Iron Man (2008) – Complete Annotations

Release date (US): 2nd May 2008

Director: Jon Favreau
Screenwriters: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway


Studio logos. Paramount were the distributor. Marvel would not be bought out by Disney until 2010.

Then the Marvel logos.

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 8.12.40 PM
Iron Man (2008) opening shot

Then we open Afghanistan. It’s actually the Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, California. [link]

The armoured vehicles are Humvees. In particular, AM General HMMWV M1025.

As the Humvees arrive, we hear Back In Black by AC/DC. Taken from their 1980 album Back In Black, this would lead to a much closer collaboration with AC/DC in Iron Man 2 (2010).

At the time, the US was waging war in Afghanistan.

Subtitles tells us it’s the Kunar province in Afghanistan. It’s one of 34 provinces that make up Afghanistan. There was some suspicion that Osama Bin Laden was hiding in this province (he wasn’t, he was found elsewhere in 2011). [link]

In the comics, Iron Man‘s origin was involved in wars. In his first story in 1963, it was Vietnam. His origin has been updated to the Gulf War, and now Afghanistan.

Here he is, holding a whiskey, Tony Stark. Played by Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark/Iron Man

portrait_incredible Tony Stark is, of course, Iron Man. Or he will become Iron Man in just a bit. He was created by Don Heck, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Larry Lieber. He first appeared in Tales Of Suspense #39, published in March 1963.

robertdowneyjr_cahalloffameinducteeDowney was not necessarily an easy casting choice. He was coming off a period of very public drug abuse (he was hired to star in Woody Allen‘s 2004 film Melinda And Melinda, but he was too much of a risk and unable to secure the insurance). But Downey really wanted to play the role, and was even willing to screen test for it. Downey told The New York Times:

The people who made this movie said they were going to screen-test some people, and I thought: ‘Well, that’s how I got “Chaplin.” Maybe this will work again. If you’re going to spend a hundred million bucks on a movie, why not see who works?

Kevin Feige told NY Times:

That an actor of his caliber and talent was willing to submit to a screen test spoke volumes about his enthusiasm, and his past was not a huge issue. The fact that Disney had already cast him in ‘The Shaggy Dog’ suggested that he was more than ready to do another family-oriented film.”

Jon Favreau told cinemablend:

Everybody knew he was talented… Certainly by studying the Iron Man role and developing that script I realized that the character seemed to line-up with Robert in all the good and bad ways. And the story of Iron Man was really the story of Robert’s career.

Others considered for the role include Hugh Jackman, Timothy OlyphantClive Owen and Sam Rockwell (who would appear in Iron Man 2).

The soldiers in the Humvee are:

The young one to Stark’s left is Jimmy. He is played by Kevin Foster. Foster is better known as a stuntman, in films such as X-Men: First Class.

In front of Stark is Pratt. He is played by Garret Noël.

Finally Ramirez, driving. She is played by Eileen Weisinger. She is also better known for her stunt work, and would return in that capacity for Iron Man 2.

Stark calls one of the soldiers ‘Forrest’, in reference to the title character in Forrest Gump, who was a soldier for a lot of the film/book.

Maxim is an international men’s magazine, originating in the UK and founded in 1995.

Stark says he missed out on the cover girl for March. Assuming it’s 2007, that would have been singer Christina Aguilera.

MySpace – the world’s most popular social network, in 2007. In 2008, Facebook overtook it traffic wise, and it has never recovered.

Then the convoy is attacked. The three soldiers in car with Stark are killed.

The rest of the convoy, we assume, are also killed, although we don’t see it.

 Stark finds cover, and pulls out his phone. It’s an LG VX9400. It had that flip screen.

Then the bomb. It has Stark Industries on the side of it. Hoist by one’s own petard.

There was an extended version of this ambush scene that was deleted.

Stark is captured. He’s been taken to a cave. It’s a 150-200 yard set, that was specially air-conditioned to match how cold it would be in a real cave.

The cave set was built at the Playa Vista Stages, the principal soundstages used for the production, and where the production office was kept. It’s located at 5865 Campus Center Dr, Los Angeles.

The soundstages have a rich history, and was the place Howard Hughes made some of his planes, including the legendary Spruce Goose. Hughes was an inspiration for Tony Stark.

We see some of the enemy soldiers, who we will meet later.

Although it seems like they are making some sort of terrorist demands in their native language (Urdu), they are in fact talking to Obadiah Stane. Urdu speakers would have had the film spoiled to them before they even see…


Iron Man (2008) titles.
Iron Man (2008) titles.

