shield.
Coulson is off to New Mexico. Land of enchantment is the state’s nickname, but it’s a nice play on the mystical elements Coulson will find there.
And Stark builds a particle accelerator – and a new element.
The music here is New Element / Particle Accelerator.
Vanko is at work, and gets a call from Hammer, with Stern. They are playing golf, location unknown.
Hammer isn’t happy, and puts Vanko under watch.
Vanko mutters something in Russian. He says “you talk too much”.
Stark gets a call – from Vanko.
He’s killed his guards, they are hanging from the ceiling.
JARVIS accesses the Oracle grid. Another plug for Oracle.
Stark uses the new reactor.
Back at Stark Expo.
Hogan drives Potts and Romanoff in an Audi A8 L D3.
Hammer does a dance whilst going on stage. Rockwell loves dancing, it’s one of his signature moves.
He is dancing to Pick Up The Pieces, by Average White Band, from their album 1974 AWB.
That song is used prominently in Swingers, Jon Favreau‘s first film as writer and star.
Hammer introduces the Hammer Drones.
The music playing as each set of drones is revealed corresponds with that military branch. The U.S. Army’s “The Army Goes Rolling Along (The Caisson Song),” the U.S. Navy’s “Anchors Aweigh,” the U.S. Air Force’s “The U.S. Air Force (Into the Wild Blue Yonder),” and the U.S. Marine Corps’s “Marines’ Hymn.”
Hammer unveils War Machine, Mark 1.
The look is fairly faithful to the comics, including the signature shoulder gun. In the comics, it is also a Variable Threat Response Battle Suit.
They are interrupted by Iron Man, Mark 6.
Very quickly, the drones and a compromised War Machine attack.
The music here is Iron Man Battles the Drones.
Romanoff gets information from Hammer, and goes after Vanko.
The Drones fire missiles into the crowd. In that scene, an Oracle building can be seen.
The exterior is actually Nokia Theatre LA Live, 777 Chick Hearn Court, Los Angeles.
The Drones attack the crowd. One hones in on a child with an Iron Man mask.
Iron Man leads the fight away from the expo. He passes a row of banners, all sponsors of the expo and the film – LG, Dr Pepper, Kodak, Oracle and Audi.
One other banner reads Circuits Maximus, a company once owned by Stark in the comics.
More exterior shots of LA, including a long sequence under a highway.
Hogan and Black Widow enter Hammer Industries and fight the guards. Odd Hammer hasn’t called his own security to apprehend Vanko.
Back at the expo, Iron Man flies past an Audi sign. They’ve supplied a lot of cars to this film. Later, another Kodak.
Iron Man mentions Crocs. They are a brand of waterproof sandal.
He then uses the Unisphere to take out a number of drones.
And then War Machine tackles Iron Man into a domed Japanese Garden, with an Oracle logo. It is a nod to Oracle head Larry Ellison (who we saw earlier) who has a fondness for Japanese culture.
The garden is CGI and studio sets, but it was based on the Huntington Library and Gardens, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, California.
Black Widow manages to reboot War Machine. The two team up.
Iron Man and War Machine then face a fleet of drones together. And take them out.
Hammer is arrested.
A newly armoured Whiplash arrives. Although it is worth noting that no one actually calls him Whiplash at any time in this film.
Iron Man and War Machine manage to take him down.
Whiplash has rigged the drones and his suit to blow. He dies.
Usually, if we don’t see the body, there’s always the chance of a return. However, it seems unlikely as Rourke himself was so unhappy with the film. He told Screenrant:
I explained to Justin Theroux, to the writer, and to [Jon] Favreau, that I wanted to bring some other layers and colors [to the charater], not just make this Russian a complete murderous revenging bad guy. And they allowed me to do that. Unfortunately, the [people] at Marvel just wanted a one-dimensional bad guy, so most of the performance ended up the floor.
Pepper (once again) has not really moved whilst a big superhero fight goes on, but Iron Man saves her.
There was to be one final face-off between Iron Man and Whiplash involving Potts that was deleted.
