|I'd joke, "Why don't you just give your home address to the villains, Tony?" but he does just that in Iron Man 3.|
…Oh, yeah. I was talking about Iron Man 2, wasn’t I?
As the audio continues, we cut to the movie proper. But the movie proper doesn’t show us the last scene from Iron Man. Rather, we keep hearing the dialogue from it as we cut to Moscow. Because in post-Soviet Russia, movie play you.
The reason for the dissonance soon becomes clear as we see that Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr.) press conference is being broadcast with Russian dubbing on a TV inside an old man’s shabby bedroom.
Tony Stark: “I am Iron Man.”
The news visibly troubles him, and he calls out for his son, Ivan (Mickey Rourke). The older man is on his last legs as he talks to his son in Russian.
Old Man: “That should be you.”
Ivan: “Don’t listen to that crap.”
The old man knows that death is near, so he gives his son one final gift.
Old Man: “All I can give you is my knowledge.”
With his final words, he passes away as Ivan begins to mourn in the traditional Russian way.
|Did I say "Russian"? I meant "Irish."|
In a montage paralleling Tony’s creation of an Arc Reactor in a cave with a box of scraps, Ivan Vanko soon surrounds himself with headlines and newspaper articles about Tony Stark as he builds a small reactor of his own.
|"Rob Down"? I don't think that writer's an entirely unbiased source.|
|I'm going to get a lot of shady Google searches involving the words "kissing" and "helmet," aren't I?|
|An average Tuesday in the life of Tony Stark|
Random Audience Member: “Blow something up!”
Tony Stark: “Blow something up? Already did that.”
And as the laughter dies down, he begins his presentation.
Tony Stark: “I’m not saying that the world is enjoying its longest period of uninterrupted peace because of me.”
Good, because that would be wholly unrealistic, considering the fact that at the very least, Emil Blonsky is probably leading men into Brazil at the exact same time you’re saying those words.
He goes on to “not” say that he’s the greatest phoenix metaphor in human history before getting down to business. For the next year, and for the first time since 1974, the brightest minds on the planet have come together to create a bright, beautiful tomorrow at the Stark Expo. And Tony kicks the opening off not with more sexy ladies and Iron Man tricks, but archive footage of Howard Stark giving an introduction to the first Stark Expo. Howard talks about the wonders of tomorrow before showing off a model of the “City of the Future.” If you had the thought that Howard Stark looked a bit like Walt Disney, then congratulations. That’s what they were going for.
|On an unrelated note, this was the first Marvel film made after Disney bought the company.|
I could talk forever about Epcot, the Stark Expo, Walt Disney, and Howard Stark, but Tony is backstage, worriedly taking a sample of his own blood with a small medical scanner. Apparently, Tony’s blood toxicity is up to 19%. No wonder Tony Stark is starting to get worried about what he leaves for future generations. He’s dying. The film finishes up, and we get a first-person view from Toby’s perspective as his bodyguard, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) takes him through the excited crowd. After Tony interacts with a few cameos, including Larry Ellison (“The oracle of Oracle”) and Stan Lee pretending to be Larry King…
|"You creator takes many forms, Tony Stark. 'Nuff said!"|
Senator Stern: “Mr. Stark.”
Tony Stark: “Yes, dear?”
Senator Stern: “Can I have your attention?”
I can only see this ending well for everybody.
The guy in charge of the hearing, Senator Stern, is played by Garry Shandling.
|The character pretty much only exists because Howard Stern likes Garry Shandling.|
Tony Stark: “I do not.”
Senator Stern: “You do not.”
Tony Stark: “I do not. Well, it depends on how you define the word ‘weapon.’”
Senator Stern: “The Iron Man weapon.”
This is actually an important character moment for Tony Stark. In his own mind, he no longer makes weapons. And yet, as Obadiah pointed out last film, the Iron Man suit is the greatest weapon ever invented.
Tony Stark: “It’s a high-tech prosthesis. That’s actually the most apt description I could make.”
But that’s because Tony Stark sees the armor in two different ways compared to the rest of the world. First of all, it’s a tool. Even a simple hammer can be a weapon in the wrong hands. The suit isn’t for the primary purpose of attacking people, that’s just something it can do. Like how when you buy a hammer at a hardware store, you don’t need a weapons permit, despite the fact that you can use it to bash people’s heads in.
|"My hammer requires a weapons permit."|
|"Aye. In order to lift Mjolnir, the weapon must first permit you to do so."|
|"It is a play on words!"|
|"You are welcome."|
Tony Stark: “I am Iron Man. The suit and I are one.”
