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Fridge Brilliance

  • When Tony and JARVIS are designing the MK II, what's that delicious looking muck Tony's downing? That's right, he's already experiencing palladium poisoning.
    • Or, ya know, it could just be a protein shake, a stable meal for many workaholics.
  • In the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe, people seem to be able to travel thousands of miles at the drop of a hat, even the ones without high-tech flying suits of armor. The scene in Iron Man where Obadiah has brought pizza from New York to California was particularly egregious. But then it occurred to me that the whole point of the pizza was to show that flight technology on that level already exists in the movie universe, and it's no big deal to the inhabitants of that universe.
    • Given the context, it's made pretty clear that the whole travel to and from Boston has been done by a corporate jet that Obadiah has control of, so him having a direct flight to and from Boston isn't that odd, especially if it was for business. The pizza wouldn't be that bad either, it wouldn't be warm but it also would be more then edible without a microwave.
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    • It was likely about showing off how rich and influential Stane and Stark are, having a corporate jet that's fast enough (jet speed, air controller priority, some sort of express way through customs) for the pizza to be considered fresh after the flight.
    • Tony refers to the Jericho Missile as the first incorporating (Stark Industry's) proprietary repulsor technology. What else would use it before the missile? Planes, such as the company plane.
  • The piano piece Obadiah is playing when Tony comes out of his lab to see the aforementioned pizza isn't just any piece: it's by Antonio Salieri, a contemporary to Mozart. The relationship between Salieri and Mozart, where Mozart was the well known genius that everyone admired and Salieri was the pretty-smart-but-not-quite-there guy who was jealous of Mozart, foreshadows the way Obadiah feels about Tony.
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  • Maybe I am just dense, but the first couple times watching Iron Man I totally missed that the scientist telling Obadiah Stane "I'm not Tony Stark", is a callback to speech Obi gives when accepting the award for Tony at the beginning of the movie, and plays well with the film's final line "I am Iron Man."- Rothul
  • Something I only got the second time I saw it is the way the film manipulates the viewer's expectations to get your attention away from the real villain and the real plot. The people who kidnap Tony Stark appear at first to be your standard stereotypical Hollywood-issue Muslim extremists from Unspecifiedistan, and the scene where they record a video of Stark is deliberately set up to look like real-life hostage videos — but the kidnappers' dialogue is not subtitled, which allows the filmmakers to pull the wool over our eyes. In fact, they're not Muslim extremists at all. Their leader wants to conquer Asia, and even says as much, but the Al-Qaeda-like trappings of the camp where Stark is held were enough to make me assume that they were the throwaway first-act villains who wouldn't be seen again, just as they were in the comics continuity. When Pepper translates the video and we learn that they were actually working for Obadiah Stane all along... well, I for one thought that was a very well executed bait-and-switch. And if you look carefully, there's a bonus for comics fans: the organization is called the Ten Rings, aka the source of the Mandarin's power. -puritybrown
    • Confirmed: the Mandarin is the villain.
    • And the language they speak, can't remember the name of it, is an actual language and they are actually speaking the correct words. So if you speak it, the plot is given away.
      • The language they were speaking is Urdu.
      • Also, some Hindi. (Unless they never spoke Hindi, and some of their Urdu was extremely similar to Hindi.)
      • Standard Urdu has similarities to Hindi. It's likely they were speaking pure Urdu, but with words shared with Hindi.
  • The titular armor has Rocket Boots, Energy Weapons and an Everything Sensor despite being barely a step up from a Latex Space Suit — but as Stark has that Arc Reactor in his chest, none of his tech has to have its own power source, cutting down on bulk.
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  • Just the line "I Am Iron Man" crams a lot of meaning into four words. Tony Stark spends the film discovering that he really doesn't like Tony Stark. The ending line is him taking real control and starting again. "I Am Iron Man" could just as easily mean "That Man Is Dead" (meaning the Tony Stark that used to be).
  • In the first Iron Man, while the Air Force convoy is driving along the road, they pass by an Afghan farmer with a goat. For the first twenty or so times I watched the movie, I just thought that was a harmless bit of scenery. Then I suddenly remembered: insurgents sometimes use otherwise innocuous farmers (or insurgents disguised as farmers) as spotters for ambushes on convoys! That was how the Ten Rings knew when precisely to hit Tony's convoy!
