Iron Man (film)

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"The truth is… I am Iron Man."

A movie series based on the Marvel Comics character Iron Man, starring Robert Downey, Jr. as the armored Superhero. The first two films were directed by Jon Favreau, while Shane Black will helm the third. Part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Iron Man (2008)[edit | hide | hide all]

After being captured by terrorists while on a missile demonstration, multi-billionaire Tony Stark uses his brilliant intellect to devise a Powered Armor to escape. Being an irresponsible, wealthy playboy before, he (literally) has a change of heart regarding his company policies and dedicates himself to cleaning up Stark Industries' patented weapons and taking care of the terrorist group that got their hands on them. To do so, he builds an even better suit of armor. He ignores that Obadiah Stane (his second-in-command in the company) has an agenda on his own...

Iron Man 2 (2010)[edit | hide]

Several months have passed by and Tony deals with the numerous consequences of outing himself as Iron Man and placing himself as the world's defender of peace. His first major issue is congressional hearings about sharing his tech, with rival industrialist (and perpetually second-place to Tony) Justin Hammer standing the most to gain. Despite their best efforts, Tony is untouchable: unbeatable in conferences and unstoppable as Iron Man. But his invincibility is tested by Ivan Vanko (Whiplash), a man with a grudge against the Stark empire who is more than capable of challenging Tony's genius, and he's also dealing with a slowly fatal medical condition resulting from his arc reactor implant. Black Widow also features in a supporting role and Jim Rhodes suits up as his alter-ego War Machine.

Iron Man 3 (2013)[edit | hide]

Filming begins in May 2012. It will possibly adapt elements from the Extremis storyline and will co-star Ben Kingsley as the villain, Guy Pearce as Dr Aldrich Killian, Andy Lau as an old friend of Stark's, Rebecca Hall as Dr Maya Hansen, and James Badge Dale as Eric Savin.


Tropes used in Iron Man (film) include:

Both Films[edit | hide]

  • Affably Evil:
    • Justin Hammer is not afraid to ham it up - on-stage, at least. Off it, he's a sleazy ball of grease. If you're lucky, he'll buy you a cockatoo bird...
    • Vanko hates Tony's guts and wants him to suffer, but their two main conversations (in the cell and on the phone) are fairly civil, even with Vanko's accusations that Tony has whitewashed his family history. The first time Tony offers him a bit of technical advice, and Vanko points out how unhealthy the palladium is for Tony. The second time, Vanko reveals that he took Tony's advice, and thanks him for it.
      • Ivan is also very polite (if curt) to Hammer, even when the former's acting like a douchebag. Aside from wanting to ruin Tony and avenge his father (and not caring who he has to kill to do it), he's a pretty nice guy. When he's not planning evil, he just seems to enjoy playing with his bird.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted.
    • The armature robot acts like a scorned puppy every time he screws up an order from Stark.
    • This movie has both an AI and two robots (the second robot controls the camera in the tests of the flight system), and none of them goes evil/crazy by the end of the movie. The AI even doubles as the operating system of a suit of invincible battle armor, exhibits a bit more common sense than Stark himself in most scenes, and it still doesn't go Ax Crazy! Amazing! As is standard for AI's, JARVIS is far from emotionless, and is capable of sarcasm:

Tony Stark: [looking at a rendered model of the suit, which is made of titanium-gold alloy and has a solid gold color] A little ostentatious, don't you think?
JARVIS: What was I thinking? You're usually so discreet.
Tony Stark: [gazes at a 1930s hotrod] Tell you what. Throw a little hotrod red in there.
JARVIS: Yes, that should help you keep a low profile.

    • The robot arm Tony constantly scolds for being clumsy saves his life by giving him the replacement arc reactor.
    • It demonstrates Tony's bizarre sense of humor that the robots are "Dummy" and "You"--and demonstrates his impatience with "yes men" that all of his AIs show independence of mind, even if only passive-aggressively.
  • Animated Adaptation: The anime series seems to be a spin-off from the films, with the opening credits suggesting the two are set within the same continuity.
  • ...And Show It to You: Subverted in two different ways. Tony's "heart" is not a conventional one, and he also lives through the experience, somehow.
  • Anti-Hero: Stark has such a large ego he's willing to use himself as a human guinea pig in his experiments, often with hilariously humiliating results--but the fact that he's doing it for the cause of justice means you can't help but root for him. His comic counterpart's alcoholism just got thrown into the sequel, where he became an even bigger jerk due to international recognition as Iron Man and the prospect of dying from palladium.
  • Applied Phlebotinum:
    • The Arc Reactor being the most prominent example, but the "repulsor" technology is a close second: tiny little glowing devices that can somehow push enough atmosphere away from them to generate thrust.
    • In the second film, with a little help from his dad and a couple hints from Nick Fury, he makes an entire new element (identified as Element no. 118 which is radioactive and was first synthesized with a particle accelerator) which soups up the arc reactor and seems to cure his palladium poisoning.
    • In the Iron Man 2 novelization, the element is revealed as Vibranium, the rare material used to make Cap's shield. Talk about some serious "arc welding." Later MCU films, though, imply that it's the stuff the Tesseract is made of instead.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Tony is Iron Man because a newspaper called the mysterious man in a metal suit that. (Tony being Tony, he remarked that it wasn't technically accurate).
  • Arms Dealer: Tony starts out as one. Obadiah Stane and Justin Hammer are outright villainous versions of this
  • Ascended Extra: Clark Gregg's role as Agent Coulson was only supposed to consist of about four lines, as an agent who shows up to hand Stark a briefcase. But the role was soon expanded. Before Gregg knew it, his character was being written into future Marvel movies before he was even consulted.

Gregg: […] There was a kind of banter between Coulson and Stark that writers kind of came up with, and Robert and I kind of came up with, and they responded to it quickly. And suddenly it was a part of the script, and they were like, "Oh, are you free for the next two months? We started adding more stuff to this. It serves a real purpose, beyond just being some of the comic relief in the movie. It serving a real purpose in terms of setting up S.H.I.E.L.D., which we have big plans for." And I went, "Yeah! I’ll get free! Whatever I’m doing can be cancelled, okay?"

Stern: Mr Stark? Mr STARK!
Tony: *turns around* Hmm, yes dear?

  • Autobots Rock Out: All the time, even lampshaded by Tony when Rhodey shows up to shut his party down. "Goldstein! Gimme a phat beat to beat my buddy's ass to." (said song ends up being both Another One Bites the Dust and Robot Rock)
  • Badass Longcoat: Nick Fury sports one of these.
  • Badass Normal: Happy would be this if he wasn't constantly Overshadowed by Awesome
    • Black Widow is a more straight example. Nick Fury is probably one but we haven't seen him do anything. The fact that S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Coulson is willing to tazer Iron Man puts him in this field too.
    • Let's also not forget that Coulson and his agents casually blasted their way into Stark's building and were moments away from capturing Stane all on their own. If it wasn't for Obadiah hopping into the Iron Monger armor at the last minute, the ending would've been different... if anti-climatic.
  • Bad to the Bone: The Black Sabbath opening melody of their song, "Iron Man".
  • Bald Black Leader Guy: Nick Fury, the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Bigger Stick:
    • Obadiah uses Tony's technology to make a bigger power armor suit. Averted in that Tony's suit still proved to be superior, even with the power source rapidly draining. Not to mention that Stane didn't account for the "icing problem" while Tony did.
    • The phrase "bigger stick" even comes up in the movie itself when Tony is talking to the reporter about his father.
    • The War Machine was meant to be this in relation to Iron Man, although Tony came back with even more nifty toys in his suit only a little bit after it was presented. However, War Machine follows the tried and tested principles of projectile weaponry, while Iron Man uses energy weaponry.
  • Black Best Friend: James Rhodes.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • "I'm just driving with the top down."
    • "Nothing to worry about, people, just a training exercise."
    • "This isn't about me!"
  • Bloodless Carnage:
    • Tony's and Obadiah's main means of incapacitating people is hitting them really hard with his arms, fists or palm-mounted repulsors. He has sedative darts as well as bullets for if he really needs to shoot people, his first suit had flamethrowers, and if he's fighting something mechanical like a plane, tank, or another suit, he just destroys the equipment. Perhaps the only time blood was shown was right after Tony got hit by the shrapnel of a mortar round (itself a subversion of the Bulletproof Vest). This doesn't mean he doesn't kill a lot of people, mind you...
    • It's possible that someone would survive being punched hard enough by a metal fist to go flying head over heels, only stopping when he hits a concrete wall a dozen yards away, but it's not certain. It's possible that the guy hit by his own ricochet during Tony's escape didn't actually die. It's possible that some terrorists standing among cases of armaments might have survived flamethrowers turned on them, as well as a massive explosion when those armaments blow up, but it's very unlikely that they all did. And Tony definitely killed six terrorists holding hostages at once; under the circumstances, it would have been irresponsible not to. All told, the hero of this series has a pretty substantial body count, even if we don't actually see anyone bleed out on screen.
    • When the North Koreans and Iranians attempt to try out their Metal G... I mean, power armor, blood spatters on the screen when both tests fail miserably.
    • Additionally, War Machine has all kinds of guns, but is only seen using them on mechanical enemies. Even then, some mech fluid splatters on his face while he's mowing them down.
  • Body Horror: Tony has an electromagnet permanently embedded into his chest to keep shrapnel from working its way to his heart. When he first awakens, his chest is wired to a car battery. Even after he gets his arc reactor upgrade, he has a hollow tube in the center of his chest that he sometimes has to reach into to fix the wires.
  • Book Ends: The Stinger of the second movie mimics the opening scene of the first, albeit with one vehicle as opposed to a convoy traveling through a desert (right to left even.)
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted with Iron Man himself, who only sparingly uses hard ammo, and never more than what could reasonably be expected to fit inside his suit. His collapsible, suitcase armor seems to only have the palm-mounted repulsors. War Machine, on the other hand, is able to fire more rounds than his suit could possibly fit unless he wasn't actually inside it.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: No one would bother with Tony if he wasn't so damn good, being a drunk egomaniac Gadgeteer Genius and munitions dealer turned pacifist. Ivan Vanko is also a hard drinker with strange mannerisms and an attachment to his bird, but is the only one to rival Tony's equipment.
  • Butt Monkey: "Dummy", the robotic-arm who assists Tony in his lab. Tony frequently comments that he is utterly useless and threatens to donate him to city colleges. It however does make Tony a Jerk with a Heart of Gold when you realise from the opening of the first film, that "Dummy" was one of the first AI's Tony ever built at the age of eight.
  • Call Back: At the end of the first film, Tony is called a little prick by Stane. Later, at the end of Iron Man 2, he is called a little prick by the senator.
  • The Cameo
    • Stan Lee: As Hugh Hefner in the first movie and Larry King in the second. Or, rather, that's who Tony thinks he is in each film; in both films, he is credited as playing himself, making it clear that this is Tony's inability to identify him properly.
    • The second has Bill O'Reilly, DJ AM (who died shortly later) and Larry Ellison (the Oracle Product Placement includes the "Oracle dome" where the final battle occurs; it even resembles a Japanese garden since Ellison likes that country). Seth Green also has a blink and you'll miss it cameo in the second film.
    • The second film has a cameo of Elon Musk (As himself) quickly pitching Tony on an idea for electric jets.
  • Canon Immigrant: SHIELD Agent Coulson, seen throughout the current Marvel Movies but originating in Iron Man pestering Tony for a debriefing, has since appeared in the comics.
    • Also JARVIS (as the name of Stark's battle suit AI), has now also appeared in Marvel Universe comics, where it was revealed that the name was an acronym standing for Just Another Really Very Intelligent System - a name which then appeared in the second film.
  • Captain Obvious:
    • From the first movie, Yinsen's reaction to seeing the first miniaturized arc reactor: "That doesn't look like a Jericho missile."
    • At the climax of the second film. Iron Man and War Machine are standing in the middle of a 'kill box', Tony has used his one time only laser function on the Hammer Drones when Vanko drops down, wearing vastly improved armor and flaunting his ionized plasma whips which he has improved using Tony's own advice. Rhodey's reaction?
    • When Black Widow bursts into the now-empty room that Vanko's been controlling the drones from, but has already left. The camera pans across the room and its lack of living occupants. "He's gone!"
  • Car Fu:
    • Rather, Motorcycle Fu. During their battle on the highway, Iron Monger grabs a motorcycle as it's driving by and smacks Tony with it. Also, in a deleted scene, as Stane has Stark on the ropes, Rhodey knocks him off his feet with Tony's Audi. Into a hydrogen-powered bus. Which promptly explodes.
    • In the sequel, Happy rams Vanko on the racetrack. Repeatedly. It doesn't do much.
  • Casanova:

Soldier: Is it true that you went twelve-for-twelve with last year's Maxim cover models?
Tony Stark: That is an excellent question. Yes and no. March and I had a scheduling conflict but fortunately the Christmas cover was twins.