We move to Las Vegas, 36 hours earlier. It’s Caesar’s Palace, 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada. One of the more famous and glamorous hotels and casinos on that fabled strip. [link]

The Apogee Awards are real.

We go through Stark’s life through a presentation.

The music of the presentation is Damn Kid, by DJ Boborobo.

The presentation’s narrator is Will Lyman.

He’s on the cover of WIRED magazine (Jan 2008 apparently).

And then a real photo of a young Downey.

Then a photo of the first Howard Stark, Tony Stark’s father. he’s played by Gerard Sanders in his most significant role. He is the first of three actors to portray Howard Stark.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 3.18.09 PM
Gerard Sanders as Howard Stark.

 In the ballroom, watching the presentation, Obadiah Stane for the first time. He is played by Jeff Bridges.

Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane.
Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane.

Iron_Man_Vol_1_163 Obadiah Stane, who will become the Iron Monger, first appeared in the comic Iron Man #163 (October 1982). Here, he is an employee of Stark Industries, but in the comics he’s the head of his own company – Stane International. He was created by Dennis O’Neil and Luke McDonnell. The Iron Monger suit would debut years later in Iron Man #200 (November 1985).

jeff-bridgesBridges has made a career of keeping audiences guessing, one that has stretched over half a century. He’s starred in sci-fi films such as Tron (1982) and Starman (1984), to acclaimed performances for The Coen Brothers such as The Big Lebowski (1998) and True Grit (2010), and low budget dramas such as Crazy Heart (2009).

Bridges told Oregon Live:

The fact that Robert and Jon (director Jon Favreau) were involved is kinda what made me turn the corner on this type of film. Because I knew that it would be fun creatively, and I knew that their take would not be typical, and that made it seem like something I’d want to get involved with. I thought if they could bring their sensibilities to this kind of film, you were gonna get something that would be really good and really different. And also the fact that it was a big kind of blockbuster thing — I don’t do those often. So it fits that scenario I have of mixing it up.

Then a photoshopped old image of young Stark with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, surrounded by computers.

The cover of Popular Mechanics. Stark is 6, so assuming Iron Man and Downey are the same age, this issue is from 1971 or so.

The cover of MIT Technology Review. It is published by MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Stark went to university there, and graduated at 17, placing this issue at 1982 or so. Throughout the film, he wears an MIT ring.

Then the front page of The Washington Times.

It’s the 17th December 1991 issue. We also learn his wife is named Maria and they both died in a car accident. We will see that incident in Captain America: Civil War (2016).

Young Howard Stark and young Obadiah Stane.

There is sign behind them that suggests they were working on some sort of supersonic flight program. Yet, the sign also mentions 1997.

Then Stane is on the cover of Newsweek.

Then Stane and Stark together is on the cover of Forbes. 21 years old would make this 1986 if Iron Man and the same age as Downey. So the date logic falls apart here.

[redditor Bethorz points put the birthdate of MCU Tony Stark is 29th May 1970, which seems to have originated from SHIELD files on the Avengers DVD. Which makes Stark 21 when his father dies, but also 21 when he takes over Stark Industries. We’ll keep pulling on this thread as we make our way through the films]


One more magazine – Rolling Stone.

Here’s James Rhodes. Played by Terrence Howard.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 6.26.10 AM
Terrence Howard as James Rhodes

Iron_Man_Vol_1_118 Rhodes will become the hero known as War Machine, and will play a big part in the Avengers, in both the comics and the films. He first appeared Iron Man #118 (January 1979) by David Michelinie, John Byrne, and Bob Layton.

Terrence-Howard-hottest-actors-9915503-484-600Howard was a pretty big star when he appeared in this film, coming off acclaimed performances in Crash (2004) and Hustle & Flow (2005).

Howard the Independent:

I did that movie for one reason. So that I could watch and study Robert Downey Jr, who I think is the most gifted living actor next to Sean Penn on this planet. I learnt so much about just remaining true to the truth.

He says he is the military liaison to Stark Industries. This is different from the comics, where Stark and Howard met on a mission. But at least the film version he was still in the military and gifted pilot.

Stane accepts the award on Stark’s behalf. He calls Rhodes by his rank, showing us that he’s a colonel.

Then we are at the craps table of Caesar’s Palace.

Behind Stark is Happy Hogan, Stark’s chauffeur and personal assistant. He’s played by Jon Favreau, who is also the film’s director.

Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan (with Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark)
Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan (with Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark)

Tales_of_Suspense_Vol_1_45 Hogan was created by Don Heck and Stan Lee. He first appeared in Tales of Suspense #45 (September 1963). In the comics he was a former boxer.

jon_aFavreau had met the Marvel team, and producer Avi Arad, on the set of Daredevil (2003), where he played Foggy Nelson. There had been discussions about directing a Marvel film, including Captain America. In the end, Favreau opted for Iron Man, and helped set the tone for the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. On the approach to the film side, Favreau told Time Out London:

Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins” set the bar very high for the superhero movie, as it showed that you could get a great cast for these movies and take a real filmmaker’s perspective. There were some other superhero movies, the titles of which I don’t want to mention, that were making a lot of money and which I thought were trash. I didn’t want to end up making one of those types of movies, I wanted to make a movie like Christopher’s.’

On his appearance as Hogan, he told Superherohype:

As an actor, I’m in there because it’s probably me being selfish and wanting to be an actor in it, and know that Happy Hogan has more to do later (laughter) and I get to have a few scenes with Gwyneth later, but she doesn’t know that.

Favreau will go onto to play a significant role in the MCU, appearing in several more films, directing Iron Man 2, and as a producer in all the Avengers films.

Before Favreau, Len Wiseman was in the running as director.

The music playing is a big band version of the Iron Man cartoon theme, composed by the film’s composer Ramin Djawadi. This was Djawdi’s only score for Marvel, and he would go on to score huge blockbusters such Pacific Rim and the Game Of Thrones TV series.

The Iron Man cartoon was part of The Marvel Super Heroes, broadcast in 1966.

Amongst the crowd at the crap’s table is Laura Scyphers, who was Miss Nevada at the time, and actress Stacy Stas.

There was an extended version of the casino scene, including Stark losing $3 million.

Outside Caesar’s, Stark (and crew) and confronted by Christine Everhart, played by Leslie Bibb.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 8.03.40 AM
Leslie Bibb as Christine Everhart

Iron_Man_Vol_3_75 In the comics, Everhart is a reporter for the Daily Bugle, but here she works for Vanity Fair. She first appeared in Iron Man vol. 3 #75, in 2004.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 3.48.59 PMBibb previously appeared in films such as Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby (2006). She would return for Iron Man 2.

In case you missed it, Hogan whispers to Stark that Everhart is cute before he turns to talk to her.

Everhart mentions Leonardo Da Vinci. He was a renaissance-era Italian painter, but he was also an inventor.

They discuss two particularly liberal universities – Berkeley in California and Brown in Rhode Island.

Stark mentions his father was part of The Manhattan Project. This was the secret project that led to the development of the first nuclear weapons during World War II.

Stark and Everhart go to bed. We hear more of that Iron Man cartoon theme.

Everhart is later woken by a voice. It’s Stark’s computer JARVIS, voiced by Paul Bettany.

The computer JARVIS was invented for the film – and it stands for Just A Rather Very Intelligent System. In the comics, the Avenger’s butler is Edwin Jarvis, and a key character in the Avenger’s history. This computer version of JARVIS will play a big role in the films to come.

786full-paul-bettanyBettany accepted the role as a favour, having worked with Favreau on Wimbledon. He told SuperheroHype:

I really didn’t know what I was going in for because it was two hours in a recording booth. I went in and recorded with Jon Favreau, doing all the lines, recording them and went home and now I’m a fucking hero to my children.

JARVIS tells us the house is in Malibu. It’s actually called The Razor House, located in La Jolla, California. [link]

We zoom out and we are in Malibu, with Stark’s mansion a CGI placed on Point Dume, looking over Malibu beach. [link]

It was Favreau’s decision to move Iron Man, traditionally a New York superhero, to the West Coast. According to Favreau in the production notes:

I wanted a different look, so instead of having Iron Man flying between New York City buildings, we have the ocean and mountains of the West Coast in the film. I also felt shooting in Los Angeles tied in with the roots of the whole Howard Hughes influence and the history-of-flight aspect.

Everhart walks around the house. We can’t pick the painting, but the guitars are a Fender Telecaster and a Gibson 335.

Next to the guitars is an Eames Lounge Chair. A classic.


Everhart is surprised by Pepper Potts. She is played by Gwyneth Paltrow.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 2.14.41 PM
Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts

Tales_of_Suspense_Vol_1_45 Pepper Potts was created by Don Heck and Stan Lee. She first appeared in Tales of Suspense #45 (September 1963) – the same issue that introduced Happy Hogan. She has been a major part of the Iron Man comics ever since.

gwynethPaltrow was also a huge star before she even signed on for this film, although she was better known for romantic comedies such as Shakespeare In Love (1998) and Sliding Doors (1998). She would appear in all the Iron Man films and The Avengers. Paltrow told

I asked Marvel to send me the Iron Man comics that they thought would best help me familiarise myself with Iron Man, Tony Stark and my character, Pepper Potts. Marvel sent me a couple of binders of photo-copied comics. Some were really old, but they were incredibly helpful to me. They showed how Pepper had changed over the years. Different hairstyles and clothes, but also the way she dealt with Tony.