  • When Tony has Pepper overload the Arc Reactor in the factory, it shoots a huge beam of energy into the sky. Exactly the same thing that Tony does with his own, smaller Arc Reactor when he fires his "chest beam" at Stane earlier in the fight!
  • It's always nice to come across certain things on a second viewing. Tony's speech at the beginning about the Jericho missile makes mention of repulsor technology that allows the smaller missiles to spread out. One of the great scientific challenges is how to create thrust without a fuel source, and it seems they developed something that allows for a split second push with the largest battery they can fit. That is why the Arc Reactor tech is so valuable, with it Tony is able to fly with the repulsor tech and nearly all of his other offensive weaponry is either compact or reliant entirely on an energy source. —KJ Mackley
    • Another benefit to the repulsors? You see it in Tony's garage and in his fight against Rhodes—substantial thrust while generating little to no heat. Otherwise he'd have set everything on fire just in the testing phase alone.
  • At the end of the climactic battle at the end of the first one, Tony tells Pepper to blow the reactor through the roof and at Tony and Obadiah. I always thought it was lame that Tony would "miraculously" survive with the flicker of the chest reactor after it, but later it occurred to me that it could have been that Tony, being the arc reactor expert and general physics genius that he is, knew or calculated that he was light enough to be pushed out of the way and not take the brunt of the blast, while Obadiah was not. Pepper just thought that he would die, but he knew he wouldn't.
    • There's also the fact that his suit was made of gold-titanium alloy, whereas Stane's suit was presumably ferrous metals. Hence why he mostly got hit by concussive force, whereas Stane suffered induced electrocution from his magnetic armor material.
  • May overlap with Fridge Horror: at the end of Iron Man 1, Tony Stark kills Obadiah Stane. Stane was more than a business associate to Tony, he was clearly a good friend who may have overlapped with father figure considering their age differences. And Stane not only betrayed Tony and tried to kill him several times, but also played the part of Tony's friend long before the attempted murder in Afghanistan while stabbing him in the back. No wonder Stark's so messed up in Iron Man 2, besides the whole dying of palladium poisoning bit!
  • End of the first film, when the Arc Reactor blows, it fires a huge beam of energy up into the air, frying Stane. Now think, where else in the Avengers film universe have we seen something like that? Oh yeah, every time a wormhole is created in Thor and Captain America.
    • The ARC reactor which is evidently based on the Tesseract, an Asgardian artifact from Captain America, from the home of Thor.
    • Wait a minute... if the theories about what happened to Schmidt at the end of Captain America are true and he was just transported to a different dimension by the Tesseract, is it possible that the arc reactor did the same thing and Stane is still alive somewhere? After all, they Never Found the Body...
      • Well, the beam fired up just knocked out the Iron Monger suit and (possibly) killed Stane. He then fell with the suit into the blown reactor.
      • Stane didn't go anywhere. The arc reactor, while being based on Howard Stark's Tesseract research, wasn't a perfected "model" by any means. It could generate a massive amount of electricity, but it doesn't generate portals and isn't imbued with extragalactic energy.
  • I laughed along with everyone else when I went to see Iron Man 2 and it got to the gag with the much-hyped "Exwife" missile failing horribly. But it wasn't until I was walking out of the theater that I really cracked up: I'd just realized they were making fun of the first movie's Chekhov's Armoury.—Phoenix Fire
    • According to the DVD commentary, the original script and Director had actually intended to have the "ex-wife" work. Given how much time the move spends calling Hammer a Butt-Monkey I slightly doubt this claim.
  • Where did Howard Stark come up with all those radical notions about new elements and developing Arc Reactor technology? He studied HYDRA-adapted Asgard tech during World War II.
    • Further, Tony is adamant on his stance that the government can't have his Iron Man suit, as well as refusing to let Stane study his miniaturized reactor in the first film. This is because, as the son of the man who studied HYDRA's weapons, he'd likely know exactly the sort of damage weapons derived from the Arc Reactor tech could do.