  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • "Proof that Tony Stark has a heart", the icing problem and the flares.
    • In Iron Man 2, it's the "Ex-Wife" Bunker Buster. It is described in detail how much of a Badass missile it is, how it will go through anything to kill what's behind it, and turn into puree anything behind said target. It's there for War Machine's Crowning Moment of Awesome. It fails miserably (but played straight in the novelization).
    • There's quite a few, some that even crosses from the first to the sequel. Like Vanko said, putting Palladium in your chest isn't the safest of things to do.
    • A more subtle example is the miniature model of the first Stark Expo, which is actually a hidden blueprint for the element that's key to perfecting the arc reactor.
    • A blatant example in the first movie, when Rhodes looks at the Mk. II armor and says "Next time, baby!". In the sequel, he takes the Mk. II to fight with Tony, and eventually has it turned into the War Machine armor.
    • Stark and Rhodes fire repulser beams at each other during their fight, causing a huge explosion. they then use this to defeat Vanko
  • Chest Blaster:
  • Collapsible Helmet: A simple version, the face plate can slide out of the way.
    • Ivan Vanko's helmet splits apart and slides into his suit's interior.
  • Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: A few examples.
    • Tony doesn't take the name "Iron Man" until the end of the first film, and even then, it's mostly used to refer to the armor ("the Iron Man weapon"), not Tony himself.
    • Obadiah Stane only uses the term "iron mongers" to refer to himself and Tony as weapons dealers once.
    • Tony only calls Rhodey a "war machine" once, as an insult.
    • Anton Vanko, despite being a composite of the Crimson Dynamo and Whiplash, is not called either in the film. There is a brief mention of "whiplash technology" in regards to his weapons but that's it.
    • Natasha Romanov is called "Agent Romanov", but never the Black Widow. Until The Avengers, anyway.
  • Composite Character:
    • Whiplash in the sequel has elements of the original Crimson Dynamo (last name's Vanko, is Russian, and builds and wears Iron Man-inspired armor) with the comics Whiplash (codename and main gimmick, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin).
    • JARVIS is mostly based on HOMER from the comics, with a patina of Edwin Jarvis, manservant to the Stark family and subsequently Battle Butler to The Avengers.
    • Justin Hammer is a combination of his comic book self and another Stark rival, the younger Tiberius Stone.
  • Cool Garage: Tony Stark's workshop houses a Saleen S7, a Tesla Roadster, an Audi R8, a Cobra and a hot rod. Oh, and a suit of power armor that is easily the most advanced piece of combat equipment ever made. He smashes one of them and sprays debris on another during his tests of the Iron Man suit. He somehow has Captain America (comics)'s partially completed shield just lying around his workshop[1]. Making for yet another funny moment when he casually uses it to prop up part of his prismatic accelerator, as many a fanboy orgasm turned to horrible, horrible shock.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
    • Obadiah Stane in the first movie, Justin Hammer in the second.
    • Senator Stern wasn't exactly playing fair either (although still by the book, which Rhodes lampshaded at every turn), although Stark manages to turn everything he uses against him.
  • Cow Tools: The Cool Garage is filled with just about everything and anything you can imagine an engineer would need.
  • Creative Sterility: Obadiah Stane and Justin Hammer seem to be suffering from this because all they can do in the R&D department is to plagiarize Tony Stark's (or his father's) inventions. Subverted with Ivan Vanko / Whiplash: Vanko's father helped Howard Stark build the energy reactor and left him the blueprints; therefore, he is technically reinventing the wheel rather than ripping off Tony's designs. He even builds a suit that completely dominates both Iron Man and War Machine in combat. Of course, he designed it solely to that end, while Iron Man and War Machine are meant as all-purpose Powered Armor.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Stan Lee shows up in both films (Tony however mistakes him for Hugh Hefner and Larry King).
    • Jon Favreau who directed both films shows up as Happy Hogan, Tony's Deadpan Snarker Badass Driver.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check:
    • A central theme of both films is that everyone wants a piece of the power suit and/or arc reactor technology, but Tony isn't willing to give them access to it because he doesn't want its power falling into the wrong hands. Obadiah Stane plans to mass produce the suits powered by the reactor and sell them for profit, as does Justin Hammer in the second film. Both succeed to a degree, Stane producing a suit inferior to Tony's current one but still very powerful, and Hammer getting an army of robotic drones based on the suit.
    • Invoked in the second film when Tony wonders why Ivan Vanko, having produced an inferior but still functional arc reactor and a pair of high-powered electric whips that can cut through steel, didn't sell his inventions and make a nice profit from them. Vanko is more concerned with getting revenge than making money.
    • Makes even more sense as his father, co-inventor of Arc Reactor was accused of espionage and deported, what could have made Ivan deeply suspicious of governments and industry moguls.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Both Tony Stark and JARVIS.
    • Pepper Potts too.

Pepper: I do anything and everything Mr. Stark requires of me. *Beat* Including occasionally taking out the trash. Will that be all?

    • It continues in 2, with some help from Tony.

Pepper: Yes she did quite a spread on Tony last year.
Tony: And she wrote a story, as well.
Pepper: It was very impressive, very well-done...

  • Death by Origin Story: Yinsen in the first movie, Anton Vanko in the sequel.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Very nearly avoided.
    • Both Tony Stark and Jim Rhodes graduated from MIT, and the movie gives them the correct MIT rings (or Brass Rats). Tony Stark also briefly appears on the cover of Technology Review, the school's magazine, and Pepper notes that he's scheduled to do the Commencement speech. However, they slip up in saying that Tony graduated summa cum laude. MIT does not grant summa cum laude or any other honors; the degree is considered honor enough. In pure engineering terms (not taking into account physics or chemistry), the movie is actually very well-researched; when Tony is working in his lab, he is shown soldering correctly with a real iron, and even remembers to wipe it on the sponge before he puts it back. It helps that Robert Downey, Jr. is a real-life gearhead.
      • However, the incorrect association of Latin honors with MIT actually stems from the comics.
    • Jon Favreau, director of the first two films and the actor who portrayed Happy Hogan in them, has repeatedly referred to the Mandarin's rings during interviews where questions are asked about the Mandarin's foreshadowing as being magical in the comics when in fact they are not, never were, and never will be magical. The Ten Rings of Power are, in fact, alien technology used by the same race that the dragon Fin Fang Foom is a member of. For someone who likes to emphasize how much of an Iron Man fan he is (and who co-wrote an Iron Man comic featuring Fin Fang Foom), this is a fairly huge mistake to make not just once, but repeatedly.
      • Another however - Clarke's Third Law is stated in Thor and the other movies bear out that magic and science are the same thing in this 'verse. Even taking into the account the fact that those movies weren't made yet, the Mandarin likes to play up the mysticism aspect and some adaptations do make his rings magical, so "magic" can be an acceptable simplification of how his rings work.
  • Dodge by Braking
  • Double Entendre: Where do we start?
    • "Can I see the badge?" "He likes the badge".
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: In both films Tony is weakened before the final battle. In the first, his improved arc reactor is removed and he's forced to use the inferior prototype, severely limiting the suit's power. In the second, he uses up his best weapon on the Hammer Drones before he fights Vanko.
  • Dyeing for Your Art:
    • Mickey Rourke visited the infamous Butyrka prison in Moscow to study the mannerisms of real-life Russian criminals. Bizarrely enough, Rouke noted the prisoners were actually pretty nice. He also put himself through emotional hell by having the director hold up pictures of his favorite (now passed) pets for scenes where he needed to be anguished or enraged (or both, as so often goes together with him).
    • Robert Downey Jr. gained muscle to play Tony Stark, though he'd already been quite fit.
    • Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansonn turned into redheads. The latter hadn't even been cast yet, she just wanted the role that bad.
    • Jeff Bridges actually looked forward to the idea of shaving his head for the role of Stane.
  • Energy Weapon: Since all the major suits function around the arc reactor technology, energy weapons are inevitable.
    • Iron Man has his signature repulsor rays, and the uni-beam in his chest. As well as that "one-time use" super duper beam attack in his gloves.
    • Whiplash, having created his own arc reactors, wields a pair of, you guessed it, energy whips.
    • War Machine is more of a typical armoured suit with guns, but he still has the repulsor rays. Just prefers bullets.
  • Epic Fail:
    • The Mk. II testing has quite a few of these.
    • The "Ex-Wife" in the second film, supposedly a bunker-busting tiny missile, bounces off Whiplash and falls undetonated to the ground. After taking a good ten seconds to acquire its target and launch (although this might be acceptable if it really was designed to bust static bunkers, not shoot at man-sized targets). War Machine and Iron Man's reactions are priceless.

Tony: Hammertech?
Rhodes: (despondently) ...yeah.