Rachel McAdams was considered for the role. She would finally join the MCU with Doctor Strange (2016).

We see Tony at work on an engine in his workshop. The set along with the later garage, were created at Playa Vista.

In the background we hear Institutionalized by American thrash band Suicidal Tendencies. It’s taken from their debut self titled album released in 1983.

The car Stark is working on is a 1932 Ford Model B, which has been restored with much love. The car actually belongs to Jon Favreau.

Potts and Stark talk about a Jackson Pollock painting. The American painter had a distinctive, kinetic, dripped style. And Potts is right about Springs, the town in East Hampton where Pollock lived.

MIT is mentioned again, and it’s Potts’ birthday.

Then we’re off driving. The music we hear is part of the score called Merchant of Death.

Stark is driving a silver 2007 Audi R8. Number plate is STARK4.

Following him is a 2004 Rolls Royce Phantom.

They are racing down Pacific Coast Highway at Point Mugu. [link]

They arrive at a Stark Industries air field. It’s actually Edwards Air Force Base, an active US air base. [link]

The flight attendants are Sarah Cahill (a former Miss Minnesota), Jeannine Kaspar and Ricki Noel Landers (who would have a small role in Ant-Man).

The song from the plane is called Slept On Tony With Dirt, written and performed by Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan, for this film. The track has yet to see a commercial release. He seems to be on the big screen on the plane as well.

Ghostface Killah has used the alias Tony Stark and Iron Man in real life. He even named his 1996 album Ironman. He actually filmed a scene for the film, but it was cut.

Stark arrives at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan – a real place in name, but is also Edwards Air Base.

There was an extended version this scene, stretching from the plane to their arrival at Bagram, was deleted.

He is greeted by General Gabriel. He is played by Bill Smitrovich, who had roles in films such as Independence Day (1996) and Ted (2012).

Stark mentions his missiles have Repulsor technology. In the comics, it is this technology that powers the beams that Iron Man shoots from his hands.


The missiles are named Jericho. There’s already a missile with that name, named after the city.

We see the opening scene play out again, and Stark is kidnapped.

Back in the cave. Stark discovers the thing in his chest.

With Stark in the cave is Ho Yinsen. He is played by Shaun Toub.

Shaun Toub as Ho Yinsen
Shaun Toub as Ho Yinsen

portrait_incredible Ho Yinsen was a part of Iron Man’s origin in the comics, appearing with Iron Man in his first comic, Tales Of Suspense #39 (March 1963). He was created by Don Heck, Stan Lee and Larry Lieber. In the comics, he was of Asian descent, keeping with his Vietnamese origins. His race has changed as Iron Man’s origin is updated.

He’s actually only known as Yinsen in this film. We will learn the rest of his name when he Toub reprises the role in Iron Man Three (2013).

SToubToub appeared in films such as Crash (2004) and The Kite Runner (2007).

Yinsen mentions that he met Stark at a conference in Bern, Switzerland. We will see this meeting in Iron Man 3.

The terrorists arrive. The leader of the group, the main speaker is Abu BakarHe is played by Sayed Badreya.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 5.18.39 PM
Sayed Badreya as Abu Bakar in Iron Man (2008)

Badreya is an Egyptian actor who appeared in films such as Three Kings (1999) and The Dictator (2012).


Stark starts building.

Yinsen tells Stark that the terrorist group is the Ten Rings.

The name is an allusion to Iron Man’s arch-nemesis in the comics, The Mandarin, whose power came from ten alien rings. The Mandarin was the villain in early drafts of the film, and this was a leftover of his influence in the film. The Mandarin would appear in Iron Man 3, in a version vastly different from the comics.

Stark extracts the palladium from his weapons. It is a real element.

The music we hear as they build what will be the first arc reactor is from the score, called Trinkets To Kill A Prince, composed by Ramin Djawadi.


Stark and Yinsen play Backgammon.

Yinsen tells Stark he’s from Gulmira, a fictional town we will see more of.

There was more of Yinsen and Backgammon that was deleted.