Kodak logo in the skyline after Stark and Potts kiss.
Suddenly we are at a warehouse by an overpass. It’s a SHIELD facility. Location unknown.
One one of the holographic screens is the exact same news report from the end of The Incredible Hulk (2008).
Another is a map showing superhero activity. There is activity in the fictional African country of Wakanda, home of the Black Panther.
Other locations relate to Captain America, according to Favreau.
Stark looks over a document called Avengers Initiative.
Stark has not been recommended for this initiative. But he will consult.
Music starts – it’s AC/DC again with Highway To Hell. From their 1979 album Highway To Hell.
Stern is presenting medals to Stark and Rhodey.
The location is the Munger Research Center, in the Huntington Library and Gardens, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino.
The medals are real, or at least real looking replicas. Rhodes is awarded a Meritorious Service Medal, and Stark is awarded the Army’s Distinguished Service Medal.
And we’re in credits.
Post Credits Scene
Coulson arrives in New Mexico. We see an establishing shot.
This scene was filmed by Kenneth Branagh, who would direct Thor (2011).
The music here is called Thor.
There people looking into a crater. He makes a call.
And we get a glimpse of Mjolnir – the hammer of the mighty Thor.
We fade to black, as we hear a crack of thunder.
What did we think?
There are a couple of accepted duds in the Marvel Studios slate, and this is one of them. Rewatching it, it is pretty clear seeing the problems, although there are plenty of wonderful moments.
The biggest problem is just the scale. It’s overblown, overlong, over complicated and yet there are huge sections where it drags. Having had such a big hit with Iron Man (2008), the filmmakers take it slightly for granted that we wanted to spend as much time as possible with these characters. There are long stretches in the middle where Tony gets boring. In particular his birthday party, and his arrogance. That opening sequence which used to seem fun, seems not so fun anymore.
Then there’s the world building. Coulson appears, and a few minutes later he’s gone, just to set up Thor (2011). There’s a lot of SHIELD, and a lot of politics. some of it would have been fine, but this is a long film. And it’s not like Coulson, or Romanoff, are much more than unsmiling, deliberately one dimensional archetypes for the moment.
And there’s a lot of plot holes. Why does Vanko like whips? Stark just creates elements in a day? This definitely falls into the category of film that if you think about it too muhc (like we have) it will drive you a little nuts. There was, as many have reported, a lot of studio interference. It does make more sense than other studio destroyed disasters like Spider-Man 3 or the Fantastic Four reboot.
There’s lots of good stuff here. The performances – Sam Rockwell and Don Cheadle in particular – light up the screen, and bring different elements to the party. Robert Downey Jr is still born for this role, with Favreau and Paltrow doing solid work. The main three make a great team, and if Avengers didn’t exist, those three could have carried off several sequels on their own.
It’s a lot of fun. All the different armours, all the gadgets. Two Whiplash suits, three Iron Man suits and two War Machines. Sometimes this felt like an action figure play set in the best way. And Black Widow kicked major ass.
By luck, Marvel pulled off Iron Man (2008), and yes, at the end of the day, they just about do it here too. But they will soon overcome a lot of the bloated-ness and the cliché on show here.
- Everyone looked like they were having fun and happy to be there, and gave it their best. Maybe not Mickey Rourke. But Rockwell, Cheadle, Downey and Favreau in particular.
- It’s a lot of fun. I want all the action figures. And that briefcase.
- The international adventure. Well, they go to Monaco at least.
- Hammer and Whiplash was a good way of doing two villians.
- Black Widow when she finally gets to kick some ass, and Happy Hogan is pretty great there too.
Not Best Bits
- Doesn’t seem like creating a new element, that is also a miracle cure, was any problem. Even after JARVIS said it was impossible.
- We spend a lot of time world building rather than spending time with characters we like.
- There’s a lot of product placement.
- Still a few bits that look like CGI fighting CGI on CGI.
- Still some terrible jokes. Stan Lee as Larry King?