    • The Iron Man ripoffs during the Senate hearing, starting with a North Korean Metal G... I mean, walker-thing (which promptly falls on its side and begins emptying its gatlings into the grunts surrounding it), the Iranian suit (which has some poor guy slam into a mountain at high speed and spray debris everywhere), and finally, Hammer's own IM ripoff (which snaps the guy's spine by whipping around 180 degrees at the waist in a routine test to "Face to the right"; to which Hammer replies "the test pilot survived!").
    • In the novelization of the film, the Iron Man ripoff sequence is much lengthier, involving many more countries, but the North Korean entry is just as bad as it is in the film, with the machine in question exploding in an enormous fireball for no apparent reason.
  • Equal Opportunity Evil:
    • The Ten Rings gang, despite having surface similarities with al-Qaeda, are actually a mishmash of Central Asian, Middle Eastern, and Balkan members.
    • In the sequel, the all-American Justin Hammer employs corrupt French policemen and a Russian Evil Genius. Meanwhile, Word of God is that the man who got Vanko his false passport, an Asian man working in Russia, is an agent of the Ten Rings.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning:
    • During the first film's Mark III suiting-up sequence, as the outer breastplate is closed the structures surrounding the arc reactor spin counter-clockwise ever so slightly.
    • In Iron Man 2, during the Mark V suiting-up sequence, similar structures make a spinning motion as well, but clockwise, much faster and much more visibly, and with the camera zoomed in on it much more. Of course, there are more exposed mechanical parts during that scene than last time, as well.
    • In general, Iron Man's flights incorporate a lot of spinning which probably isn't necessary, but still looks pretty damned cool.
  • Evil Counterpart: All three main villains in the two films embody different aspects of Tony's personality, but lack his other traits that balance him out--Stane is a seemingly friendly businessman interested in accumulating power, Hammer is a playboy billionaire Jerkass with none of Tony's brilliance or charm, and Vanko has Tony's intelligence and ingenuity but not his morals.
  • Evil, Inc.: Stark Enterprises in a way. Even though Howard and Tony were both great guys, it seems their business partners always want to sell weapons to American enemies behind the scenes. Also subverted by Tony Stark, who points out that many of his inventions in the field of medicine and agriculture has been made possible by revenues from the military contracts.
  • Evil Knockoff:
    • Every major villain so far has stolen, copied, or otherwise been inspired by Tony's Iron Man designs. Deliberately invoked, as weapon proliferation is his major concern.
    • Carried over to the anime series. Tony is seen fighting several enemies with armour based upon his.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Nick Fury. Made fun of by Stark quite a few times.
  • Expy:
    • In the sequel, Howard Stark is analogous to Walt Disney with his vision of a better tomorrow envisioned in his Stark Expo '74, which is analogous of EPCOT. He's even sporting the same look Disney wore during most of his shows and promos in the '60s. (Compare Walt and Howard.) This could even be considered Hilarious in Hindsight considering Iron Man 2 was well into production by the time Disney bought Marvel.
    • Tony Stark is analogous to Howard Hughes as Stan Lee originally intended, with both his genius intellect and various eccentricities.
    • Also played with in Stan Lee's appearances, since in both movie appearances it wasn't made clear (to Tony) if Stan Lee was supposed to be playing Hugh Hefner, Larry King or himself. He's credited As Himself, at least in the second film. But then he usually is.
  • Fate Worse Than Death:
    • In an attempt to save face, which failed miserably, Justin Hammer tries making a point that the pilot involved in the failed Hammertech armour test actually survived. To elaborate, he survived having his spine twisted 180 degrees.
    • Tony threatening one of his robots with being sold to a community college seems to be comically invoking the spirit of this trope.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Obadiah Stane comes off as a rather nice guy at first, but it's all an act for the ruthless, power-hungry ego-maniac underneath. A rather chilling display is him getting all close and buddy-buddy with Tony after paralyzing him and removing his arc reactor, mocking him for his failures in a faux-polite tone as he leaves him to die.
  • Fiction 500:
    • Tony, to ridiculous extreme. Forget the private jet that turns into a nightclub with flight attendants who double as exotic dancers. He has the personal resources and completely automated production facility to build a fully functional Iron Man suit in five hours... in his garage.
    • Justin Hammer from the sequel is filthy rich as well, converting an entire airplane hangar into a five-star restaurant. For himself and one other guy. Mind you, if it were Tony, it would've been a banquet for a few hundred people...
  • Floating Head Syndrome: Both posters and DVD covers.
  • Foil: Both movies' villains are foils of Tony Stark, representing darker sides of his character, having his vices pushed Up to Eleven or stripped of his redeeming qualities. Obadiah Stane is a shrewd businessman like Tony, but is a completely immoral profiteer and ironmonger with no sense of honor or patriotism. Justin Hammer is a flamboyant narcissistic billionaire who shares Tony's taste for douchebaggery and partying, but has none of his genius or charity. Whiplash is also a brilliant scientist who can build power armor in a shitty apartment and a son of a technology wizard, but has none of Tony's wealth or prestige that he envies so much; in addition, he seems to share Tony's drinking problem. He also doesn't really care about civilian casualties.
  • Foreshadowing for slated sequels. They also double as mythology gags:
    • The "Ten Rings" terrorist organization, who idolize Genghis Khan, with the chief the leader Raza displaying one very large and prominent [2] which is never mentioned again. Relation to Genghis and ten magical rings with individual powers are the trademarks of The Mandarin. However, Word of God states that if/when they do the Mandarin, the rings will either be technological in nature or not really "rings".
    • When Rhodes sees Tony fly off in the Iron Man armor to confront Stane, he glances at the second suit of armor in the garage and pauses for a moment, and then says "Next time, baby," a reference to "his" future role as War Machine.
    • Stark is drinking almost constantly - he later gets shitfaced, badly, in the sequel, inspired by the "Demon in a Bottle" storyline from the comics.
    • "You think you're the only superhero in the world? Mr. Stark, you've become part of a bigger universe. You just don't know it yet. [ ... ] [I'm] Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D.. I'm here to talk to you about the Avenger Initiative."
    • The brief cameo of Captain America (comics)'s shield strapped to one of Tony's workbenches. Made for an additional gag in the sequel.
      • On the same note, Coulson's reaction to the above foreshadows his fanboy-like appreciation of its owner in The Avengers.
    • S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Coulson going to New Mexico to find Thor's hammer.
    • When Tony is talking to Nick Fury, there is a map in the background with circles on it. They are over California, a region in the southwest US, the north east, Greenland, Scandanavia, and the eastern coast of Africa. We know that both the Iron Man 2 final fight and the Hulk incident happened in the east/north east, and the Hammer was found in New Mexico, right where the second circle is. As for the others, Africa is home to the Black Panther, and Captain America is found in the Arctic region, though the location is never specified more than that...
    • Stark says how Senator Stern should be giving him a medal. He does.
    • During Stark's ego-stroking "It's not about me!" speech during his Expo, he continues to say that instead, it's about legacy. This continues to be a theme throughout the movie as Ivan Vanko seeks to destroy the legacy of the Stark family and claim the legacy he believes to be his. Justin Hammer actually brings up the idea of 'going after his legacy' verbatim.
  • Forging Scene: Tony making his first armor during his captivity in Afghanistan. In the sequel, it's intentionally paralleled by Ivan Vanko making his first Whiplash suit.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Tony Stark, naturally. Also Ivan Vanko from the sequel.
  • Gatling Good: The preferred projectile weapon on those suits. Played straight as a ruler: Of course they don't shoot with the right rate.
    • A rather bulky ammo compartments are also nowhere to be found.
  • Geek Reference Pool: Real life example. Certain nerds only know Gwyneth Paltrow from these movies, even though she's been around since the early 90's and won a friggin' Oscar for Shakespeare in Love.
    • Somewhat justified in that after giving birth she deliberately did not work much, and Iron Man was one of the first roles she took when she started acting again.
  • Gilligan Cut: A bunch of times.
    • A memorable example is Stark suggesting the Air Force blame certain events on a "training exercise". Rhodes tells him it isn't that simple -- then we cut to him delivering a statement to the press about a training exercise.
    • Another hilarious example involving Rhodes: When he's offered an alcoholic drink on Tony's jet, he avidly states he's not going to drink. Cut to a completely plastered Rhodes a good few hours later.
    • In 2, Tony is contemplating his own mortality. He asks Natasha what she would do if she knew she was going to die soon. She replies, "I would do whatever I wanted to do, with whoever I wanted to do." You'd think he'd go through with his earlier plans of shelving the party... and then there's a cut to Tony doing scratch D Jing, and then dancing sloppy drunk in his armor.
  • Girl Friday: Pepper
  • Good Is Not Nice:
    • Yes, Tony Stark works hard to keep the world safe, and his heart is in the right place. He's still a playboy, a glory hound, a drunkard, and an irresponsible jackass.
    • Howard Stark's devotion to science and the common good is commendable, especially compared to Anton Vanko being Only in It For the Money. Less commendable is having the guy deported back to the country from which he defected. As Tony himself notes, he was cold, calculating, and apparently never just out and told his son how much he cared about him. In person, at least.
  • Heroic Resolve: A dialogue and exposition-free example happens during Tony's first fight against Whiplash. With one resolute glare, Tony goes from being on the ropes to winning the fight in seconds.
  • Hero's Journey: The movies are arguably Tony's journey to becoming a full-fledged hero. Progress got partially set back at the beginning of the second film, partially justified because he's dying and in denial about it at the time.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Tony and Col. Rhodes, especially when reunited after Tony's capture. Lampshaded by the fact that Tony sarcastically calls Rhodes "honey" and "dear" a couple of times.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Paul Bettany (from A Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander and The Da Vinci Code) voices JARVIS.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Almost, with the Stark Industries missile... and the guns... and Iron Monger. OK, pretty much every time Stark is in trouble, it has something to do with his company.
    • In the sequel, a lot of the Hammer Drones get shot down by friendly fire. Also defied, according to the novelisation, as Vanko's suit is built so that he doesn't cut himself with his whips.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Tony, at least after he gets back from Afghanistan.
  • Immune to Bullets: Played with slightly. Small arms fire bounces off, and nothing except a direct hit from an explosion hurts. Larger calibers (up to an including 20mm Vulcan rounds and the main cannon of a tank!) score and dent the armor, showing off the creators' CG muscle and occasionally causing problems ranging from a frozen knee joint to trouble removing the suit without a diamond blade.
  • In Memoriam: Iron Man 2 is dedicated to Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein, who had a cameo As Himself filmed before his death.
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: Not immediately obvious (in fact, only apparent as part of the larger Avengers film continuity) but the Arc Reactor technology was originally developed by Howard Stark, who was part of SHIELD and who apparently studied the Tessaract Cube that came from Asgard. It became obvious in the second movie that Howard Stark made great intellectual discoveries by studying the artifact, but he was limited by the technology of his time, and that Tony was the one who eventually realized much of the potential of his father's research into Asgard tech.
  • Insufferable Genius:
    • Tony Stark may be a veritable technology wizard, but he is one of the most self-absorbed douchebags and assholes on planet Earth. He seems to be aware of it ("Textbook narcissism? {Beat} agreed.") and tries to get better. He was less of it in the first film, but the fame got back into his head by Iron Man 2[3].
  • In the Future We Still Have Roombas: Tony has robotic arm things to help him out when he is inventing, in his garage/lab, one of which he calls "butter-fingers". They seem to get in the way more than help him though and at one point he threatens to donate one to a city college.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • "I'm not Tony Stark." First said by Obadiah Stane, then to Obadiah Stane.
    • "(It's) good to be back." First said by Tony Stark, then to Tony Stark.
    • Also in the sequel, "You have to learn to let go..."
  • Irony:
    • "How ironic, Tony! Trying to rid the world of weapons, you gave it its best one ever!"
    • Tony gets shrapnel into his heart because of an explosion from one of his own weapons.
    • Tony builds the prototype armor with stuff Stane has been secretly selling to the Ten Rings.
    • Justin Hammer insisting that Ivan should let go of his meaningless possessions, followed by Ivan making the same comment in reference to the designs of his suits.
    • The palladium poisoning. As Jarvis puts it, the thing that's keeping Tony alive is slowly killing him.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Justified. Billionaire playboys aren't everyone.
    • It's worth noting that Tony's alma mater, MIT, actually isn't in the Ivy League.
  • Jerkass:
  • Jerk With A Miniature Arc Reactor Powering His Heart: Tony may be a good guy, but he's still an arrogant and irresponsible drunkard.
    • Although possibly played straight when you realise that while he constantly berates the Robotic Arm "Dummy" in both films, a newspaper clipping in the first movie hints this was the first AI that Tony ever built, meaning that despite his threats, he keeps "Dummy" around out of sentimentality.
  • Large Ham:
    • Obadiah Stane, who points out that Tony Stark was able to build a miniature arc reactor IN A CAVE! WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!
    • Justin Hammer could best be (non-literally) described as "Tony Stark's annoying, hammy little brother."
    • Tony himself counts, in several scenes in 2 (particularly when he's drunk). He's a genius, he's a larger-than-life figure, he knows it, and he wants to make sure everyone else does too.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Obadiah in his armor appears to be one of these: Better armed, physically strong enough to crush the Iron Man Mk.III armor, fast enough to catch up with Tony despite the latter's head start. Of course, Tony was not at full power, so whether Obadiah really counts is debatable.
    • Vanko has good enough reflexes to hit professional racecars with those whips of his, bisecting several, including Tony's, before engaging him in combat. He never actually gets hit by the Iron Man Mark V's repulsor blasts directly-- the first shot is negated by his destroying the repulsor before it's done charging up. OK, points for creativity. However, when Tony's suit takes further damage and he backpedals out of range, Ivan has to deal with the repulsors directly, without the aid of armor. What does he do? He uses his whips to catch and absorb the repulsor blasts from midair, twice in a row, before grabbing Tony with the whips and throwing him around for a bit.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Jericho missile.
    • In Iron Man 2, the Navy Hammer Drones get one of these when they unload a sizable portion of their rocket ordnance on the fleeing Expo attendees. Notably, these are the only drones that successfully go after civilians onscreen. Quite a literal massacre.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: Hey, let's capture a scientific genius, order him to build weapons for us, give him access to our Offscreen Villain Dark Matter, and then ignore any evidence that he's building weapons to use against us. (both the terrorists and Hammer)
  • Made of Iron:
    • Technically it's a 'titanium-gold alloy', but close enough. More traditionally, Tony Stark shrugs off an absurd amount of punishment during the movie (even worse in The Avengers). Even inside the suit, the acceleration should have produced enough G-forces to turn him into a squishy mess.
    • In a deleted scene, Pepper discovers him lounging around half-out of his armor after his first combat outing in the suit, and he's badly bruised, bleeding and generally banged up. Not badly enough to account for shrugging off tank fire, but much worse than is shown in the main release.
    • In the sequel, Vanko gets rammed by Happy Hogan's car, twice, without the benefit of power armor, and all it does is knock him out for a few seconds. Whatever protection the exoskeleton covering his torso offered, the fact remains that his body took the brunt of that.
  • Mid Film Upgrade: Tony is constantly refitting and remaking his armors.
    • The first film has him go through two prototypes before he actually dives into battle, and ends with him upgrading the armor to Mark IV after the Mark III armor was heavily damaged in the fight with Stane.
    • The second film starts with Tony using the Mark IV, with the Mark V (Briefcase Armor) as a back-up in case he needs to suit up on the fly. He ditches the Mark IV after upgrading his chest piece to a less posionous element, and begins using the Mark VI armor.
      • The Mark II armor also gets an upgrade partway through the second movie, into Rhodey's "War Machine" armor. However, this is less technological and more "let's tape on as many machine guns & rocket launchers as possible" though. It also gets a downgrade, as Hammer "upgrades" the software from Stark Tech to his own inferior OS.
    • In The Avengers, Tony upgrades his armor to Mark VII, after the Mark VI is heavily damaged fighting Thor & during Loki's assault on the Helicarrier, to the point where it's clearly struggling to fly. The major changes from the Mark VI are the return of the circular chest piece and rocket boosters on the back so the repulsors can be used as weapons.
  • Millionaire Playboy: Tony Stark, and also Justin Hammer in the sequel.
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: The sci-fi is considerably hard, just having One Big Lie in the form of the Arc Reactor and exploring the consequences of the Powered Armor that's made possible by it. It gets slightly softer if mass is considered, though. Powered Armor is faster and more agile than its durability or level of protection would suggest; armor are more resilient to damage than they should be, and can somehow become damaged without dealing any significant injury to the very human person inside.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Tony.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Pepper and Black Widow.
  • Mythology Gag: A bunch.
    • Tony's driver is named Happy Hogan, who marries Pepper in the comics. The movie's director cast himself as Happy, so he may get the chance to kiss Gwyneth Paltrow in the sequels. The sly dog.
    • During the final fight, a building in the background has the logo of Roxxon, a major company in the Marvel Universe (in fact, a Mega Corp Fictional Counterpart of Exxon).
    • JARVIS, the name of Tony's AI. JARVIS is mostly based on HOMER from the comics, with a patina of Edwin Jarvis, manservant to the Stark family and subsequently Battle Butler to The Avengers. In the novelisation, Pepper explains that it is an acronym for "Just A Rather Very Intelligent System".
    • JARVIS has since become a recursive mythology gag, being brought into the comics as the onboard AI in Pepper's suit.

Pepper: Have you ever met the actual Jarvis?
JARVIS: No, ma'am. I suspect it would be rather odd.

    • And of course, Tony's very first suit, the one he builds in the cave (with the box of scraps)? It's basically a real life version of the very first suit he had in the comics, circa 1963.
    • Stane's "we're iron mongers, Tony" line, the only in-film reference to his traditional supervillain name. A similar thing happens in Iron Man 2; neither Whiplash, Black Widow or War Machine are referred to as such, but Tony does say to Rhodey, "You wanna be the war machine?" at the climax of their little boxing match.
    • Stane grabbing a car full of civilians echoes one of the truly bastardly moves he made in the comic book Iron Monger story: nearly crushing a baby to death.
    • The '60s animated series theme appears twice, played by an orchestra and as a ringtone.
    • At the start the Monaco race scene, Whiplash is shown wearing a technician's uniform with a fake name patch which reads "B. Turgenov". In the comics, Boris Turgenev was a Soviet spy who became the second Crimson Dynamo.
    • We get a glimpse of Captain America (comics)'s in-progress shield in Tony's workshop.
    • During the drone chase near the end, a sign for "Circuits Maximus", one of Tony's companies in the comics, can be seen for a second.
    • The sequel has a blink and you'll miss it reference to Project Pegasus, a new-energy research facility that makes many appearances in Marvel.
    • Tony makes a reference to not being sure that Nick Fury is real. In the comics, he's survived many apparent deaths through the use of Life Model Decoys.
    • You get a brief glimpse of a Captain America (comics) comic book in the trunk Tony is excavating when he is looking for hints to a palladium substitute.
    • In the sequel, Tony tries to make romantic advances on Black Widow literally from the first scene that she shows up in. In the Ultimates (the Ultimate Marvel verison of the Avengers), the two of them are an official couple.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You:
    • Averted. Tony goes for the mechanism handling the ejected pilot's parachute rather than try to catch the pilot by himself.
    • Also averted in the sequel, when Iron Man is rushing to save Pepper from the exploding Hammer Drones, while he rushes to the rescue at top speed, he conspicuously comes to a near stop before picking her up.
  • Not So Different:
    • In the first film, Stane mocks Stark as he steals the arc reactor in his chest, saying, "You really think that just because you have an idea, it belongs to you??" In the second, Stark chews out a Senate Subcommittee that insists that he is obligated to "Turn over the Iron Man weapon to The American People". However, both times, it backfires because when they do get the suit, they don't have the trial-and-error that went to it or the genius which overcomes technical issues. The lesson here is that Tony didn't just build Iron Man. He IS Iron Man.
    • Tony Stark and Ivan Vanko. Tony even states that if Vanko's father had won the conflict with the elder Stark, and he'd grown-up in a concrete hellhole with his alcoholic old man, he would have done the exact same thing as Vanko.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Tony Stark often acts dimwitted, but shown to be incredibly on the ball, delivering Deadpan Snarker putdowns to people who irritate him and managing to build incredible machines out whatever he has on hand.
  • Oh Crap:
    • "Sir, it appears his suit can fly."
    • "...Icing problem?"
    • When Tony lifts up his hand to take a shot with his repulsor and realizes that there's no glove on it.
    • Justin Hammer (on TV) in 2 when his Iron Man ripoff malfunctions and snaps its pilot's spine.

