"If you could make God bleed, people would cease to believe in Him."
— Ivan Vanko
Iron Man 2 is the second movie in the Iron Man film series, released in 2010 and based on the Marvel Comics character Iron Man, starring Robert Downey, Jr. as the armored Super Hero and directed by Jon Favreau. It is the third film in the Marvel Studios produced and Walt Disney Pictures distributed Marvel Cinematic Universe.Picking up several months after the events of Iron Man 1, the film deals with the consequences of Tony outing himself as Iron Man and becoming the world's newest defender. His first major issue is congressional hearings about sharing his tech, with rival (and perpetually second-place to Tony) industrialist 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, as Tony is 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.Followed by the 2012 Cross Over film The Avengers and the 2013 sequel Iron Man 3.
Iron Man 2 Provides examples of:
Adaptational Attractiveness: Justin Hammer is much easier on the eyes in the film than in the comics, where he's a very wrinkled old man. Partly thanks to the merging of Hammer's character with another rival of Tony's who's much younger.
Tony Stark starts drinking more than he can handle, to distract him from the fact he's dying.
Anton Vanko is also implied to have been one, with his "20 year vodka filled rage" destroying himself and his son Ivan.
Always Someone Better: Tony for Justin Hammer, who just barely hides his resentment about always being second-best compared to Stark behind his faux grin.
American Robot: Justin Hammer tries to pass off his Hammer Droids as this. They come in Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine models no less. Every model has a specialist weapon or device attached to it - an anti-armor cannon for the Army, missile launchers for the Navy, high-speed flight systems for the Air Force, and close-range machine guns for the Marines. Too bad the Renegade Russian in charge of AI sets them on rampage...
AM/FM Characterization: After Tony Stark's birthday party is ruined by an Iron Man suit-wearing James Rhodes, Tony requests for the DJ to play Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust" as a way to show he doesn't take Rhodes' threat even remotely seriously.
Tony Stark: Give me phat beat to beat my buddy's ass to.
And I Must Scream: Rhodey is trapped inside the War Machine armor with no control over it, no way out and he is forced to try and kill his best friend. The look he gives Tony when Natasha finally reboots the armor remotely says it all.
Anguished Declaration of Love: Tony attempts this several times with Pepper, but only gets as far as making her even more concerned about his mental health.
Ascended Extra: Jack White was originally hired as the food stylist who prepared and served the salmon carpaccio to Vanko in the aircraft hangar, but he ended up appearing in several scenes as Jack, Hammer's assistant.
During Hammer's description of the Ex-Wife, which is mostly just him giving it flattering compliments that have little to nothing to do with its capabilities, he only gives one notable piece of technical information about it. He describes the missile as containing a 'cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine RDX burst'. He used two different terms for the same explosive (RDX) back-to-back. When War Machine uses it on Whiplash, it simply bounces off his armor and sputters on the ground.
Tony: Hammer tech? Rhodey: Yeah...
Ivan gives one of his own to Tony over the phone:
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.
Let us not forget his bombastic speech at the opening of the Stark Expo.
Tony: I'm not saying that the world is enjoying its 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!
Bait and Switch: The alternate opening begins with the usual Marvel Comics logo and studio credits, albeit overlaid with sounds of Tony gasping and crying out in utter agony. When we finally cut to Tony, he's wasted and face-first in a toilet; in full armor, no less.
Bash Brothers: Iron Man and War Machine work together to beat some baddies. They're also best friends.
When Tony Stark asks Natasha if she actually speaks Latin, she responds with the phrase "Fallaces sunt rerum species," a quote from Lucio Anneo Seneca meaning "The appearances of things are deceptive."
Also when Vanko tells Hammer that the drones at the show won't be fully capable, he adds that they will be able to "make salute." But in Russian, salyut means fireworks. The Stark Expo turns into one hell of a fireworks show.
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. He thinks of himself as Tony's rival and plans to ruin his expo and displace him as the world's number one Arms Dealer but he's strung along, outwitted, or ignored by Ivan every step of the way, and gets arrested when his Hammeroids get overridden by Ivan.