We’ve seen glimpses of him earlier, but we get a much better look at Raza, another member of the terrorist group. He is played by Faran Tahir.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 8.31.58 PM
Faran Tahir as Raza in Iron Man (2008)

Faran-TahirTahir has appeared in films such as Star Trek (2009) and Elysium (2013).

Turns out Raza is the real leader and speaks English.

Raza is right that the bow and arrow played a major part in Genghis Khan‘s time. Khan was the ruler of the Mongolian Empire, the biggest empire the world has ever known, during the early 13th century.

It’s worth noting that The Mandarin in the comics claimed to be a descendant of Genghis Khan. It’s another Easter Egg for eagle eyed fans.

Alexander The Great. From 336 BC, he ruled Macedonia, Persia, Egypt and lots, lots more.

The Roman Empire. From 27 BC, it would cover most of Europe.


Raza threatens Yinsen in Urdu. We couldn’t find a translation.

The music we hear as Stark is banging is called Mark I, composed by Ramin Djawadi.

Stark in the first Iron Man armour, Mark I.
Stark in the first Iron Man armour, Mark I.

The pair put together the first Iron Man armour. It will also be known as Mark I.

The all grey metal design matches with Iron Man’s first design in the comics.


The lights go out, as three terrorists run into Stark’s work area. The terrorist to our very right is played by Tom Morello. He is better known as the guitarist in Rage Against The Machine. He played some guitar on this film’s soundtrack, and would also contribute to Iron Man 2. He’s the first person to fight a MCU superhero.

Tom Morello (right) in Iron Man
Tom Morello (right) in Iron Man

And then Iron Man. Mark 1 comes to life.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 9.28.15 PM
Iron Man Mark 1

As Iron Man fights, we hear Fireman, composed by Ramin Djawadi.

Other guards in this scene are played by Daston Kalili, Marco Khan and Ido Mor.

Most of Raza‘s men are presumably killed by Iron Man.

Yinsen dies from his injuries. This mirrors his fate in the comics as well.


Then for the first time, Iron Man takes flight.

Mark 1 is destroyed in the landing.

Stark has landed in the desert. The location is the Olancha Sand Dunes, California. [link]

Helicopters find Stark, we hear Vacation’s Over, composed by Ramin Djawadi.

A deleted scene had Rhodes going over to Afghanistan to look for Stark.

And we’re back at Edwards Air Base.

Then Stark Industries. In real life, it’s the corporate offices for Masimo, a medical technology company. It’s located on 52 Discovery Drive, Irvine, California.

Stark reaches for some Burger King.

Potts is approached by Agent Phil Coulson, played by Clark Gregg.

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 7.19.41 AM
Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson

He was invented for the film, but his popularity led to him appearing in the comics, and eventually his own series Agents Of SHIELD. He was originally just known as ‘Agent’, but after seeing Coulson’s performance, the role was fleshed out.

dd2740362731b55be5b98e6c25553b4dBefore his role in Marvel, Gregg was probably best known for his TV credits, including The New Adventures Of Old Christine.

Strange_Tales_Vol_1_135 Coulson mentions he works for the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. SHIELD, of course, the fictional, fairly vaguely defined government agency. SHIELD first appeared in Strange Tales #135 (August 1965), and were created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. They will play a crucial role in the MCU, and get their own series.

It was apparently Downey’s idea that the journalists sit down.

Stark says he never got to say goodbye to his father. We will see more of this in Captain America: Civil War.


Bald, cigar chomping Jeff Bridges in a segway. Brilliant.

He then discusses the future of the company with Stark whilst looking at a large arc reactor. Not sure of this location.

Stane tells Stark that they’re Iron Mongers. That’s Stane’s super villain name in the comics – The Iron Monger. It is not used again in the film.

Stark shows Stane his chest arc reactor.

A deleted scene here has Stark being alone at home, after his abduction.

Cut to Mad Money, hosted by Jim Cramer, broadcast on CNBC.

Stark Industries’ ticker symbol is SIA.

Cramer mentions the Hindenburg, the name of an airship that disastrously crashed in New Jersey in 1937.


Stark needs Pepper to change the reactor in his chest. The chest is a prosthetic.

Pepper Potts and Tony Stark
Pepper Potts and Tony Stark

And then he visits Rhodes at the air force base. Likely Edward’s yet again.


Back at the desert. Still the Olancha Sand Dunes.

A terrorist finds the first Iron Man mask. And Raza is revealed to be alive.

Stark begins designing Iron Man armour Mark II. The music we hear in the background is Mark II, composed by Ramin Djawadi.

A deleted scene has Tony actually watching parts being created for his new armour.

Stane visit, and plays the piano. It’s a Blüthner, one of the more famous and prestigious piano makers on the planet.