Hammer: Oh, shit! Oh, shit!

    • Tony gets a good one in the second film, when he discovers Ivan's whips are lethal enough to significantly damage his armour.
    • When one of the Ten Rings leaders is given up to the villagers in order to dispense their own brand of justice. The look on his face suggests that he would have rather had Iron Man blow him up.

Iron Man: He's all yours.

  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Tony Stark seems to be an expert at high-energy physics, materials science, and aerospace engineering all at the same time. Granted, he has an AI to help. Ivan Vanko, however, is a physics genius who manages, completely unassisted, to hack Hammer's entire network in seconds simply by typing at the Windows login screen, build an army of advanced robot soldiers, and control said robots effectively in combat.
    • The Avengers shows Tony becoming a Tesseract expert after just one night of study.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Stark's fire extinguisher robot and Nick Fury. Both have larger roles in the second film.
    • Bill O'Reilly, who makes a surprising cameo as himself in the sequel, commenting on his show about Pepper Potts becoming CEO of Stark Industries. It's much like the segments on his show in real life, but the fact that he's in Iron Man 2 makes it hilarious.
    • The Suitcase Armor. It's used for a little over five minutes and has the living crap beaten out of it, but the activation was so cool that the armor was used on the DVD cover and at the top of this very page.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Tony's not very good at talking to other people about his problems, which leaves everyone around him confused and irritated by his strange behavior while he does things like build a suit of Powered Armor in his basement or slowly die of palladium poisoning.
  • Power Glows: Applied Phlebotinum glows, no matter what it is. The arc reactor, the repulsors, the whips, even the element that Stark synthesized all emit a lot of light.
  • Powered Armor: ...Yes?
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: As with any superhero movie. While the movie is based on the 616 universe, Tony's flippant and sarcastic personality doesn't come from the 616 version of the character but rather from the Ultimate incarnation of the character as written by Mark Millar. Most fans agree it was an excellent decision, as 616 Tony has never really had much of a personality to begin with. Another big change was replacing Jarvis the butler with J.A.R.V.I.S. the AI, which has also been well-received.
  • Product Placement:
    • Audi, especially the R8, is given a huge amount of screen time in the first film. The second one has it as well.
    • Burger King is also worked in, but It Makes Sense in Context: he's been tortured and imprisoned for three months and you can't blame him for wanting an American cheeseburger.
    • Subverted, with a hint of Take That. The Stark Industries logo, which we mostly see emblazoned on missiles being shot by terrorists, is very obviously inspired by the Lockheed Martin logo. Lockheed isn't mentioned in the credits, but Boeing is -- despite more Lockheed stuff than Boeing in the film, and the only Boeing thing being heavily disguised.
    • Database software company Oracle in the second movie. CEO Larry Ellison even makes a cameo as himself.
    • There's also the Sega logos at the expo. Guess who created the video game adaptations of the films?
    • Dr. Pepper appears a few times in the second movie. Once as a can sitting on the table where Natasha and Pepper are working, and later on banners at the Stark Expo (strangely, the logo is not the current one, or even the last one, but the one before that).
    • The glaringly obvious Mountain Dew Vending Machine near the beginning.
    • LG and Verizon during the first movie during Tony's conversation following the missile demonstration (though This Troper forgets the exact model of phone he was using, though it was a recent model as of 2008).
  • Rage Helm: The closure line of the suit's helmet suggests a thin-lipped scowl.
  • Redheaded Hero: Pepper Potts, Natasha Romanov
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Bluntly averted; the advanced technology Tony designs is used for a variety of purposes. The only tech he refuses to release is the Arc Reactor and the Iron Man suit, and that's because he doesn't trust anybody with it -- which is causing friction between Stark and the US Government.
  • The Reliable One: Pepper is this for Tony, naturally.
  • Robot Buddy: Stark's workshop robots.
  • Rule of Cool: Arguably the entire movie. As one science-oriented film reviewer pointed out, his suit should technically start to fall whenever the jets/repulsors aren't pointing straight down to counter gravity's pull, though he seems to have a repulsor on his chestplate that takes up the slack, as well as flaps on the armor that make him a variable-geometry lifting body.
    • His testing in the first movie also illustrates that a very small fraction of his repulsors' thrust capacity are needed to actually counter his weight. Even a very small vertical component of thrust at half or full power should be enough to hold him airborne.
  • Rule of Three: Tony goes through three different suits in the first movie, and three more in the second.
  • Running Gag:
    • The robot buddies, and Tony berating them.
    • From the second film: "Mute."
    • Stan Lee being mistaken for someone else by Tony.
    • Justin Hammer can't speak Russian.
    • Three times in the movies Tony dodges a missile by simply stepping aside, and neutralizes the attacker with his own missile.
      • In the first film he dodges Raza's rocket and manually fires one off from his Mark I suit. Later, in the Mark III, he steps out of the way of a missle from a tank, and (looking irritated if anything) returns fire with a much smaller missle, and then demonstrates proper application of the Unflinching Walk. Finally in the, second movie, Tony's HUD alerts him to a drone about to fire a rocket, and he avoids it by merely leaning to the left a bit. Tony then destroys the drone, and two of its buddies, by firing several small rockets that penetrate the drones' armor, give them just enough time to start to move in on Tony, and then blows them to bits.
    • Throughtout both movies, Tony has a bad habit of messing with other peoples cars.
  • Science Hero: Tony Stark. Also an Action Hero when he's in the Iron Man suit.
  • Send in the Clones: A major motif in the sequel, where different rogue states, corporations and individuals try to create their own, preferably mass-produced Iron Men, with varying success. Foreshadowed in the first movie: Raza, the terrorist leader, asks Obadiah Stane for "a gift of iron soldiers" based on Tony Stark's suit.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Samuel L. Jackson makes an uncredited cameo as Nick Fury after the credits, where he invites Stark to join The Avengers. Also counts as a Mythology Gag, since Ultimate Nick Fury's appearance was originally modeled on Jackson.
    • In the sequel, they almost spend more time setting up other Marvel heroes than what's to come with Iron Man himself. Although it does get a moment where Hammer promises to make Pepper pay.
    • Don't forget Thor's hammer after the credits of the second movie.
    • The first film also has Rhodes spotting the prototype Iron Man suit during the climax, mulling over using it, then decline, saying "Next time, baby."
  • Servile Snarker: Pepper and JARVIS. JARVIS is notable in that he's an AI who's advanced enough to be snarky every now and then.
  • Sexy Secretary: Pepper Potts, and in the sequel, Natasha Romanov becomes this for her.
  • Shirtless Scene: Aplenty. First we have Tony in the first during his “heart change” operation, then Mickey Rourke in the second wearing nothing but underpants and sporting muscles covered in tattoos.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The ring tone Rhodey gets when Tony calls him is the same tune as the hilariously pathetic theme song heard in The Marvel Superheroes.
    • The same music in a big-band arrangement shows up in the background during the Las Vegas sequence.
    • Further, the wireframe CGI credits show an Iron Man suit... with a Gatling gun mounted on the shoulder, which has only ever been on War Machine's suits. It's more of a case of foreshadowing than a Shout-Out. The wire frame stuff in the credits is intended to look like engineering schematics. Suppose Stark is working on the design that will become War Machine? Turns out that particular addition was done by the U.S. Military instead of Stark, which was incredibly unlikely to have been planned all the way back to the first movie, but still, more foreshadowing than shout out.
    • The Attack! Attack! Retreat! Retreat! maneuver that Yinsen caused seconds before being shot is suspiciously similar to a certain scene from Star Wars.
    • The suitcase armor is a double shout out to the comics: Tony Stark did in fact manage to carry his armor around in a suitcase in the 60's, and the coloration is similar to that of the fan-favorite Silver Centurion armor, which was worn during the 80's.
    • The first movie also has shout-outs to former suits. The bulky Mark 1 suit is almost identical to the first suit he wore in the comics. Later, when trying to decide on the color scheme for Mark 3, we see the suit with a gold color scheme and briefly, with a silver and red scheme. The silver and red scheme is another shout out to the Silver Centurion armor. The all-gold color scheme is a look he wore in the 60's.
    • When Justin Hammer dances on stage, his movements look suspiciously like The Dingo Shuffle. He even says "Whoo, come on!" as he gets to the podium. Which may be an Actor Allusion, seeing how Sam Rockwell also played Zaphod Beeblebrox in The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy movie.
    • Vanko pulling open the shirt to reveal the arc reactor and exoskeleton is awfully reminiscient of Superman doing the same to reveal his sigil.
    • That first failed armor shown during the Senate hearing (the Korean one) looks awfully close to a Mad Cat/Timber Wolf from BattleTech.
    • The Iron Man-Iron Monger fight in the first one, and the entirety of the failed armour sequence in the second, are homages to similar scenes in Robocop 2. The director even makes a comment on it on the second film's DVD commentary.
    • Iron Man's suit recycles body waste in a process similar to Fremen stillsuits.
    • When Tony is drunk-piloting his suit, the partygoes first start throwing booze bottles into the air for him to shoot at. Then one of the girls shows up with a whole watermelon. Tony literally shouts out, "I think she wants the Gallagher!"
    • Self proclaimed comic book geek Howard Stern heavily promoted the first Iron Man film on his radio show, even interviewing director and casual friend Jon Favreau. In an interview on one of Stern's satellite radio channels during the promotion of Iron Man 2, Favreau confirmed that the foul mouthed Senator Stern from Iron Man 2 was in fact a shout out to his friend, the foul mouthed nonsenator Howard Stern.
    • In the novelisation, some of the proposed names for the to-be War Machine include Terminator, Silver Surfer and Captain America (comics).
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Take a look at the War Machine armor in the Iron Man 2 trailer and promo materials: not only is it painted in the same "Compass Ghost" colors as are standard for Air Force fighters today, but it carries full, correct Air Force markings in the proper low-visibility colors, including:
      • An Air Combat Command badge, just above the elbow.
      • Proper tailcode on the shoulder--ED: Edwards AFB, 412th Test Wing; 445 FLTS, 445th Flight Test Squadron.
      • Aircraft serial number AF10-001 on the side, just above the waist (First USAF aircraft purchased in Fiscal Year 2010).
    • Aside from the suits, Rourke went to Russia to learn about his role, including which prison tats Vanko should have...by going to Russian prisons. One of the most notable being the star that Vanko has on his right hand: very accurate, with each point of the star symbolizing a year he spent in prison.
  • Smart House: JARVIS.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Not "dissonance" per se, but the lyrics to the Black Sabbath song featured so heavily have absolutely nothing to do with the plot, character, or movie. But... who cares? The vocals are actually missing from the song played at that point, anyway.
    • Was it even possible for the song NOT to be there? However, it'd much better fit into the scene when Tony walks out of the cave in his first suit.
  • Stan Winston: The genius behind the creation of Tony's battlesuits in the movies.
  • Staring Kid: When Tony takes his suit for a test flight for the first time, the first person to spot him is a little kid on a Ferris wheel. Bonus Points for the dropped ice cream cone. In the second film, the kid in the Iron Man costume who stands up to a "Hammeroid."
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky: Stark.
  • Technology Porn: It's practically the trope namer. From Tony's house (with its near-sentient AI, touch-based control panels on everything, robotic arms doing every little thing, and his holographic workstation complete with motion-sensitive schematics that can respond in real time to objects placed within its boundaries in full three dimensions) to the Iron Man armor itself (tons of shifting, locking mechanisms and a prep bay with all the pieces coming out of the floor and ceiling to effortlessly suit him up for battle), you'd be lying to say you wouldn't want to be Tony Stark for a day.
    • This is technoporn equivalent to Satoshi Urushihara.
  • Tech Tree: The development of the Iron Man armor in relation to its various spinoffs.
    • In Iron Man both Tony and Stane work off of the Mk I armor Tony used to escape captivity, yet the two armors are wildly different. Tony developed Mk II as a flight suit first and a weapon second, while Stane's armor was developed primarily as a tank-like weapon with limited flight capabilities. Two different approaches to the same basic framework.
    • In Iron Man II we see the Air Force develop on Tony's Mk II armor. While Tony's Mk III armor was the Mk II armor made with a material better for flight and with compact weaponry, the Air Force's take on it adds several guns to the ensemble.
  • Ted Baxter: Justin Hammer.
  • The Stinger: In both movies. The first had the well-known appearance of Nick Fury. The second showed the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who left Tony for a trip to New Mexico find what he was looking for - a crater, with The Mighty Thor's hammer beside it, saying 'We found it'.
  • Three-Point Landing: Iron Man does it whenever he lands at high speed, seen in both movies, first in Gulmira and then at the Stark Expo. This is to be expected, as it's Iron Man's trademark pose.
    • Black Widow does it deliciously.
    • Averted with the Hammer Drones, which land in a standing posture. Presumably, having a good dozen Three Point Landings in a row would diminish the drama.
  • Throw It In:
    • The actor who played Raza, trying to avoid the stereotype of the Middle Eastern terrorist and invoke the, for lack of a better term, multiculturalism of the Ten Rings, used more than one language other than English and even varied his accent a little.
    • Robert Downey, Jr.'s dialogue was heavily improvised, which was intentional to help make his character seem relatively One of Us, even if he is a Fiction 500 charter member.
    • Mickey Rourke evidently demanded his character have a bird.
    • In many ways part of the style of directing used in the films, with other instances being the little dance Hammer does at the beginning of his presentation and "too disco".
  • Twenty Minutes Into the Future: The first HUD shot places the movie in at least 2010. The second film, released in 2010, also takes place in 2010, six months after the first movie.
  • Unflinching Walk:
  • Vanity License Plate: Tony's various cars have license plates reading STARK 1 through at least STARK 6 STARK 11 as of Iron Man 2.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: Exuberantly and without shame. In the second film, his tactile holographic interface even has a minigame built into it. Like so much else, attributable to Rule of Cool. Probably justified if it's run by Jarvis, since he's obviously sentient and could interpret what Stark wants to do with his holographic shapes.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: JARVIS
    • Internet Connection With A Voice?
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • TONY STARK WAS ABLE TO BUILD THIS IN A...!!
    • Justin Hammer has his breakdown when he realizes Vanko managed to outwit him (and cost him a lucrative government contract in the process).
  • Weaponized Exhaust: Essentially the primary weapon of the Mk. II on up.
  • The Wonka: Tony Stark, in addition to creating the Iron Man suits, has also built AI's that snark back at him.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Both movies had Tony's suit weakened before the final battle. The first movie Tony's second ARC reactor was stolen, leaving him with his weaker original model to power his Mk.III armor. Justified since Tony wasn't aware of Obadiah's treachery and only built one new reactor. The second movie has all existing suits fitted with their own reactor, but Tony and Rhodey struggled with Whiplash because Tony had used his one-time lasers, which weren't mentioned until then, in the new Mk. VI to finish off the drones. Aside from that Tony was wearing the apparently weaker "briefcase" armor when dealing with Vanko for the first time, was drunk the first time he fought Rhodes/War Machine, and was reluctant to fight his friend later when Rhodes' armor was hacked by Vanko.
  • World of Badass: Oh, HELL YEAH! The first Iron Man movie was amazingly badass by itself, but then once the movie ended and we thought it couldn't get any more badass, during the post-credits scene Nick Fury shows up played by Samuel L. Jackson and announces that Tony will soon be meeting up with OTHER Marvel heroes, marking the beginning of the first shared cinematic universe of superheroes, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which naturally has ended up being astoundingly badass.