Boxing Lessons For Iron Man: We see that Tony has been teaching himself how to box—and dirty box, with maybe a dash of MMA. It comes in handy later: on one occasion, he's able to outfight Rhodey (who is military-trained but is using a less-advanced suit and a rookie with Powered Armor) with Good Old Fisticuffs and on another, he beats down drones with his bare, er, well iron hands.
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. Doubles as a Shout-Out to Mike Tyson.
Broken Pedestal: In-universe, Whiplash sets out to invoke this trope among the public regarding Iron Man.
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.
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.
Rhodey departs in the Mark II the same way Tony started his first flight in that particular suit.
Rhodey passes on the Mark III because Tony hasn't repaired it yet.
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: Happy Hogan repeatedly rams Ivan Vanko during the villain's attack on Tony at the racetrack. It doesn't do much.
Cerebus Retcon: Captain America: The Winter Soldier provides one with the revelation that Senator Stern is an agent of HYDRA, putting his designs on Stark's technology in a much more sinister light. Tony's father issues also take a darker subtext with the reveal that the deaths of his parents wasn't an accident, it was an assassination.
Composite Character: Ivan Vanko is 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. note Ivan's father was called Anton; Anton Vanko is the identity of the original Crimson Dynamo.
Tony's drinking problem harkens back to the "Demon in a Bottle" story in the 70's which highlighted his substance abuse. Unlike the comics, this is only treated as part of an overarching plot thread (Tony's slow death by palladium poisoning), instead of being the plot point itself.
The part where Rhodey puts on one of the early Iron Man suits to beat some sense into Tony, though it seems more like an allusion; back in Tony's days as an alcoholic wreck, Rhodey subbed in for him as Iron Man.
Compressed Hair: Played straight during the Stark Expo intro. Lampshaded in the novelization.
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 post-credits scene of The Incredible Hulk.
In one scene Director Fury tells Stark that has "bigger problems in the southwest region" than Tony. A nod to Film/Thor, which is set in New Mexico (a.k.a. the Southwest).
The Tesseract also shows up in Howard Stark's notes.
Contractual Boss Immunity: It would have been anticlimactic if War Machine's "Ex-Wife" missile killed Whiplash in one shot. It works in the novelization.
Contrived Coincidence: The Iron Man suits are capable of flight and have extensive ranged weaponry, and so should be able to 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.
Cowboy Bebop at His Computer: 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 clueless in reviews that go on to identify her as the Black Widow. Moviefone calling her "Natasha Rushman" didn't help.
Defrosting Ice Queen: A strange variation where, rather than over the course of the film, on the in-movie film reels Tony is going through, he starts to find more and more evidence that his father was not always the cold fish he remembers from his childhood. (This was paid off in the Captain America film.)
Howard Stark: Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to show you...my ass. *turns his back on the camera and thrusts his butt out*
Disastrous Demonstration: Vanko waits until Hammer's big product-promotion event to unleash his drones. Tony hacks the video screens at the Armed Services Committee and displays footage of North Korea, Iran, and Hammer Industries suffering from this trope while attempting to build their own power armor.
Black Widow changing clothes in the back of a car nearly causes a crash. It 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".
Eureka Moment: While trying to perfect the arc reactor, Tony suddenly finds inspiration in his father's miniature model of the first Stark Expo. His dad did that 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) exists 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. However, who's to say there isn't some else coming into play here, like the fact that it's based off of Asgardian matter?
Fanservice: Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. Lampshaded when she and Happy drive to Hammer's lab and she changes in the back of his car, granting a clear shot of her in her underwear. Happy peeks at her with the rearview mirror and nearly crashes the car.
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.
As mentioned in Foreshadowing... During the Iron Man/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.
Pay attention to what Rhodey knocks Tony into the fireplace with. He literally hits him with the kitchen sink.
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 Arc Reactor may be based off reasearch on the Cosmic Cube
Gatling Good: War Machine. 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.
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 thatnote the concept art galleries show that the Whiplash exoskeleton encases the legs as well. Neck snaps opponents with practiced ease, and hangs his two guards to retrieve his bird. He 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.