He plays Concerto In Do Maggiore Per Pianoforte Ed Orchestra: Larghetto, composed by Antonio Salieri. And it’s really performed by Ramin Djawadi.

Salieri was the professional rival to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and is said to have been involved in Mozart’s murder. Fitting, then, that Stane is a fan.

Stane brings back pizza from New York – the box says Ray’s. There are several Ray’s Pizzas in New York, not necessarily related.

Stark runs a test in his garage, far too close to some very expensive cars. They include:

The orange car is a 2005 Saleen S7.

The blue car is a Shelby Cobra 427. It’s just a replica.

And a grey 2008 Tesla Roadster.

The motorcycles are apparently custom made for the film.


We get our first shot of Stark, in the suit, talking to JARVIS and using the HUD (Head-Up Display). It is a very inventive idea, one that has been used by many directors since.

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 9.32.19 AM
Tony Stark and JARVIS

Then we see Iron Man armour Mark II.

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 9.34.19 AM
Iron Man armour Mark II

And he’s off!

As Stark flies in his new suit we hear Driving With The Top Down, composed by Ramin Djawadi. It is the first track on the Iron Man Original Soundtrack.

And yes, he’s definitely flying over Malibu.

He then flies east, towards Malibu, and we see the ferris wheel and rollercoaster on Santa Monica pier (and is described as that in the HUD). [link]

The HUD displays a Lockheed SR-17 Blackbird, the world’s fastest plane. That 85,000 feet record is true for sustained flight – some planes have passed it in climbs. So Stark is cheating.

He survives the freezing and returns home, breaking his piano and the Shelby Cobra.

There is one shot, after he almost crashes, that he flies low near a busy street. One of the billboards there features what looks like a big golden dragon, and considered to be an easter egg for Fin Fang Foom, a massive dragon and an Iron Man foe from the comics.


Back in Afghanistan, the Ten Rings try to rebuild Mark 1.

Stark watches a broadcast from the fictional 10 News.

The reporter is Zorianna Kit, a real life entertainment reporter playing herself.

Stark then reviews designs for Mark III.

 He then looks at his Bvlgari watch.

Stark arrives at the Disney Concert Hall. 111 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, California. [link]

It might seem like a nice bit of corporate synergy in retrospect, but Disney had not bought Marvel at this point.

That’s Stan Lee that stark calls Hugh Hefner. Not sure if he’s supposed to be Hefner…

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 7.24.12 PM
Stan Lee in Iron Man (2008)

By this time, Lee had already cameo-ed in several other superhero films.

Stark meets Agent Coulson. Apparently he’s never heard of SHIELD.

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 7.29.59 PM
Tony Stark meets Phil Coulson

Stark and Potts dance. The band music in the background is not identified.


They then head out onto the balcony, and the pair almost kiss. The music that swells we hear is Extra Dry, Extra Olives, composed by Ramin Djawadi.

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 7.51.48 PM
Tony Stark and Pepper Potts kiss…almost

Everhart returns, and gives Stark some photos of Stark weapons in Gulmira, the fictional town where Yinsen lived.

The TV reporter in Gulmira refers to the trek as a modern day Heart Of Darkness. She is referring to the 1899 book by Joseph Conrad. For film fans, it was the source material for Apocalypse Now (1979).

The TV reporter is from another fictional station – FBX.

As Stark gets angrier at what he sees on TV – including one of his Jericho missiles. He shoots up his workshop in anger.


Stark puts on the Mark III armour for the first time. In the background we hear the track Iron Man, composed by Ramin Djawadi.

Iron Man armour Mark III
Iron Man armour Mark III

Iron Man arrives and Gulmira. The place is a set, created at Blue Cloud Movie Ranch. It’s located on 20000 Blue Cloud Rd, Santa Clarita, California. [link]

There was a long deleted sequence here involving Dubai. Stark essentially throws a party in a house in Dubai, as a cover to get himself to the Middle East. The scene would have featured Ghostface Killah.

The village is under attack. We see Abu Bakaar again, dragging a child from his father.

Iron Man arrives. He saves the village and defeats Bakaar.

So…he leaves Bakaar to be killed by the villagers? Maybe?

He heads to the main part of Gulmira. We hear the track Gulmira as he fights Ten Rings there, and destroys the Jericho missiles.

Then we’re at the real Edwards Air Force Base in the script. It seems likely they shot these scenes there as well.

The man in charge is Major Allen. He’s played by Tim Guinee. He’s had dozens of film and TV credits, and would return for Iron Man 2.