The First Movie[edit | hide]

  • Actor Allusion: Not the first time he's buzzed somebody.
    • When Tony tells Colonel Rhodes, "Looks like someone did your job for you" referencing his earlier role in "The Brave One".
    • There's something strangely familiar about Obadiah shooting the glass out from under Tony. (It's even round and segmented.)
  • Almost Kiss: Tony and Pepper during the Stark charity event.
  • Alone in a Crowd: After Obadiah reveals that he had the board file an injunction (A legal order restricting Tony's power over Stark Industries) against Tony.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Obadiah is a Hebrew name and one that's pretty rare in the United States.
    • Depends on where you live. It wouldn't be too unusual a name in a lot of rural areas, especially in the eastern part of the country.
  • Are These Wires Important?: Tony does this to Iron Monger.
  • Attack! Attack! Retreat! Retreat!: Yinsen does this to some Ten Rings terrorists shortly before he gets shot.
  • Bald of Evil: Obadiah Stane's cueball head. Ditto Raza, the terrorist leader
  • Beat Still My Heart: A variation. Obadiah toys with Tony's new arc reactor right in front of him after yanking it out. It wasn't actually his heart, but the reactor kept his heart from failing.
  • Big Bad: The leader of the Ten Rings, Raza is set up to be this, but it turns out he was only The Dragon for Obediah Stane, who was Evil All Along.
  • Bilingual Bonus: If you spoke Urdu, you found out Stane was behind Tony's kidnapping an hour before Pepper translates the ransom tape.
  • Black Market: Stane and the Ten Rings organization have been in the weapons trade for some time behind Tony's back. Part of why Stane wants Tony dead so he can do this over the table, though his plans change when the Iron Man Mk. 1 armor is recovered.
  • Brick Joke: In-Universe: The first thing Rhodey says to Tony after the latter has just escaped from spending 3 months in captivity is call-back to the last thing Tony said to him before being captured.

Rhodey: How was the fun-vee?

  • Bullying a Dragon: Stane at the end of the movie is bragging about how his suit is "more advanced in every way." He is actually dominating the fight, but he still has to work for it and it isn't easy, especially given that he loses eventually. Now...consider that the Iron Man armor was operating only at a fraction of its power and pacing itself because of operating on the obsolete power core. Iron Man at full power and the Iron Monger would have had pretty much NO chance.
  • The Cameo: Post-credits Nick Fury appears as portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson. Also doubles as a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Car Cushion: The Mark II's test flight ends in this.
    • What makes it funny is that his test flight went just fine (save for some difficulty at high altitudes). He had returned to his home not really any worse for wear and was trying to gently land on his roof...but then finds out his armor was too heavy and crashes through three floors, landing on his convertible.
      • Still, those floors would have had to be incredibly weak to collapse from mere weight. As if they were weakened by unprotected chemical spills in the past. It seems this isn't the first time Tony's experiments have taken a toll on the architecture.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: After building his Iron Man suit, Tony understands that its power must be used to help people and begins an arduous transition from a glorified douchebag Arms Dealer to humanitarian hero and champion of world peace.
  • Dance of Romance: Tony only notices Pepper romantically when he gets her out onto the dance floor.
  • Deadly Nosebleed: The hand-held paralyzer causes these.
  • Den of Iniquity: Tony's jet is a PG-rated version, complete with drinks, stripper pole and lascivious dancers.
  • Double Edged Answer:

Soldier: Is it true that you went twelve-for-twelve with last year's Maxim cover models?
Tony Stark: That is an excellent question. Yes and no. March and I had a scheduling conflict but fortunately the Christmas cover was twins.

Stane:I have to admit, I'm deeply enjoying the suit!

  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Combines with Fridge Logic. Yinsen had one of these when, in his last moments, he compelled Tony to not waste his life. Yinsen did this in what was, for him, a foreign language. Hard enough to speak at all when you're dying, but he spoke in one besides his mother tongue.
  • Emotionless Boy: Agent Coulson, or at least he puts on a good show of it.
  • Five Rounds Rapid: When Iron Monger powers up in the midst of them, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents immediately all start shooting at it with their sidearms. Needless to say, they get owned in short order.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The running gag about the government agency with the overly long name... which they eventually shorten to S.H.I.E.L.D. It's hard to catch the acronym the first few times.
    • Not much if you read the comics frequently.
  • Gilligan Cut: In the words of Riff Trax, "This movie has more wacky cuts than Gilligan's Island!"
  • Going Critical: Just as the trope description says, calling anything a reactor is a sheer sign that it's going to blow up before the movie's done. Stark Industries is powered by an Arc Reactor. In the climax, guess what it does.
  • Heel Face Turn: Tony sums up his new change in direction to Obadiah when he chews him out for shutting down the weapons enterprise of Stark Industries;

Tony: We're not doing good enough, we can do better, we can do something else.

  • Hero for a Day: The villain powers his own version of the power suit by stealing Stark's portable generator, leaving Stark literally powerless for a short while.
  • Hey, Wait!: "Is that today's paper?" This is a subversion of the trope. Obadiah suspects Pepper is up to something the moment he enters the office. He only asks for the paper because he (correctly) thinks she's hiding something in it. He doesn't care about the paper, he throws it down onto the desk as soon as she leaves.
  • Hollywood Science: Lampshaded in the first film (Sir, the technology we need doesn't exist)
  • How Do I Shot Web?: The first half of the film is basically Tony trying to figure out how to fly. The Mark I armor doesn't so much fly as rocket skyward and then fall, and after building his boot jets for the Mark II armor, Tony invents the repulsors to act as flight stabilizers. And then after that, there's the icing problem.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: The Ten Rings terrorists waffle between proper trigger discipline while lounging around their base to rather stark disregard for gun safety during their video transmission of their demands.
  • Icarus Allusion: Tony flies toward the moon, causing a buildup of ice on his suit. He later solves this problem and uses it to his advantage against an enemy.
  • Impossible Task Instantly Accomplished: Tony Stark is captured by would-be conquerors, and forced to build a Jericho Missile, which he designed, within a week or so. Within that week, he instead designs a miniature Arc Reactor, builds it. Then over the course of three months, he designs a suit of Powered Armor, builds it, and escapes. Just in time, just as the terrorists grow suspicious.
  • Improv: According to Jeff Bridges, there was no script; the entire movie was improvised. Bridges said he had problems getting his head around this style of film making until he told himself to think of it as "a $200 million student film". In an interview, director Jon Favreau confirmed that there was no completed script, and wrote and rewrote many scenes during production. Also while most of the dialogue scenes were improvised, the action scenes were thoroughly planned out. Lastly, all of the changes got approval by Marvel studio executives along the way.
  • Join or Die: This is how the Ten Rings recruits. They attack villages and either kill or capture the men. Then, they take their women and children to an unknown location where they're used as collateral. The men are asked to join them, with their families' lives, as well as their own, on their line if they refuse. This is Truth in Television for many terrorist groups and militaristic regimes.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Tony's little speech about the "realities" of being a superhero right before his press conference at the end.
  • Literal Change of Heart: Sort of. Getting the arc generator put in Tony's chest symbolically represents his assumption of the role of Iron Man.
  • Living Legend: Tony's jealous of his own coverage and outs himself as The Iron Man.
  • Look Ma, No Plane: The first movie has an example of the "fight military aircraft" version.
  • Made of Titanium: Literally. The Iron Man Powered Armor is made of a "gold-titanium alloy". Why? To correct a design flaw that the previous iteration's steel casing had that only manifests in specific circumstances... and because he can.
  • Magical Database: Variant; when Pepper Potts is hacking the Stark Industries mainframe from Stark's office computer (and at his request), she instantly translates the soundtrack of a foreign language video into (appropriately accented!) English by typing in "Translate" on the video viewer's window. Sort of a case of Shown Their Work - New Scientist checked up the plausibility of this and found that there are programs in development that can pretty much do the same thing (if not quite so smoothly just yet). No excuse for the accent, though.
  • Meta Casting:
    • Robert Downey, Jr. was cast almost specifically because he is a gifted actor with drugs problems in the past. He's portraying a gifted scientist and businessman who can never seem to put the bottle down.
    • Jeff Bridges is also a great choice to play the villain, because it's a role he doesn't normally play. He comes across as friendly and likeable, albeit a bit of a smooth talker. And when we learn he was behind everything, we empathize with the betrayal Tony is feeling, because we're feeling it as well.
  • Mini-Mecha: Iron Monger is more this than a suit.
  • Mook Horror Show: The Mk I storming out of the Ten Rings camp.
  • Mythology Gag: The first suit of armor Tony builds looks very similar to Iron Man's original appearance in the comics.
    • The "bodyguard" excuse at the end of the movie is taken from the story used in the early comics by Tony to explain why Iron Man was always hanging around Stark Enterprises (and Tony in particular).
    • The lead F-22 Raptor pilot's callsign is "Whiplash One", and Whiplash became the villain in the sequel.
  • Newscaster Cameo: One scene features a segment of Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" television show, warning about the sudden drop in the price of Stark Enterprises stock.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Iron Man unintentionally causes the destruction of an Air Force F-22 that attempted to intercept him (before they knew he was a good guy). Also, he helped to design and build many of the weapons being used by the Ten Rings (and presumably the Taliban, though that much is never stated in the first film).
  • Noodle Incident: "Let's face it, this is not the worst thing you've caught me doing."
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Subverted and avoided in every way the writers could think of. The first suit and its plans are recovered and used as a basis for Stane's. Stark has two functional suits in his house, and the facilities to build a new one from scratch in five hours... Except one. If not for Pepper's leaving the original mini-Arc Reactor as a gift to Tony, Obadiah would have successfully left Tony for dead.
  • Not a Game: Rhodey says something to this extent to Tony during their phone conversation while Tony is in the middle of evading a pair of F-22 Raptors over Gulmira.
  • Not Quite Dead: Obadiah
  • Oh Crap: Obadiah's reaction when Tony points out the following design flaw.

Tony: Tell me, how did you manage to fix the icing problem?
Obadiah: Icing problem?! *Suit cuts out*
Tony: *Smugly* Might want to look into it!

  • Operation Game of Doom: When Pepper had to help Tony change out his nuclear pacemaker, though it wasn't played completely straight.
  • Overly Long Name: the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division. Fans of the comic would know it better as S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Pillar of Light: When the big arc reactor blows
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "My turn."
    • Later, attempted with: "Your services are no longer required."
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: There was a scene planned for the climax of the first film where Iron Man drives his Audi into Iron Monger, where it flips and he breaks the roof in half and jumps out. The effects team found that A) the car was too well-engineered to flip, and B) the roof was too difficult to cut through. The entire scene was scrapped. Yes, that's right, the Product Placement car was (in a sense) Too Awesome to Use.
    • The unfinished version of this scene can be found on the DVD and, hilariously enough, it references the above flaw: the first thing Tony says to Rhodes is "Did you flip it?", to which Rhodey incredulously responds "No I didn't flip it!"
  • The Reveal Prompts Romance: Lampshaded, but averted.
  • Rule of Funny: Most of the Amusing Injuries Tony gets when testing the suit.
  • Samus Is a Girl: "Good God, you're a woman!"
  • Sarcasm Mode: Whatever the verbal equivalent is, Obadiah hit it right on the mark.

Obadiah: "Well, that, uh... That went well."

  • Saved for the Sequel: Rhodey looks at the silver prototype Iron Man suit and says, "Next time, baby."
  • Save the Villain: A deleted scene shows Tony trying to save Obadiah after their suits have been disabled.
  • Schematized Prop: Multiple times within the film, including a significant portion of the closing credits.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Pepper's dress at a party. She feels distinctly uncomfortable in it, to say nothing of the fact that she forgot to put on deodorant and is dancing with her boss in front of a lot of her co-workers.
  • Sexy Stewardess: Tony's private flight attendants double as go-go dancers.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Christine Everhart and Tony do the argument version by use of a quick cut from one scene to the next.

Christine: Have you ever lost an hour of sleep in your life!?
Tony: I'd be prepared to lose a few with you.

  • Slut Shaming: See Pepper's Stealth Insult.
    • Alternately, Pepper's jab was retaliation for Christine's snobby attitude, not necessarily a dig at her sexuality.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Backgammon variant, in the cave. Using scraps, presumably from a box.
  • Stealth Insult: Pepper delivers a wonderful one to Christine early on.