Black Widow, who can not only mow through dozens of Hammer security in a whirlwind of acrobatic martial arts in the time it takes Hogan to finally beat down one guy, but she also speaks several languages and can easily hack through Ivan's re-programming job on the Hammeroids in minutes, shutting them down without breaking a sweat.
Rhodes jacks the Mk. II Armor from Tony's house and takes it to the U.S. military for study. 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 and Nick Fury points out that taking it by force would have been impossible.
Nick Fury: Whoah, whoah, he TOOK it? You're IRON MAN, and the brother just walked in there, kicked your ass, and TOOK your suit?
Green-Eyed Monster: Even though he's wealthy like Tony, Justin Hammer 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.
Groin Attack: This is employed by Black Widow on a Hammer security guard.
Hammer Space: 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: Because Tony's not sharing his Iron Man tech with the military. One of the senators has a valid reason (when he's not allluding to American military contractors' profits)—Tony's being an irresponsible jackass.
Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Inverted. In the final battle, the heroes wear helmets but Vanko takes his off, which leaves him vulnerable to Stark and Rhodes' finishing move.
Heroic BSOD: Tony goes into one big time, due to him suffering a slow death due to Palladium contamination. It culminates into him throwing a party, drunk, while in his Iron Man armor.
Heroic Bystander: Towards the end of the film, the Hammer-drones are rampaging and the crowd is fleeing in fright...except for one little boy wearing an Iron Man mask, who then holds up a gloved hand at one of the drones. The drone pauses, uncertain whether this boy is the real deal or not, giving the real Iron Man time to land and blast the drone away. He gives the boy a "Nice work, kid!" before flying away again. In doing this, the boy probably saved dozens of lives.
Hollywood Hacking: Ivan Vanko needs about three seconds and twenty keystrokes to hack into Hammer's battlesuit system, the first time he sees it. He even lampshades it: "Software shit." It takes Black Widow only slightly longer to penetrate his security and shut them down.
Hollywood Tactics: Played with. Stark and Rhodes 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 do all right, although it forces 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.
Idiot Ball: Tony is dying from palladium poisoning from the arc reactor in his chest, and the faster he runs the reactor through heavy use of the energy-hungry Iron Man armour the faster he dies, and it never occurs to him to hook up his pacemaker to a conventional car bettery like he did originally. If he did, that would resolve one half of the plot before the movie started.
Insistent Terminology: Tony insists during the Senate Subcommitee hearing that The Iron Man armor is not a weapon but is instead a high-tech prosthesis.
I Take Offense to That Last One: Inverted. When Nick Fury is listing all the things in Stark's personality that made him ineligible for the Avengers group, Stark denies or fogs every single one...up to "Textbook Narcissism", to which he simply agrees.
"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, supposedly capable of "reducing the population of any standing structure to 0" (although it's actually a laughable dud) the "Ex-Wife".
Irony: A sub-plot involves the device that Tony Stark built to keep himself alive is actually killing him through the volatile metal that powers it. What a beautifully ironic twist to a story about a man associated with iron.
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.
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.
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 by Vanko : He demands to be brought his pet bird, but Hammer 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.
Kirk Summation: Tony does this in the novelisation, throwing Ivan's words about being a thief and murderer back in his face.
Kung-Shui: Tony's drunken brawl with Rhodey 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 Romanoff 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 a new undiscovered element that could save him. Tony Stark (with some help from S.H.I.E.L.D Director Nick Fury) survives, although he also has to deal with the consequences of his actions.
The Mafiya: Ivan Vanko's tattoos identify him as a member of Russian organized crime.
Male Gaze: We get a lovely shot of Natasha's rear when we see her in the catsuit for the first time. We also get another gratuitous shot of it again when she fighting the bad guys and pulls out the small mines from her belt.
Mecha-Mook: The 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 breaks 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 takes 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 from the toyline. This is possibly the only superhero movie where using the actual toys used to promote the film is appropriate in-story.
Missing Trailer Scene: Several. Most notably, Tony saying "you complete me" as Pepper kisses his helmet then throws it out an airborne plane for him to catch—it was decided during editing that it disrupted the movie's flow—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, starting small and going big.
Rhodes I'll take it Hammer Which one? Rhodes All of it!