And this is actually seen in how he uses the suit. Think about it. The Arc Reactor in his chest not only powers his heart, it powers whatever suit he’s wearing, too. Tony Stark is Iron Man. Tony could easily stick a separate reactor into each suit to lessen the strain on the one in his chest, but he doesn’t. Because then he would end up with an Iron Man suit that could be worn by anyone, including those who would wield it as a weapon. Why doesn’t Tony consider the Iron Man suit a weapon? Because the only man who can wear the thing won’t use it as one. Well, he will. But only to defend, not to attack or invade.
|"What could possibly have led you to believe that the thing I regularly use to blow up tanks is a weapon?"|
In the comics, Justin Hammer was an elderly businessman who funded technology-based criminals in exchange for some of the profits. Here, he's younger, hipper, and basically what Tony Stark used to be, only a doofus. Which is why they cast Sam Rockwell, who was actually up for the port of Tony Stark in the first film.
|And people say that Iron Man 3 had characters that looked nothing like the source material.|
Justin plays it off with that old Sam Rockwell charm.
Justin Hammer: “I may not be an expert. But you know who was the expert? Your dad!”
Oh, yeah, he’s going there.
Justin Hammer: “We all know why we’re here; in the last six months, Anthony Stark has created a sword with untold possibilities. And yet, he insists it’s a shield.”
Actually, it’s an armor.
|This is a shield.|
Hammer brings up the valid point that Tony Stark will not always be able to foresee every threat, and that letting Tony keep the armor private is asking the world to trust their safety to a single man. And for the final blow, Senator Stern calls in Col. James Rhodes, who is framed from behind so that people out of the loop are surprised when Don Cheadle shows up and not Terrence Howard.
Tony Stark: “Hey, buddy. Didn’t expect to see you here.”
Rhodey: “Look. It’s me, I’m here, deal with it. Let’s move on.”
|At least Don Cheadle doesn't think Iron Man's a robot anymore. So that's a step up.|
Tony Stark: “I’m not a joiner, but I’ll consider Secretary of Defense, if you ask nice.”
And despite Rhodey’s continued protests, Senator Stern continues by showing satellite surveillance footage of other nations apparently attempting to build their own suits. With a little hacking into the screens, Tony reveals that every single foreign nation trying to create an Iron Man suit is failing miserably. Even Justin Hammer’s attempt, where the pilot’s spine was twisted 180 degrees.
Justin Hammer: “I’d like to point out that that test pilot survived.”
So it wasn't manslaughter, it was a fate worse than death. That doesn't make it better.
Tony makes one last grand statement about successfully privatizing world peace to thunderous applause before peaceing out, homeskillet. Over in Moscow, Ivan Vanko watches this on his TV as he puts the finishing touches on some kind of electrified whip suit.
|And I'm sure there's absolutely no risk of accidental electrocution.|
JARVIS: “And may I say how refreshing it is to finally see you in a video with your clothing on, sir.”
Tony pours himself a glass of the green smoothie he was drinking in one scene of Iron Man and asks JARVIS how much he has to drink to keep the poison at bay. As it turns out, the very thing that’s keeping Tony alive is killing him. Remember when Pepper was poking around in Tony’s chest in the first movie?
|This lovely scene.|
Tony: "It's not pus, it's an inorganic plasmic discharge; it's from the device, not from my body."
Apparently, it’s pretty unhealthy to have Palladium residue leaking into your heart. Tony’s blood toxicity has already risen to 24%. And Tony’s constant use of the Iron Man suit is making things even worse. At this rate, he’ll be dead before the final act. Pepper seems to have objected to taking Tony’s reactor out any more, so he easily pops it out himself this time to replace the palladium core once again. And there’s nothing he can replace it with, either. Palladium is the best element to power the reactor, and yet its continued usage is literally killing him.
|Visible Vein Syndrome. I see it all the time. The only known cure is a last-ditch effort.|
There’s a master plan at work.
Step One: Like how the inventor of dynamite tried to redeem himself by instituting the Nobel Prize, Tony Stark brought back the Stark Expo to try and give the world a legacy of invention instead of a legacy of death.
Step Two: Making Pepper Potts the head of Stark Industries. It’s hard enough keeping the government’s hands of the Iron Man suit, somebody trustworthy needs to be put in charge of the company ahead of time. And let’s face it, being a secretary, Pepper Potts was not in line for the position. But because she was basically running the thing for Tony for ten years, she’s the perfect person for the job.