Pepper: I do anything and everything Mr. Stark requires. Including, occasionally, taking out the trash.

  • Tempting Fate: Pepper comments that she expected Obadiah's suit (actually Tony's recovered MK I) to be bigger. Oh, how right she was.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: The Ten Rings organization seems to be this, though maybe we just don't know their cause yet.
  • Throwing Out the Script: At the end of the movie, Tony Stark and S.H.I.E.L.D. had earlier come up with a cover story that Tony was supposed to give at the press conference. After a few questions from a skeptical press, Tony decides to just tell the truth: "I am Iron Man."
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Good job, Paramount marketing. You put your biggest movie of the summer on heavy trailer rotation for a clean month before the US release, allowing a lot of people to figure out many of the plot elements.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Obadiah Stane, a major early villain from the comics, is retooled as having co-founded Stark Industries with Tony's dad, then serves as a mentor to Tony and the second-in-command of his company when the elder Stark dies and Tony inherits the company. Naturally, this being an adaptation, Obadiah turns out to be more villainous than he lets on.
  • Twist Ending: Sort of. Most superhero movies end with the hero's Secret Identity intact, but at the end of the first film, Stark reveals it to the world. This is even after the comic book "bodyguard" explanation is devised as a cover... which is then torn apart by another character who remarks on how ridiculous it is. Considering Stark's humanitarian ways, this makes a great deal of sense.
  • The War on Terror: Part of the movie is set in Afghanistan as the American military battles guerrilla fighters hiding out in caves, obviously influenced by the War on Terror. However, the antagonists have been changed from Afghan Islamic extremists to a multinational, multilingual, foreign militia called the Ten Rings. The Ten Rings has no explicit religion and a more generic "take over the world" raison d'etre.
  • Western Terrorists: The movie initially seems to try to have an evil terrorist organization in Afghanistan, albeit not one that actually exists. Nevertheless, the real bad guy is the Western Corrupt Corporate Executive who was using them and kills them off rather easily when it's convenient.
  • Wham! Line: The ending. "Truth is... I am Iron Man."

Nick Fury: I want to talk to you about the Avenger Initiative.

  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Stane drinking whiskey. He drinks the shit out of it, too!
  • What the Hell, Hero?: A variation, as Tony calls Pepper out for walking out now that he wants to protect everyone he's put in danger, whereas before she had no problem with his reaping the benefits of destruction.
  • What the Hell, Townspeople?: A little bit. Iron Man saves a mother and kids driving a car from being used by Stayne as a giant hitting tool. Her responce? She tries to run him down into the concrete while she and the children scream in an annoying fashion.


The Second Movie[edit | hide]

Rhodey: Yeah, it's called being a badass.

Tony: Hammer tech?
Rhodey: (disgusted nod) Yeah...

Ivan: "What your father did to my family over 40 years I'll do to you in 40 minutes!"

    • Tony gets one when he appears before the Senate Committee.

Tony Stark: "I have successfully privatized world peace."

Tony: I'm not saying that the world is enjoying it's longest period of uninterrupted peace in years because of me. I'm not saying that from the ASHES! OF CAPTIVITY!... never has a greater Phoenix metaphor been personified in human history. I'm not saying that Uncle Sam can kick back on a lawn chair, sippin' on an iced tea, because I haven't come across anyone who's man enough to go toe-to-toe with me on my best day!

  • Bash Brothers: Iron Man and War Machine
  • Beam-O-War: When drunk Stark and Rhodey face off. It explodes in their face. They later use it to beat Ivan.
  • Big Entrance: Tony lands stylishly at the site of his Stark Expo in his Iron Man suit to the cheers of many admirers after skydiving out of his personal carrier. For added effect, he's surrounded by a group of Rockettes-esque women in garb meant to resemble his armor who are performing the Can-Can.
    • Whiplash also has one, during a Formula One race in order to attack Tony, who is driving one of the said cars.
  • BFG: Overtly, War Machine with his shoulder mounted minigun, but as Tony points out:

Tony: You have a big gun, you're not the big gun

  • Big Bad Wannabe: Hammer is one of the most obvious examples of the trope.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Whatever Vanko is really saying to Hammer must surely count as this. As well as Natalie's statement in Latin. During the scene in which Hammer is yelling at Vanko for taking so long with his work, the Russian simply smirks and says in his native tongue, "You talk too much." To Rourke's credit, his accent is fairly decent (when he isn't mumbling). Vanko's line Tvoy soft govno ("Your software is shit"), uttered when he easily breaks into Hammer's computers, has even undergone mild Memetic Mutation among Russian software workers.
  • Boogie Knights: Drunk Tony in full armor.
  • Boxing Lessons For Iron Man: In the sequel, we see that Tony has been teaching himself how to box. It comes in handy later: on one occasion, he's able to outfight Rhodey (who is military-trained but not used to movement in Powered Armor) with Good Old Fisticuffs and on another, he beats down drones with his bare, er, well iron hands.
  • Brick Joke: "He should be giving me a medal!"
    • Justin Hammer's line suggesting that Pepper and the Expo computer technician recover the hijacked drones, which all communicate in unique languages, by trying Russian. An entire battle scene later, he's seen saying, "I told you that five minutes ago!"
    • Happy chides Tony for "dirty boxing" during their workout. Later, when fighting a guard at Hammer Industries, Happy gains the upper hand by biting his ear, Tyson-style.
    • Hell, this even happens during the first few minutes of the film. Listen to the snippets of news audio playing in the background during Ivan Vanko's "Training Montage". It's the end of the first Iron Man, during which Tony reveals to the world that he is Iron Man and the events that follow.
  • Broken Pedestal: In-universe, Whiplash sets out to invoke this trope among the public regarding Iron Man.

Ivan Vanko: If you could make God bleed, people will cease to believe in Him.

  • But Not Too White: If you look closely at Justin Hammer's palms, you'll notice that they are bright orange. Apparently Justin was a little overzealous with the fake-n-bake and forgot to wash his hands afterwards.
  • Butt Monkey: Poor Hogan. If only he was in Die Hard rather than a superhero movie...
  • Call Back: Perhaps unintentional. In Iron Man 1, Tony (a rich man) was captured by a terrorist group and forced to build weapons for them. In This film, Ivan Vanko (a poor man) is captured by a wealthy company and forced to build weapons for them. Both groups of captors learned their mistake.
  • Camera Abuse: When Tony shows the Senate Committee other countries' attempts at creating their own Iron Man suits, one camera man is accidentally shot by a malfunctioning suit in North Korea. One in Iran is hit by a crashing suit as it skids along the ground.
  • Car Fu: Hogan during Vanko's attack on Tony at the track. Sadly, his Car Fu is weak, but it buys Tony enough time to suit up.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: After putting a new, powerful, untested element into his arc reactor-heart and having a bright light fill the room ominously, the ensuing effects only cause Tony to remark that he tastes "coconut and metal".
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: The Black Widow. She's not a mutant, or an alien, or a robot, but her ability to kick ass is simply superhuman.
    • The film's a bit unclear as to which version of the Black Widow this is, so this isn't certain (some comic versions had undergone a biotech upgrade).
  • Chekhov's Gun: Howard Stark and Anton Vanko created the Arc Reactor, their blueprints for said technology allowed their sons to create miniaturised versions.
    • Howard also left hidden plans for a new element to power the Arc reactor in the layout of the Stark Expo, knowing he was limited by the technology of his era but that Tony would have the means to make it work.
    • Also, when Tony is going through Howard's notebooks, a tesseract (the four dimensional equivalent of a cube) is seen in the notes. This is the same object used as a power source by the Red Skull, and later recovered by Howard in Captain America: The First Avenger. Captain America wasn't released until a year later, making this also something of a Call Forward.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The feedback from two repulsor blasts hitting each other packs one hell of a punch.
    • Another, more villainous example is Ivan's computer hacking skills.
    • Natasha Romanoff's martial arts skills also come in handy.
  • Cherry Tapping: Black Widow pepper sprays the last guard after a rather awesome fight sequence.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: For all his villainous aspirations, Justin Hammer is just plain weird.
  • The Comically Serious: The tough, thuggish Ivan gives the brief and subtle yet highly amusing appearance of a Fish Out of Water while joining Justin Hammer for an expensive, five-star meal.
  • Compensating for Something: What Tony thinks about all the guns strapped on the War Machine armor.
  • Composite Character: Ivan Vanko is actually a fusion of two different Iron Man villains, Whiplash and the Crimson Dynamo. It also helps that the currect comic Whiplash and the original Crimson Dynamo shared the last name Vanko.
  • Compressed Hair: Played straight during the Stark Expo intro. Lampshaded in the novelization.
  • Continuity Nod: During the final conversation between Tony and Nick Fury, a monitor displays a reporter doing live coverage of a "Crisis at Culver University." This is a reference to the Hulk's rampage about midway through The Incredible Hulk. The scene also establishes the relative timeframe of the two movies: it shows Stark accepting a job as a S.H.I.E.L.D. consultant, in which capacity he appears in the final scene of The Incredible Hulk.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Because it would have been really anticlimactic if War Machine's "Ex-Wife" missile killed Whiplash in one shot. It does work in the novelization, though.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The Iron Man suits are capable of flight and have extensive ranged weaponry, and so should be able to completely own Whiplash, who only uses his plasma whips with a range of maybe 3 meters. Naturally, circumstances in the movie force Tony to fight Vanko on the ground in melee range.
  • Could Say It, But...: The "I'm not saying..." speech.
  • Media Research Failure: A ridiculous number of reviews refer to Scarlett Johansson's character as "Natalie Rushman," the false identity she uses when she first appears in the film. Understandable if the reviewer is attempting to avoid spoiling the character's true identity (thought neither the movie's advertising campaign nor the movie itself are particularly subtle about it) but somewhat clueless in reviews that go on to identify her as the Black Widow. Moviefone calling her "Natasha Rushman" didn't help.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Ivan Vanko.
    • Though technically Tony didn't create him, his father did. Still counts.
  • Crossing the Burnt Bridge: A good chunk of the end of the movie is taken up by Tony trying to repent for his assholish behavior from when he was dying.
  • Crowd Panic: The result of the attack at the Expo. Rather well done in the regard that the matter of having to evacuate a huge, displaced crowd is followed up on later.
  • Crying Little Kid: He isn't crying, but a lone child finds himself in the path of a Hammer Drone and needs to be rescued by Stark.
  • Curb Stomp Battle:
    • Those Mooks didn't stand a chance against Black Widow.
    • Neither did the Hammer drones.
  • Dead Man Writing: Howard Stark to Tony in the sequel. On film.
  • Defector From Commie Land: Anton Vanko, who was sent back to the USSR after falling out with Howard Stark.
  • Mr. Alt Disney: Howard Stark's portrayed in a style very similar to Walt Disney's futurist years. They even got one of the Sherman Brothers to write the theme music for the old Stark Expo.
    • It gets even better: after Walt's death rumors began circulating, an urban legend says he made a series of films giving instructions on the direction to take the company in the future. And Tony's dad gives him the key to saving his life and the day in a film made before his death.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Black Widow changing clothes in the back of a car nearly causes a crash.
    • Also happened during the filming: when Scarlett Johansson first appeared in the Black Widow catsuit in the Randy's Donuts scene, Jon Favreau famously tweeted that "he'd never seen such a quiet film crew before".
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: When Iron Man charges up his one-use laser weapon, the emitters make a sound reminiscent of a shotgun cocking.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: In Iron Man 2, Tony, who is dying, decides to get absolutely plastered at his birthday party. It does not end well.
  • Dull Surprise: A common criticism of Scarlett Johansson's acting. To be fair, her character is supposed to be emotionally withdrawn because she's an undercover spy who doesn't want to expose her feelings.
  • Eureka Moment: While trying to perfect the arc reactor in 2, Tony suddenly finds inspiration in his father's miniature model of the first Stark Expo. Of course, his dad did that quite on purpose during the video he left behind for Tony.

Howard Stark: This is the key to the future, Tony.
Camera cut to the City of the Future
Camera cut to the Unisphere
Camera cut to a prototype arc reactor

    • It seems that they did some research on the missing element. The element in question (118) does exist as "Ununoctium" though it is radioactive and only lasts for a very short time before decaying. It can only be synthesized with the help of a particle accelerator.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Sickeningly averted by the Hammer weapon test video shown at the Senate.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: A gender-flipped version. Ivan Vanko, while bitter towards Tony, is perfectly willing to just quietly take care of his invalid father. But then his father dies...
  • Exact Words: Hammer tells Vanko that the drones better steal the show. They do just that, right out of Hammer's hands
    • In that very scene there's a small version of it between Hammer and Vanko.

Hammer to Vanko about his bird / Vanko to Hammer about suits: "You shouldn't focus on material things. Learn to let things go."

"Watch the road."

  • Faux Affably Evil: Ivan Vanko. One can't help but chuckle at the casual, almost friendly way he talks as he threatens Tony over the phone.

Ivan: Hey, Tony! How you doin? Heh heh. I double cycle.
Tony: What?
Ivan: You told me 'double cycle, more power'...Good advice.
Tony: You sound pretty sprightly for a dead guy.
Ivan: You too....Ha ha!