Turns out the department Rhodes works for is Weapons Development.


Rhodes calls Stark.

The American jets chasing Iron Man are F-22 Raptors.

The code name for the jets are Whiplash (1 and 2). Not sure if the script is trying to be clever, referring to the Iron Man villain that would later be featured in Iron Man 2.

Rhodey’s ringtone is also the Iron Man theme.

Obadiah watches TV at his house. Great set. Love the gold chess set. This is a nod to Stane’s obsession with chess in the comics. Stane actually created the Chessmen, a group of assassins to attack Stark.

On the TV, Rhodes is talking to the press, with microphones of news stations in front of him. The channels are 10, 19 and two 6s as that mic cube is on an angle. 10/19/66 is Jon Favreau’s birthday (in American, where the month is first).

The TV station is fictional – 3KNKV.


Pepper catches Stark in his armour.

Another deleted scene here, would have involved Stark returning to Dubai after Gulmira. Potts finds Stark drinking in his suit.

Behind Stark, on his workbench is a Captain America shield.

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 8.24.02 PM
Captain America’s shield in Iron Man (2008)

Stane visits Raza and the Ten Rings. With a fleet of Chevrolet Suburbans.

Turns out he’s a traitor.

The Ten Rings have reconstructed most of the Mark I.

Stane freezes Raza with a paralysing device. Turns out Stane has betrayed him too.

Has Raza been killed? His men definitely were. We never see him again.

Stane gets into his car and orders a prototype.

Back in Stark’s lab. He needs to find files, and hands Potts some sort of USB. Aren’t USBs great in films?

As Stark talks about what is right, we hear the track Are Those Bullet Holes?


Potts breaks into the office. It very much looks like inside that Masimo Headquarters, looking out. The skyline outside the window is fake – the area outside the office looks very different – there are no Stark Industries buildings for one.

You have to love a villain who keeps his most incriminating media in a file folder called Top Secret and Ultra Secret.

We replay the scene from the start of the film. The dialogue is finally translated, flying all of us who don’t speak Urdu into the plot.

Stane and Potts talk. In the background we hear…

Potts escapes with Coulson.


Stane works with scientists. In this unknown set.

There is another scene with Stane and the scientists that was deleted from the film.

 Stane confronts William Ginter Riva, one of the head scientists. He is played by Peter Billingsley, who is on double duty, as he’s also an executive producer on the film. He is best known as a child actor, starring in A Christmas Story (1983).

Stane then surprises, and paralyses, Stark in his own home, using his paralyses device. He then steals the arc reactor from Stark’s chest.

Obadiah Stane takes the arc reactor from Tony Stark.
Obadiah Stane takes the arc reactor from Tony Stark.

Stane makes reference to the Aesop fable The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg.

Stane also refers to Howard Stark being one of the inventors of the atomic bomb.

He calls the arc reactor Stark’s 9th symphony. This is a reference to the Beethoven‘s Symphony No.9. One of his most famous works, considered one of the greatest pieces of music of all time, and also his last.

 Potts calls Rhodes in his car. Rhodes is driving and gets a call from Potts. He’s driving a 2006 Dodge Ram. Can’t make out the street.

Potts is with SHIELD, in the Stark car park? Location unknown.

Tony makes his way to his lab and reaches for the first arc reactor.

He passes the number plate STARK5 although we can’t make out the car.


Stane looks over his own armour, we later find out in a secret lab in the Stark facilities. He inserts Stark’s arc reactor.

Rhodey finds Stark at his home.

Potts also seems to have an Audi, an S5.

Potts and Coulson arrive to arrest Stane and find section 16. In the background we hear Section 16.

SHIELD have a cool lock exploding device.

“Next time baby…”

Terrence Howard in Iron Man (2008)
Terrence Howard in Iron Man (2008)

Of course, there was no next time for Terrence Howard. This scene alludes to his character taking the role of War Machine (which he does in the comics), which he would do in the next Iron Man film, played by Don Cheadle.

Why Howard was not asked to return has been subject to much debate. According to Howard, they offered him one eighth of what was promised – a drop from $8m to $1m. But the other side of the argument was that Iron Man became less an ensemble and very much focussed on Tony Stark. Howard told cinemablend:

“I didn’t know it wasn’t a mutually binding contract; it was only beneficial for them and they could bring me back or not. They can honor it or not. And you know they made a great deal, Don (Cheadle) and Robert (Downey Jr.) they get along well. But the best thing that happened as a result of it, I went back to school and finished and got my doctorate.”

Potts and the agents of SHIELD discover the Mark I.

