Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One Rewatch: Iron Man 2

Back on the old site, I wrote a few articles following a rewatch of the Marvel Cinamatic Universe. Here are those articles again.

Title: Iron Man 2

Director: Jon Faverau

Written by: Justin Theroux

Chatacters created by: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck, Jack Kirby

US Release Date: May 7, 2010

Budget: $200,000,000

Worldwide Box office: $623,900,000

Returning characters: Tony, Rhodey, Pepper, Happy, Nick Fury, Coulson

Summary: In Russia, the media covers Tony Stark’s disclosure of his identity as Iron Man. Ivan Vanko, whose father Anton Vanko has just died, sees this and begins building a miniature arc reactor similar to Stark’s.


Six months later, Stark is a superstar and uses his Iron Man suit for peaceful means, resisting government pressure to sell his designs. He reinstitutes the Stark Expo to continue his father Howard’s legacy. The palladium core in the arc reactor that keeps Stark alive and powers the armor is slowly poisoning him, and he cannot find a substitute. Growing increasingly reckless and despondent about his impending death, and choosing not to tell anyone about his condition, Stark appoints his personal assistant Pepper Potts CEO of Stark Industries, and hires Stark employee Natalie Rushman to replace her as his personal assistant.

Stark competes in the Monaco Historic Grand Prix, where he is attacked in the middle of the race by Vanko who wields electrified whips. Stark dons his Mark V armor and defeats Vanko, but the suit is severely damaged. Vanko explains his intention was to prove to the world that Iron Man is not invincible.

Impressed by Vanko’s performance, Stark’s rival, Justin Hammer, fakes Vanko’s death while breaking him out of prison and asks him to build a line of armored suits to upstage Stark. During what he believes is his final birthday party, Stark gets drunk while wearing the Mark IV suit. Disgusted, U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes dons Stark’s Mark II prototype armor and tries to restrain him. The fight ends in a stalemate, so Rhodes confiscates the Mark II for the U.S. Air Force.


Nick Fury approaches Stark, revealing “Rushman” to be Agent Natasha Romanoff and that Howard Stark was a SHIELD founder whom Fury knew personally. Fury explains that Vanko’s father jointly invented the arc reactor with Stark, but when Anton tried to sell it for profit, Stark had him deported. The Soviets sent Anton to the gulag. Fury gives Stark some of his father’s old material; a hidden message in the diorama of the 1974 Stark Expo proves to be a diagram of the structure of a new element. With the aid of his computer J.A.R.V.I.S., Stark synthesizes it.

Hammer-rodhey-iron-man-2-screenshotWhen he learns Vanko is still alive, he places the new element in his arc reactor and ends his palladium dependency. At the Expo, Hammer unveils Vanko’s armored drones, led by Rhodes in a heavily weaponized version of the Mark II armor. Stark arrives in the Mark VI armor to warn Rhodes, but Vanko remotely takes control of both the drones and Rhodes’ armor and attacks Iron Man. Hammer is arrested while Romanoff and Stark’s bodyguard Happy Hogan go after Vanko at Hammer’s factory.

Vanko escapes, but Romanoff returns control of the Mark II armor to Rhodes. Stark and Rhodes together fight off the drones. Vanko arrives in an iron suite and fights Stark and Rhodes, and they eventually win. Vanko gloats saying that they lose, and selfs destruct his suit and the destroyed drones and they escape. Stark rushes to save Pepper from one of the exploding drones. At a debriefing, Fury informs Stark that because of his difficult personality, SHIELD. intends to use him only as a consultant. Stark and Rhodes receive medals for their heroism.

MCU Continuity Nods: When Tony is watching the old reels of his father and going through his notebooks, one of the sketches is of the tesseract. The news report of the campus battle in The Incredible Hulk is seen near the end of the film. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier Garry Shandling reprises the role of Senator Stern, and it is revealed that Stern is a sleeper agent of HYDRA, which explains why the character was trying so hard to take Tony Stark’s Iron Man suits and technology. The map locations on the monitors in the SHIELD headquarters at the end of the film correspond to characters and event from the Marvel Comic books. The location in Africa is a reference to Black Panther. Other locations refer to Thor, Captain America, Hulk, and others. In the short The Consultant, Coulson and Agent Jasper Stilwell discuss sending Tony as a consultant in a meeting with Thunderbolt Ross to discourage him from recommending Emil Blonsky for the Avengers, thereby explaining Tony’s scene in The Incredible Hulk, which takes place concurrently with this film.

The soldier hurt in Justin Hammer’s video is mentioned as a potential patient for Doctor Strange. Recently,  it has been stated that the young boy at The Stark Expo was a young Peter Parker.


Easter Eggs: At the start of the Monaco racing scene. Ivan Vanko is wearing an orange jump suit with the name ‘ B Turgenov’ which is in reference to Boris Turgenov the Crimson Dynamo. Boris’ armour was designed by Anton Vanko. He was also the partner to Black Widow. Vanko is a combination of Crimson Dynamo and Whiplash.

TALES of Suspense 52F

When Tony is building the arc reactor, Coulson pulls out a circular piece of metal that has a partial star and red, white, and blue on it, like Captain America’s shield. (Note, this scene is usually omitted from the television broadcast, as Cap’s shield is with him in the ice)

Stan Lee Cameo: At a party mistaken for Larry King


Infinity Stone: none, athough the Tesseract is shown in Howard Stark’s journal

Post/mid Credits Scene: S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson reports the discovery of a large hammer at the bottom of a crater in a desert in New Mexico.


My Take: We’re starting to see a trend in Tony as being an addict or having a personality that is prone to addiction. One of the more famous stories in the comics is “Demon in a Bottle,” where Tony fights his alcoholism, and while we see him drunk wearing the armor in the film, the real thing that he is addicted to, even when it is killing him, is being Iron Man.

All the male characters are mirrors to Tony. Vanko is what Tony could have been had their lives had been switched. Hammer is Tony without a conscience. And War Machine is Iron Man under control of the military. The Black Widow fight was fun, but we’re not going to see Natasha at her best until Winter Soldier

Next: Thor