  • Finishing Move: See Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • Fling a Light Into the Future: Limited by the technology of his time, Howard Stark leaves behind a projector reel and a model town that is secretly a blueprint for the new element needed to perfect the arc reactor
  • Follow the Leader: In-universe, what several companies/countries are trying to do in response to the Iron Man suit's existence.
  • Forbidden Chekhov's Gun: When Tony and Rhodey's repulsors intersect during a fight, they create an explosion. Used to beat Vanko in the end.
  • Foreshadowing: Before even the Thor stinger, we get a hint about the Cosmic Cube. Note the Tesseract in the various archive notes from Tony's father that he pages through.
    • Before The Reveal about her identity (not that it was a surprise to comic readers or... well, anyone who just saw the freakin' trailer) "Natalie" is given an early allusion as to her true role. When Tony and Rhodey are fighting in the mansion and burst from the ceiling, Pepper screams and cringes in horror. "Natalie" takes an Asskicking Pose.
      • This is well after the scene where she beats Happy Hogan in the ring, mind you. As we learn later on, that's not so hard.
  • Formula One: That Monaco race Tony entered? It's a real event. Some of the cars shown are not actual F1s, though, particularly the ones that are destroyed.
    • The track has been used in multiple Gran Turismo games. Fans of the series undoubtably know where Stark is on the track if they're familiar enough with Cote d'Azur.
  • For Science!: It seemed Howard Stark earnestly wanted the Arc reactor to help benefit mankind and not "to shut the hippies up" as Stane claimed in the first movie.
    • He notably also had Anton Vanko deported for wanting to cash in on the technology.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: 360 degree laser attack for the win.
    • "It's a one-use weapon".
    • Rhodes and Tony beat Vanko with simple-but-effective double laser beams from them both firing one at him at the same time.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: As mentioned in Foreshadowing... During the Ironman/War Machine fight at the party, watch Pepper and Natalie. When the armored suits crash through the floor, Pepper screams and flinches, Natalie drops into a combat stance.
    • Another example at around 1:13:55. Take a look at the image on the right page of the book Tony is thumbing through. A three dimensional square within a three dimensional square. Otherwise known as a Tesseract. Seems the Ark Reactor may be based off reasearch on the Cosmic Cube
  • Gatling Good: War Machine in 2. Gatling fantastic. Sadly, they got the noise wrong - yet again. Imagine how much more awesome the fight scenes would have been if War Machine had been making this sound.
  • Genius Bruiser: Ivan Vanko. Plain and simple. Capable of taking a few car hits to a torso without the benefit of power armor, though his Whiplash suit probably did some of that[4]. Neck snaps opponents with practiced ease, and hangs his two guards to retrieve his bird. He also survived fifteen years in a Russian prison and is tattooed like an Ultranationalist. He can also build high tech gear with about the same level of stuff Tony had in the cave and can tell a rich CEO to his face that his computer systems are shit... because he hacked himself administrator privileges in about ten seconds.
  • Genre Blindness: When the Hammer Drones begin flashing and beeping in an increasingly high pitch Pepper just stands there watching one with a confused look. Inverted with Tony and Rhodes, who immediately knew what was coming and acted quickly in response
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: As Tony leaves Vanko's cell in Monaco, he snarks that "I'll send you a bar of soap." Hmm, now why would Tony want Vanko to have...oh right.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Of a sort. Rhodey spends the first half of the film trying to get Tony back on duty, because he doesn't want the military barging in and taking the suits. When Tony starts carelessly blasting things while drunk, though, he immediately takes the Mark II armor to stop Tony by force, and keeps it after that.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Ivan has the traditional scar down his eye.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Vanko and Hammer's guards.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Even though he's wealthy like Tony, Justin Hammer definitly envies Tony's talent and success. His technology throughout the film is described as a joke and a failed knock-off of Stark's. His jealousy is even shown when he's talking to Stark or mentioning him. Heck most of his motivation in the film is to upstage Stark.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In the second film's novelisation, Tony does this with some Hammer Drones using parts from other Hammer Drones.
  • Groin Attack: This is employed by Black Widow on a Hammer security guard.
  • Gundamjack: Rhodes jacks the Mk. II Armor from Tony's house and takes it to the U.S. military for study. Notably, Black Widow points out that the suits can only be activated by an authorized user, meaning Tony intentionally gave Rhodes access before the drunken party.
  • Hammerspace: We all love the Mark V suitcase suit, but let's face it, this is where it really comes from. There's no way that suit could fold down into a suitcase-sized package that's light enough to carry in one hand.
  • Hauled Before a Senate Subcommittee: In the second film, because Tony's not sharing his Iron Man tech with the military. One of the senators has a valid reason (when he's not in it to profit America) - Tony's being an irresponsible jackass.
    • It's more like he's using a valid reason to try and take whatever he can in order to profit America.
  • Heroic BSOD: Tony goes into one in the sequel, due to him suffering a slow death due to Palladium contamination. It culminates into him throwing a party, completely drunk, while in his Iron Man armor.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Played with. Stark and Rhodes actually discuss tactics in the moments leading up to the Hammer Drone attack in the garden, including taking the high ground, making use of cover, and avoiding the "kill box" in the middle of the garden. Unfortunately, they get distracted arguing over who's the bigger gun, leaving them right in the middle of said kill box when the Hammer Drones finally arrive a few seconds into their argument. They manage to do all right, though, although it does force Stark to use up his best weapon before fighting Whiplash.
  • Husky Russkie: Ivan Vanko, aka Whiplash, a Russian scientist with a grudge against Tony Stark, played by Mickey Rourke.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: Inverted. When Nick Fury is listing all the things in Stark's personality that made him illegible for the Avengers group, Stark denies every single one up to "Textbook Narcissism", to which he ultimately agrees with Fury on that one.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • Rhodey pulls one on Tony and Pepper in the second film.

Rhodey: Get a roof.
Tony: I thought you said you were out of one liners.

    • Tony gets one in himself, earlier:

Pepper: Are you Googling her [Natasha]?
Tony: Googling? I thought I was ogling her.

  • Incredibly Obvious Bomb: The Hammer Drones become these.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Justin Hammer, though more "ineffectual" (and humorous) than "sympathetic"
  • Infant Immortality: Did anyone really think that hammer drone would kill that kid?
  • In-Series Nickname: "Hammeroids". Near-ubiquitous among fans, but it was used by Tony first.
    • Hammer claims the 7.62mm 6-barrel minigun that ends up integrated with the War Machine suit is known to the US soldiers who use them as, alternately, Uncle Gazpacho or "Puff the Magic Dragon". (He was half-right here: The AC-47 gunship, a Vietnam-era ground-support aircraft fitted with several such miniguns for More Dakka, was nicknamed "Puff the Magic Dragon" for the hail of tracer rounds it rained down on the enemy.) He also nicknames his not-so-super mini-bunker-buster, capable of "reducing the population of any standing structure to 0", the "Ex-Wife".
  • It's All About Me: As the NYPD haul him away, Hammer accuses Pepper of trying to "pin [the blame]" for the Hammer Drone attack on him (while simultaneously complimenting her on her ruthlessness). This, despite the fact that the Hammer drones going rogue, resulting in millions of dollars in property damage and dozens of casualties, was basically entirely his fault. While he didn't specifically intend to cause what was going on, he illegally broke Vanko out of prison and gave a known mechanical genius and psycho access to all his technology, all just to further shady-at-best business practices. The most charitable option is that his plans have Gone Horribly Wrong.
  • It Only Works Once: invoked directly with Iron Man's Death Blossom lasers, which can only be used once per battle.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He may not openly display it to Tony Stark during childhood (he sent him to a private school to get him out of the house), but Howard Stark does legitimately care for Tony Stark, as evidenced by his blooper tape/hidden message.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Justin Hammer, twice. Once when he tries to pass off some random cockatoo as Vanko's bird, and again when he has his thug stuff it in a sack due to Vanko's apparent lack of progress.
    • Averted at least once by Vanko too: He demands to be brought his pet bird, but Hammer, of course, brings in a different bird and tells him it's just as good, at which point every experienced movie viewer knows Vanko will throw a fit and kill the replacement bird. Instead he adopts it as his new pet.
  • Kung Shui: Tony's drunken brawl with Rhodey in the second film winds up destroying much of his house.
  • Last Day to Live: Throughout the first half of the film, it is heavily implied that Tony Stark is dying due to palladium poisoning from his power core. He then (under the advice of Romanov when he asks how, hypothetically, he should spend what may be his last day to live) ends up holding a party and getting wasted, much to Pepper and Rhodes chagrin. It later turns out there was actually a new undiscovered element up until Tony Stark (with some help from S.H.I.E.L.D Director Nick Fury) that he ends up surviving, although he also has to deal with the consequences of his actions.
    • This trope kinda justifies Tony's relapse into his Jerkass character from the first movie and all the questionable decisions and actions he's pulled throughout the majority of the sequel [see Take Up My Sword below]
  • Laughably Evil: Justin Hammer's particular flavor of Large Ham.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: "It's me, I'm here, deal with it, let's move on. Drop it."
  • Leno Device: Bill O'Reilly is not pleased with Tony.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: At long last, we have a live-action comic book movie where two superheroes duke it out. Specifically, Rhodes taking the Mk II and the ensuing fight.
  • Lzherusskie: Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko and Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanov.
  • The Mafiya: Ivan Vanko's tattoos identify him as a member of Russian organized crime.
  • Mecha Mook: The HAMMER drones Hammeroids. Although ordered to build man-wearable suits, Ivan Vanko insists on making the Hammer drones autonomous drones instead. Elegantly lampshaded with the explanation "Human make problem. Drone better.": in an earlier scene a human test pilot attempts to pilot Hammer's suit design and ends off breaking his own spine by turning too quickly but that's not the biggest problem averted by invoking this trope: the audience now has no problem when the Hammer Drones are blown up, dismembered, or sent crashing into buildings.
    • Although he manages to take over War Machine, Vanko loses his control later. The drones won't have such a problem. Why stuff people into suits and risk having them regain control when you can just build drones?
    • Ivan also demonstrates exactly what he's saying perfectly. He is giving Hammer programmable drones because people "Cause trouble." This can include not doing what they're told, doing what they want or think is better instead. In other words, the exact thing he is doing.
  • Merchandise-Driven: The helmet and repulsor toys worn by the kid who Tony rescues from nearly getting killed are actually from the Iron Man 2 toyline. This is quite possibly the only superhero movie where using the actual toys used to promote the film is completely appropriate in-story.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: Several in the trailers for the sequel. Like Tony saying "you complete me" as Pepper kisses his helmet then throws it out an airborne plane for him to catch; and Tony letting "Natalie" try out his repulsor. (all can be seen on the DVD)
  • More Dakka: When Hammer is brought in to weaponize the Mark II armor, he showcases several weapons to Rhodes

Rhodes I'll take it
Hammer Which one?
Rhodes All of it!

  • Most Common Superpower: Subverted; you'd think that because this is a superhero movie, Black Widow would have a stuffed bra, but she doesn't and her chest is kept realistically sized, with the cleavage toned down, though Scarlett Johansson isn't flat-chested by any means.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Ivan Vanko seems to be Made of Iron thanks to having survived a lot of adversity in a Siberian prison. Technically, this applies to Natasha Romanoff too -she claims in Avengers that she "used to be" Russian.
  • Motor Mouth: Hammer babbles incessantly throughout most of his scenes. It's not entirely clear if it's a case of Obfuscating Stupidity or Hammer just being a schmooze who tries too hard. He's a foil to Tony, who also chatters, but usually has a point to everything he says, or to Vanko, who barely says anything.
  • Musical Nod: The expo theme, "Make Way For Tomorrow Today" later shows up in Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • Mythology Gag: A very obscure one: the Black Widow's cover identity "Natalie Rushman" refers to "Nancy Rushman," a cover identity the comic-book version of the Widow used in an arc of Marvel Team-Up in the 1970s.
    • Tony's bodyguard, Happy Hogan, is shown training Tony how to box. In the comics, Happy was a boxer before becoming Tony's bodyguard. Given Happy's fight with a security guard (which he wins) later in the film, this origin probably still applies.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: As cute/funny as that whole "You Complete Me" scene was in the trailer, it never showed up in the film. Nor does the scene in which Tony lends Natasha one of the Iron Man gauntlets. And several others. Ironically, they did consistently show up in the film's novelization, albeit loosely interpreted.
    • Although the former omission does explain how Tony got his helmet back on.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Iron Man's previously unmentioned one-use lasers that he used to finish off the Hammer Drones. Justified and generally detailed beforehand, though, as Tony never actually stops upgrading his suits, and will readily adapt them as the situation demands.
  • The New Russia: Briefly shown as a dreary, snow-covered and crime-ridden place.
  • NGO Superpower: By the second film, Tony has privatized world peace.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Justin Hammer's deal with Ivan Vanko turns out to be a mistake from his perspective. Vanko proves impossible to work with, uses Hammer's resources and technology for his own single-minded vendetta, ruins Hammer's Expo (while placing thousands of people in immediate danger, we might add) and ultimately leads to Hammer's arrest when it's discovered that he's behind Vanko's escape. The real kick in the pants? It was all totally unnecessary. If Hammer had simply waited, Tony Stark would have self-destructed completely on his own, been discredited in the eyes of the public, and Hammer would have still gotten his hands on the War Machine armor and been allowed to study/weaponize it as the premier US military contractor.
  • No Endor Holocaust: See Nobody Can Die below. The Hammer Drones, as well as Rhodes, wreak all kinds of havoc during the expo, but nobody seems to come to any harm.
    • Averted in the novelization where it is blatantly mentioned that several people are killed.
  • Nobody Can Die: Despite the Hammer Drones going amok amid the crowded Stark Expo and doing untold fortunes in property damage, not a single bystander is ever shown getting so much as a boo-boo. Even the poor Mook in the failed test mentioned under Nightmare Fuel, whose spine audibly snaps, is explicitly mentioned to have survived.
    • There are deaths, however. Seemingly, the two goons Hammer instructs to watch Vanko are killed (Vanko is later shown with blood all over him as their bodies hang limp in the background), there appears to be a death or two during Vanko's prison escape, and Vanko himself seems to blow up in an explosion of his own doing.
    • Vanko's rampage during the race also seems to have claimed the lives of at least one or two racers. Especially since the cars explode into gigantic fireballs and no one is seen actually escaping the cars. Implied that a few civilians were killed during the expo, as a diversionary tactic by Vanko, but he didn't seem to care about casualties other than Stark.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Despite Black Widow being born in Russia, the film version speaks without any trace of a Russian accent. Arguably justified due to her being undercover for S.H.I.E.L.D.. It has also been stated in the comics that she speaks fluent English (she's fluent in all the languages she speaks), plus being a spy, she'd need to be.
    • You can hear the traces of a Russian accent near the end when she intimidates Justin Hammer into revealing his part in the evil plot.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Vanko shows he's both fluent and eloquent in his early face-to-face confrontation with Tony Stark, but speaks to Hammer in broken, barely intelligible English just to dick with the guy. Later on he acts only barely competent at engineering and technology, convincing Hammer that the best he can do with the Hammer suits is to make drones and then later on that the best he can make the drones do is "salute." Hammer naturally underestimates him as a result.
  • Offhand Backhand: Black Widow does this with pepper spray.
  • Oh Crap: Pepper and Tony have an EPIC one when Happy gets taken down during the boxing lesson by "Natalie".
  • Only in It For the Money: Nick Fury claims that Vanko's father wanted to get rich off of the arc reactor technology, rather than use it to benefit the world. This is the reason why Howard Stark had him deported back to Russia.
  • Oral Fixation Fixation: Vanko's toothpick. For only being in one quick scene, Hammer and his lollipop get brought up an awful lot in certain parts of the fandom.
  • The Other Darrin: Don Cheadle replaces Terrence Howard in Iron Man 2. His first scene is framed in such a way that his face isn't visible until after Tony greets him, so that the audience is clear on who he is.