Pepper: “Have you been drinking?”
The logical response.
Tony Stark: “I have actually given this a fair amount of thought, believe it or not.”
And let’s just say that Pepper wasn’t the only successor he chose, but I’ll get to that eventually. He opens some champagne to celebrate as we cut back to Russia. A man (a member of the Ten Rings, according to Jon Favreau) hands Ivan some papers in a back alley. Ivan takes a look, revealing them to be false identification and tickets to the Monaco Grand Prix under the name "B. Turgenev," which Iron Man fans will no doubt recognize as the second Crimson Dynamo from the comics.
Back at Stark’s home, he and Happy are sparring in a boxing ring as Pepper enters to inform Tony that his someone from legal has arrived for the official paperwork of handing the keys to the company over to Pepper.
Tony: “What’s your name, lady?”
Natalie: “Rushman. Natalie Rushman.”
Yeah…. There’s a bit of a difference between watching this movie back in 2010 and watching this movie now. See, “Natalie Rushman” has since appeared in two movies under her real name (three, once Age of Ultron is released). And since you’re reading this Recap, then you’ve obviously already seen the film or you have no problems with spoilers.
“Natalie Rushman” (Scarlett Johansson) is really Natasha Romanoff, aka the Black Widow. You can thank the higher-ups at Marvel for her inclusion, as they wanted Iron Man 2 to start setting things up for The Avengers.
Tony invites “Natalie” into the ring to take a look at her, and asks Happy to give her a lesson as he goes off to talk to Pepper.
Tony Stark: “Who is she?”
Pepper: “She is from legal. And she is potentially a very expensive sexual harassment lawsuit if you keep ogling her like that.”
Tony, being secretly on the verge of death and all, decides that she’s the perfect candidate to be his new personal assistant. He Googles her bio, and finds that she’s ridiculously capable. She speaks several languages, including Latin….
Tony Stark: “Who speaks Latin?”
Pepper: “No one speaks Latin. It’s a dead language.”
…she modeled in Tokyo (cough, Lost in Translation, cough), and as Happy learns when he tries to teach her to never take her eye off her opponent, she can kick some major butt. She slams Happy to the ground with her legs and gets right back up to do her job.
|Usually, pulling such a stunt on the director gets you fired.|
“Natalie”: “You have a 9:30 dinner.”
Tony Stark: “Perfect. I’ll be there at 11.”
Pepper meets with a cameo of Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX which, despite its awesomely sci-fi name, is a real company that has a statue of Iron Man at the headquarters, complete with company ID.
|The world is awesome place sometimes.|
Hammer brags that she’s doing a spread on him for Vanity Fair.
Pepper: “Well, she did quite a spread on Tony last year.”
Tony Stark: “And she wrote a story, as well.”
Pepper heads to the washroom as Christine starts up some awkward questions regarding Justin, Tony, the Senate hearing, and the fact that Justin recently got his contract with the military revoked. Hammer lets it slip that he’s hoping to present something at the Stark Expo, and Stark promises him a slot as he heads to the washroom himself. Tony takes a blood scan, and the toxicity’s up to over 50%. He looks at himself in the mirror.
Tony Stark: “Got any other bad ideas?”
|"What do you, the viewers at home, think?"|
|No joke here, I just really like the look of this outfit.|
Luckily, Happy arrives to hit Ivan with the car as Pepper hands off “the football,” a nice reference to the first meeting between Happy and Tony under similar circumstances in the comics. Tony takes the briefcase and flips it open, revealing something that Iron Man fans haven’t seen since the 60’s or 70’s. The Mark V, aka the “Briefcase Armor.”
|It is a play on words!|
|Look at this beautiful thing.|
|Stop! In the name of love!|
I mean, we’ve seen the power of those repulsor blasts. Why not just hook the Arc Reactor up to a laser and just shoot him? As counter-intuitive as it may seem, long-range weapons are a bad idea against Tony Stark. Sure, Whiplash was targeting Tony at his most vulnerable, but he needed a back-up plan in case he had to fight an armored-up Tony. Iron Man pretty much depends on long range repulsor blasts. So Ivan designed a weapon which could grab Iron Man at mid-range and pull him in close, where the advantage would belong to Whiplash.
|And that's exactly what happens.|
Ivan: “You lose, Stark!”
Back at the hotel bar, Justin Hammer’s getting some ideas….
Coming up in Part 2! Dynamos, deception, and drinking! Lots of drinking.