They Potts find Stane in his Iron Monger armour (although he is never called that). He starts firing.

The Iron Monger stood 10 feet tall and weighed 800 pounds, and was built on a set of gimbals to simulate walking. It required five operators to run it.

In the background we hear the track Iron Monger.

Stane smashes through a few SHIELD agents immediately. Did they die?


He then makes his way through the ground.

The Iron Monger
The Iron Monger

And Iron Man arrives. The fight is on.

Stane picks up an SUV. It’s an Aldi Q7.

The family in the SUV is played by Donna Evans, Reid Harper, Summer Kylie Remington, Ava Rose Williams, Vladimir Kubr and Callie Croughwell

Iron Monger leaps at Iron Man. Behind him is a big corporate tower that says Roxxon Corporation. In the comics, they are a big evil company. In the MCU, we will see Roxxon signs hidden in other Iron Man films.

Iron Monger pulls out a shoulder missile launcher. He doesn’t have such a weapon in the comics version of his armour. It is more reminiscent of War Machine.

A deleted scene featured Rhodes driving into the fight.

The pair take to the skies.

Back at Edwards, Rhodes stops the military from intervening.

Nice hero shot of Iron Man and the moon.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 11.18.44 AM
Iron Man (2008)

Potts seems to have not moved from her spot during the entire fight.


Stark instructs Potts to blow the roof.

Iron Monger throws Iron Man. His helmet comes off.

The music for this end of the fight is called Arc Reaktor (with the ‘k’).

Potts presses the button. She pretty much kills Stark as far as she knows.

Stane falls into the arc reactor. He is killed.

Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane/The Iron Monger
Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane/The Iron Monger

Interestingly, Bridges had signed up for sequels (like all the major cast) and was hoping to return. When he signed on, his character was not supposed to die. Bridges told a Facebook Q&A:

When I was hired on, it was scripted that Obadiah would live, that when they opened his Iron Monger suit…he was not in it. Then, they decided to kill my ass off. Telling me “it’s a comic-fantasy, so who knows, your character could come back.” I guess we’ll see…

There was a longer version of the ending that was deleted, with one final confrontation between Stane and Stark.

Back to 3KNKV News, Rhodes is giving a press conference.

Stark is reading the fictional newspaper The Chronicle.

That newspaper is the first time we hear the name Iron Man.

“Just call us SHIELD…”

First use of that name in the MCU. A nice moment for the comic book fans.


Stark addresses the press at Stark Industries HQ.

Everhart is back, and confronts Stark with questions.

“I am Iron Man…”

How planned and well thought out this decision was is up for debate, but this decision – no secret identities – has been an interesting thread in the MCU films.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 11.28.58 AM
“I am Iron Man…”

For a split second there, Robert Downey Jr looks into the camera. Probably a deliberate move.

To make sure this twist didn’t leak, the extras were told this was a dream sequence.


The music is an instrumental version of Iron Man by Black Sabbath. It was first released on their classic album Paranoid in 1970. The song wasn’t initially about the Marvel hero, but the two have become closely associated.

Post Credits Sequence

Back in Stark’s Malibu home.

In the dark is Nick Fury. Played by Samuel L Jackson.

Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury in Iron Man (2008)
Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury in Iron Man (2008)

Sgt_Fury_and_his_Howling_Commandos_Vol_1_1 Fury first appeared in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #1 (May 1963). He was created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. He went from grunt soldier to a James Bond-esque spy, to being the head of SHIELD. He was initially a cigar chomping white guy (with grey hair on the sides). When Marvel created the spin-off Ultimates universe in 2001, the creators Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Allred modelled the character after Samuel L Jackson, years before this film.

Photography By Brian HamillJackson is one of the hardest working actors ever, having appeared in over 150 films, many of them huge block busters, from Pulp Fiction to the Star Wars prequels and so much more.

He mentions the Avengers Initiative….what might that be?

Dramatis Personae


6 thoughts on “Iron Man (2008) – Complete Annotations

  1. In the section 20:00 to 25:00, you stated that The Mandarin will appear in Iron Man 2. He appeared in Iron Man 3.

  2. Amazing stuff, thanks for all the effort you’ve put into this. Just thought I would help with a few music cues;
    The music playing during the entertainment news piece with Zorianna Kit is ‘Groovetronic’ by Terry Devine-King.
    The jazz playing during the first scene in the Walt Disney Exhibition Hall (when Tony dances with Pepper) is ‘Kool Katz’ by Chucho Merchán, and playing when he speaks to Christine is ‘Licorice’ by Emanuel Kallins and Steve Skinner.

Leave a Reply