Tony: I didn't expect to see you here.
Rhodes: It's me, I'm here, deal with it, let's move on. Drop it.

  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Happy does legitimately win in a fistfight against a Mook, it just looks pathetic when it's compared to Natalie tearing through an entire hallway full of them.
  • Parental Abandonment: Tony complains that his dad was cold, never around for him and he seriously doubted that his father even loved him at all. This is eventually shown not to be the case.
  • People Puppets: Rhodes in Iron Man 2 gets his armour remotely hijacked by Vanko.
  • Pet the Cockatoo: Worried that anything negative will come out of the birds that the villain Whiplash has? Don't be, because (in his only display of kindness) he takes care of a cockatoo that isn't even his to the very end. Aww.
  • Power High: When Tony Stark inserts the new element into his arc-reactor, he gets a very sudden high.
  • The Power Of Friendship Animosity: Played with in the second film. When Rhodes takes the Mk II, his Beam-O-War with Tony produces a powerful blast, which is needed in the climax to defeat Whiplash after Rhodey makes up with Tony.
  • Precision F-Strike: The senator who initiated the hearing in the second movie, after seeing that he's been royally pwned by Tony Stark during a live broadcast. Hilariously, the F-word is replaced by a BLEEP...even though, in some circumstances, you're allowed to say it on C-SPAN!
    • Whatever those circumstances may be, pettiness is probably not among them.
  • Power Degeneration: Continuing use of the Iron Man suit accelerates Tony's palladium poisoning.
  • The Quiet One: Vanko is notably very quiet, especially when compared with Tony or Hammer. In several of his most prominient scenes, Vanko says barely anything at all; most notably, during the climax, his only words are a simple "You lose." at Tony.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: According to the novelisation, Vanko likes cartoons like Nu Pogodi.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: the Mk II eyes light up blue like all Iron Man suits - as War Machine, they are red.
  • Renegade Russian: Ivan Vanko/Whiplash, to a certain extent.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Vanko. He could have still had his vengeance by simply showing that someone else could create the Arc Reactor technology. He, as Tony stated, could have sold his knowledge about it to any foreign nation, or even the black market, for ridiculous amounts of money. Hell, discounting the fact that Tony was able to save himself, he could have just waited until Stark DIED and become the only game in town, instead of going to so much trouble to kill him (he knew about the palladium poisoning). All of these things he could have done, but he was so bent on screwing Tony personally that he clearly either never realized this, or more likely never cared.
    • Its possible that realising that Tony might soon be dead is precisely what motivates him; he wants Tony to know that he is the one who screwed him over, and waiting for any clients he might have from selling the stuff to develop the tech might take too long and rob him of the credit. Of course, it's clear that Vanko wants to do more to Tony than just humiliating him.
    • Vanko was aware of the potential poisoning effects of the reactor and may even have recognised them in Tony, but he hadn't thrown the resources of a multi-billion dollar company into researching the problem as Tony had. For all he knew, Tony might already have figured out a cure.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Ivan Vanko's reason for being.
  • Room Full of Crazy / Stalker Shrine: Vanko's basement.
  • Sensual Slavs: Black Widow, so very much.
  • She Fu: The slow motion in the scene makes this a particularly egregious example. Particularly since her fighting style seems to be "punch, kick, stun grenades.... sexy pose! (And casual mace.)"
  • Shoulder Cannon: Any guesses who?
  • Shut UP, Hannibal:
    • Tony does this in the novelisation of the second film, throwing Ivan's words about being a thief and murderer back in his face.
    • He pulls this off in the movie, as well, when he visits Vanko in his holding cell.

Ivan: The truth: all I have to do is sit here and watch as the world will consume you.
Tony: Where are you gonna be watching the world consume me from? Oh, right, a prison cell. I'll send you a bar of soap.

  • Skyward Scream: Ivan's reaction to his father's death.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Element synthesis is so much cooler when you're wearing a tank top.
  • Smart People Know Latin: Scarlet speaks multiple languages including Latin, which impresses Tony. Pepper corrects him in saying no one 'speaks' Latin, as it's a dead language.
  • Smug Snake: Justin Hammer is the king of this trope.
  • Smug Super: Tony is arguably this in some scenes.
  • So Last Season: Tony tries to nail Vanko with the "aimbot" he used to clear out the terrorists in Gulmira in the first film. Though Vanko's head is exposed, his helmet instantly reforms to block the shot.
  • So Unfunny It's Funny: Justin Hammer's declaration that "the papers will face a new problem. They are going to run out of ink!" The only thing missing from the declaration is the Cricket Chirp.
  • Soviet Superscience: Anton Vanko, a Soviet defector, co-developed the reactor technology.
  • Spin Attack: In Iron Man 2, Tony uses this to take out the last of the "Hammeroids".
  • The Sponsor: Nick Fury for Tony.
  • Spy Catsuit: When Scarlett Johansson saw her Black Widow outfit, her first thought was "It's really... tight." Her second was "Great, now I've got to diet."
  • Stealth Pun: If you are acquainted with some of the more advanced notions in physics and have a quick eye, you'll notice that on the last page of Howard Stark's notebook there's a reference to an "Abnormal Zeeman Effect", which any nerd can tell you is a magnetic equivalent of the Stark effect.
  • Stealth Insult: The senator's remark to Tony Stark shortly after giving him the medal and "accidentally" pricking him with the pin.

Senator: Sorry, it's funny how annoying a little prick can be.

  • The Stoic: Ivan Vanko is extremely calm and collected, even when held in captivity or being scolded by his billionaire employer. When Hammer tells his guards to start taking Ivan's bird and other comforts away, you can see when he stops protesting and when he starts just going with it silently. It's like flicking a switch.
  • Tainted Veins: The Palladium Poisoning.
  • Take Up My Sword:
    • Howard Stark reveals that he discovered a new element that would perfect the arc reactor and revolutionize energy. However, he lacks the technology to create it and leaves it up to Tony to solve the problem.
    • Rhodey is set up by the dying Tony to take over as armored hero. As Fury points out, the only way Rhodey could have activated the Mk. II was if Tony had already given him clearance to do so.
    • Pepper takes over Stark Enterprises.
  • Take That: It's entirely possible that the film's trailers heavily touted a scene of Tony taking a stand against the idea of governments reining in vigilantes as a spit in the face of the often reviled, arguably fascist way he was portrayed in the Civil War series. Not for the first time, Iron Man was basically Rescued from the Scrappy Heap by his movies.
  • Taking You with Me: Upon his defeat, Whiplash's armor's chestpiece begins blinking red, as do the ones on all the Hammer Drones. Granted, Tony and Rhodey get out in time but the ensuing explosions destroy most of Flushing Meadows.
  • Tastes Like Coconut: Upon placing the new Unobtainium powered Arc Reactor into his chest, Tony remarks it tastes like coconut. And metal.
  • Tattooed Crook: Ivan Vanko
  • That Poor Car: During the lead-in to the climactic battle in 2, Iron Man swoops over a carpark and sets off a couple of alarms. Shortly afterwards, War Machine and a bunch of Hammer Drones, chasing him, set off the rest.
  • This Is Sparta: "I don't know if you're aware of this, but I DON'T! SPEAK! RUSSIAN! "
  • Toilet Humour: "The question I get asked the most often is, how do you go to the bathroom in this suit?" He promptly shows the audience.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Yes, Justin. Let the brilliant, vindictive Russian physicist, who you've known only for a few hours, change the design and software of your massive army of Mecha Mooks. What Could Possibly Go Wrong??
  • Took a Level in Badass- Happy Hogan, of all people. After Ivan Vanko makes his grand Dynamic Entry during the race that Tony forces himself into, and is about to make his finishing blow on Tony, the bodyguard, in Tony's custom limo, comes out of nowhere, rams into Vanko full force, and manages to keep him effectively pinned against the chain-link fence for several minutes.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass - Tony Stark allows the fame to get to his head - again - in Iron Man 2, and it screws him over worse than his playboy tendencies did in the first film. It's at least justified, however, in that he's dying, and doesn't know what to do about it.
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: The palladium.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: In the sequel, Ivan allows Tony to finish putting on his armor, despite having energy whips that could reach and kill him if he so inclined. Though partially justified in that Ivan's legs were pinned between a wall and a car. On the other hand, he could've just planned to kill Stark, and when he saw him putting on the suit, decided he could do even better and show that Iron Man wasn't all that invincible. Or he didn't want to kill him. Up to you!
  • Transformation Sequence: All of the equipping sequences count, but the standout one has to be the suitcase suit.
  • Transformation Trinket: The aforementioned suitcase, though it also literally folds out into his armor (which is distinctly much thinner and less protective than his standard suit) rather than merely summoning it.
  • Trash the Set: In the first movie, Tony's Malibu house suffered some damage from his suit testing. In the second movie, it's destructively remodeled during his fight with Rhodes, and subsequently repurposed into housing a prismatic accelerator. It's really not much of a house any more.
  • Unobtainium: In the sequel, Stark needs a non-toxic replacement for palladium for his reactor. Eventually, he builds a prismatic accelerator to produce a new element previously only discovered by his father. According to his computer screens, it's actually Ununoctium, which is not a metal and extremely unstable. In the novelization, it's Vibranium, an element that has appeared in the comics (in two distinct varieties) since the '60s, though it has different properties from those two varieties. Other MCU movies suggest that it's the same Asgardian material that makes up the Tesseract.
    • Actually, Ununoctium is theorized to be part of the island of stability if the configuration of protons and neutrons is correct.
  • Unperson: Happened to Anton Vanko, which was why Tony didn't know about his involvement in the creation of the Arc Reactor.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Inverted. After the glowing description of the Ex-Wife's effects, did anybody expect it to actually work? It does in the novelization though.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Justin Hammer, to Vanko.
  • Use Your Head: Used in the climactic battle of the second film.
  • Useful Book: Tony uses a prototype(?) of Captain America (comics)'s shield to level part of the prismatic accelerator he's built. He also uses a number of stacked books to hold it up.
  • US Marshal: Tony and Happy find an attractive woman standing by his new car. When Tony asks who she is, she replies "Marshall". It's only when she informs Tony he's being Hauled Before a Senate Subcommittee that we realise it's not her name.
  • Verb This: "Sidekick this!"
  • Victimized Bystander: a test pilot for Hammer.
  • Victory by Endurance: Ivan uses this strategy against Tony and Rhodes. By the time he engages the two in battle, they've already burned a lot of energy and ammunition on the army of drones Vanko sent against them. Furthermore, Tony has used up his One-Hit Kill ace-in-the-hole. Vanko still loses, however, because of a Forbidden Chekhov's Gun that the heroes can use.
  • Vodka Drunkenski: Ivan Vanko greatly enjoys a famous real-life brand of Russian vodka. As does his bird.
  • Waif Fu: Black Widow's preferred combat style.
  • What If: Tony muses in the second film's novelisation that if he had been brought up in Siberia by an angry alcoholic for a father, he would have turned out like Ivan too.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Tony has some shades of this, as explored in the second film. He finally gets his "well done" from Howard in the video he left behind... even as he begins to realize just how brilliant his dad was.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Tony is alone after he disappointed all of his friends.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to the bird?
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In the second film, Rhodey loses all his patience with Tony after Tony parties around while wearing his Iron Man armor and using the suit's weaponry to amuse the guests. He decides Tony doesn't deserve the suit and hijacks the Mk.II suit to prove his point. Depending on how you look at it, there's Stane and all the people in the sequel who aren't happy that Tony isn't sharing the Iron Man tech with the military.
  • Whip It Good: Ivan Vanko, and he dual wields them too.
  • A Worldwide Punomenon: "Goldstein! Gimme a phat beat to beat my buddy's ass to." Tony laughs at his own pun, too (granted, he was drunk out of his mind at the time).
  • Worthy Opponent: In the second film's novelisation, Tony eventually admits to seeing Ivan as this.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Ivan Vanko's attack in Monaco didn't need to kill Stark: it only needed to reveal to the world that Stark wasn't the only one with the knowledge to create arc reactors and armoured suit technology, and that he could be physically challenged. He even says "You lose" as he dragged away.
  • You Killed My Father: The main reason Vanko has a beef with Stark - though technically, it's "your father had my father deported and left to rot in Siberia." Being deported is what caused Vanko's father to develop a destructive drinking habit, which eventually killed him.
  1. It's actually in one of Howard Stark's crates, which makes perfect sense
  2. It's his left index ring, which generally is the "psionic ring", though it is red and the novelization states explicitly that it's the Ring of Fire
  3. Though in this case it was exacerbated by the fact that he was dying from palladium poisoning
  4. the concept art galleries show that the Whiplash exoskeleton encases the legs as well, so probably yea