Most Common Superpower: Averted; 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.
Motor Mouth: Hammer babbles incessantly throughout most of his scenes; moreover, a lot of his impressive-sounding techno-jabber is pure bullshit. 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 is highly intelligent but barely says anything. Vanko expressly calls him out on it during one of Hammer's angry rants, where Vanko's only response (in unsubtitled Russian) is "You talk too much."
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 doesn't stop there either; after Walt's death rumors began circulating, and and urban legend says he made a series of films giving instructions on the direction to take the company in the future. Tony's dad gives him the key to saving his life, and the day, in a film made before his death.
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.
The broken semi-transparent Captain America shield looks like it comes from the Reb Brown Captain America films.Here's a picture.◊
Tony suggests perhaps he could be Secretary of Defense, a position he held in the comics for a little while in the early 2000s.
Happy Hogan rescues Tony from Vanko on a racetrack. In TALES OF SUSPENSE #45, Happy rescuing Tony from a crashed race car is how the two characters first met.
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.
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 as Tony never 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.
N.G.O. Superpower: By now Tony has privatized world peace. No other company or government can even come close to matching his armor technology, until Vanko comes along...
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 showing (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 on his own, been discredited in the eyes of the public, probably died from palladium poisoning, 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 explosive havoc during the expo, but nobody seems to come to any harm. This is averted in the novelization where it is mentioned that several people are killed.
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 horrific failed test, whose spine audibly snaps, is explicitly mentioned to have survived (though not recovered...).
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 appeared to claim the lives of one or two racers since their cars explode and no one is seen leaving them.
Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Despite Black Widow being born in Russia, the film version speaks without any trace of a Russian accent. Justified due to her being undercover for S.H.I.E.L.D.. It was 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 Plan.
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.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: We never see how Vanko escapes (and kills) the Hammer goons sent to watch him, but according to the scene after, it was damn bloody.
Oh Crap: Pepper and Tony have one when Happy is 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: 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.
Overshadowed by Awesome: Happy does legitimately win in a lengthy fistfight against a Mook; it just looks pathetic when it's compared to Natalie tearing through an entire hallway full of them without breaking a sweat.
Pet the Dog: 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 his to the very end. Aww.
Power Degeneration: Continuing use of the Iron Man suit accelerates Tony's palladium poisoning.
Power High: When Tony Stark inserts the new element into his arc-reactor, he gets a very sudden high.
The Power OfFriendshipAnimosity: Played with. 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.
Powered Armor: The movie features three main armor suits: Tony's own suit, Rhodey's heavily-armed War Machine armor, and - during the climactic battle - Vanko's plasma-whip-toting battlesuit.
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. In some circumstances, you're allowed to say it on C-SPAN but pettiness is not among them.
Pun: "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).
The Quiet One: Vanko is very quiet, especially when compared with Tony or Hammer. In several of his most prominient scenes, Vanko says nothingat all; during the climax, his only words are a simple "You lose." at Tony.
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.
Smart People Know Latin: Natasha 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 as full of himself as Tony but unlike Tony, he doesn't have the genius to back it up.
Smug Super: Tony is more full of himself than usual because his powered armor enables him to 'privatize world peace'.
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 Chirping Crickets.
Soviet Superscience: Anton Vanko, a Soviet defector, co-developed the arc reactor technology with Tony's father in the 1960s.
Spin Attack: Tony uses this to take out the last of the "Hammeroids".
The Sponsor: Nick Fury for Tony. He went to AA meetings and talked to various sponsors to make sure his dialogue was right.
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.
The Stoic: Ivan Vanko is 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, which covers Tony's torso in a web of blue-black veins.
Take Up My Sword: In a movie that starts off with a speech about the importance of legacy, this is going to come up a lot.
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.
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.
Tattooed Crook: Ivan Vanko. They implied he's part of the Russian mafia.
Territorial Smurfette: Tony Stark expects this to happen with Pepper and the new aide Natalie, but the two of them get along fine. Pepper takes it as a sign of Tony's arrogance that he'd assume another Love Triangle would form over him.
That Poor Car: During the lead-in to the climactic battle, 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.
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 keeps him effectively pinned against the chain-link fence for several minutes. He's shown to be decent in a fist fight but not on Black Widow's level.
The Mk II goes from a flight test beta to the embodiment of More Dakka. As discussed by Rhodey, this was the point.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Tony Stark allows the fame to get to his head again, and it screws him over worse than his playboy tendencies did in the first film. It's at least justified, in that he's dying, and doesn't know what to do about it.
Transformation Is a Free Action: Ivan allows Tony to finish putting on his armor, despite having energy whips that could reach and kill him if he so inclined. Justified on two accounts: 1.) Ivan's legs were pinned between a wall and a car 2.) when he saw Tony putting on the suit, he decided he could do even better and show that Iron Man wasn't all that invincible.
Transformation Trinket: The aforementioned suitcase folds out into his armor (which is distinctly much thinner and less protective than his standard suit, and can't fly).
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. Probably why he's living in New York in The Avengers. The first trailer for movie 3 shows it got fixed up - just in time to be blown off the side of the cliff and into the sea. Oh, and we see Tony's old suits blowing up one-by-one.
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 Ununoctium, which is not a metal though theorized to be part of the island of stability if the configuration of protons and neutrons is correct. 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 material, perhaps Asgardian in origin, that makes up the Tesseract / Cosmic Cube.
In the Fury's Big Week tie-in to The Avengers, which strings together these films' continuities with each other and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Fury says that Stark went on to try and patent this new element as "badassium", but bureaucracy was getting in the way.
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: After the glowing description of the Ex-Wife's effects, did anybody expect it to work? It works in the novelization.
Unwitting Pawn: Justin Hammer to Vanko. He gave Vanko use of his laps to upstage Tony and Vanko decided to use it for his revenge plot.
Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: Rhodey puts on the Mark II and faces off against a drunken Tony in his Mark IV, but doesn't do too well initially because it's his first time using it and Tony's more experienced. However, he improves, while Tony is still drunk and they end up battling each other into a stalemate.
Urine Trouble: Lampshaded and played straight in the same scene, during Tony's drinking binge:
Tony(fully decked in his armor): You know, the question I get asked most often is: "Tony, how do you go to the bathroom in the suit?" (beat; Tony closes his eyes and the look in his face grows steadily... relieved) Tony: ...Just like that.
Useful Book: Tony uses a prototype(?) of Captain America's shield to level part of the prismatic accelerator he's built. He also uses a number of stacked books to hold it up. Judging from the Captain America movie, Howard Stark probably started working on a prototype shield based on how the all vibranium one was being used but had to put it aside.
U.S. 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.
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 because of a Chekhov's Gun that the heroes can use.
What the Hell, Hero?: Rhodey loses all his patience with Tony after Tony parties 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 Stern and all the people who aren't happy that Tony isn't sharing the Iron Man tech with the military.
What You Are in the Dark: When confronted with his poisoning and seemingly imminent death, Tony asks Natasha Romanoff what she would do if she had only a brief time to live. Natasha, evaluating him for S.H.I.E.L.D., told him that she would do whatever she wanted. As a result, he decides to have a wild party at his house in Malibu in full armor, get drunk, and thereby endangering everyone around him. For that reason, Nick Fury allows the Iron Man suit to be a full Avenger, while Tony would be a consultant for failing his test.
Whip It Good: Ivan Vanko, and he dual wields them too. Did I mention that his whips are buzzing electrical tendrils that can slice a car in half in one hit?
Woman in Black: After Tony finds out that she's the Black Widow, "Natalie" starts dressing only in black.
Worthy Opponent: Tony eventually admits to seeing Ivan as this in the novelisation.
Wrestler in All of Us: Natasha's fight style is based around martial arts and lucha libre, with plenty of hurricanranas and headscissors takedowns.
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's 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. Unusually for this trope, his Dynamic Entry doesn't include the traditional "My Name Is Inigo Montoya. [Insert grievance here]" announcement, and he immediately starts using lethal attacks. Had they been successful, Tony would have died without having any idea who his killer was or why he killed him. This rather unconventional approach underlines Vanko's role as The Quiet One.