      • Here's where things get Meta: Tony Stark's primary mission for the Iron Man armor, as stated in the first film, was to keep his weapons tech out of enemy hands, ESPECIALLY the weapons tech ripped from his own Iron Man armor designs. The above point ensures that each new film in the Iron Man franchise will have an opening for a sequel.
  • It's a running joke in the first film that Coulson tells Pepper and Tony he's from the "Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division", and when they crack that the place needs a new name, Coulson replies "we're working on it". He's not telling them he's working for SHIELD because it's yet unknown if they can be trusted and they don't know if what happened to Tony is important enough for them to bring him in on it. Using the full name instead of the shorthand acronym is likely so they don't remember it all and will be unlikely to find info on SHIELD if they ask around, and if they have heard of SHIELD using the full name protects Coulson's identity as one of their agents. In essence, Coulson using the full name is the organization is another layer of secrecy.
    • In fact, it's the writer throwing everybody off the scent, the acronym originally means Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division; so even die hard fans couldn't get the cronym right on the first viewing.
  • Would you believe that RiffTrax actually gave me some Fridge Brilliance? In Iron Man, when Tony is watching the news broadcast of the Ten Rings assaulting Afghan villages and uses his repulsers as weapons for the first time, Bill jokes "I'll start with you, man in the mirror! How about changing your ways?" Except Tony was having a Rage Against the Reflection moment to show how furious he is at himself for continuing to put innocent people in harm's way with his company's weapons! This also cemented his transition from careless billionaire playboy to actual superhero.
  • Fridge Brilliance from the first movie: The head baddie repeats more than once that military success depends on having the most advanced weapons, and to support his point, declares that Genghis Khan took over Asia because bows and arrows were then the most advanced weapons. The brilliance? He's dead wrong. When Genghis Khan conquered Asia, most of his enemies had bows and arrows, as well as comparably advanced weapons. They also had horses. Genghis' advantage lay in the fact that his tribesmen had perfected the art of shooting from horseback, which allowed his armies to travel quickly and carry out lightning attacks at great speed. Other peoples never learned how to do this, and were almost defenceless against the Mongol armies. History's lesson: It's not the advanced weapons that matter, it's the people who wield them- something the terrorists can't understand. -Kivutar
    • however, the horseback riders did use composite bows rather than normal ones; it gives them better range, something that was only acheived by long bows that were too big to work on horseback, so it's both.
    • Which is itself reflected in the final fight between Iron Man and Iron Monger. Obadiah had the same tech (arguably stronger and better), but Tony knew how to use it to greater advantage.
  • Whilst watching the first film again, something struck me about when Obadiah asks Tony about the Arc Reactor in his chest. Tony asks him whether it was Pepper or Rhodes who told him, and Obadiah doesn't actually answer. Considering that Obadiah must've had ways of contacting the Ten Rings, it seems rather plausible that he could have learnt about Tony's Arc Reactor from them (albit in a vague way, like "yeah, the hostage now has a glowing thing in his chest - does this mean anything to you?")
  • I thought the filmmakers had once again invoked Artistic License – Physics by having Iron Man fly with his hand and feet repulsors both pointing behind him, since in real life he would just start falling unless at least one repulsor was pointed down. But in fact, he does: the glowing chest piece is also a repulsor, that's why he can also shoot beams out of it.
  • The Mark V armor is obviously a clear reference to the Silver Centurion armor from the comics. What isn't so obvious is that the reason it's silver/chrome instead of gold is because as a simple emergency self-defense suit it doesn't need high altitude flight capabilities, meaning Tony doesn't have to use the gold-titanium alloy used on the main suits.
  • From the first film: Christine Everhart calls Tony "the merchant of death", a nickname also given to Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. Alfred Nobel supposedly heard of this nickname when a false report of his death made it to the obituaries. That's what inspired him to set of the Nobel Peace Prize: he wanted to set up a new legacy. What does Tony do when he gets back from Afghanistan? Shut down weapons manufacturing immediately and then build a suit to protect the people his technology was harming in the first place! Talk about leaving a better legacy!
  • In the third film, War Machine has suited up his armour Iron Patriot-style. Why would a serious guy like Rhodey do this? Because now the public knows that the World War 2 hero with a flag on his chest is back, and it's great PR for the military to have their superhero dressed similarly.
  • At the end of the first film, Tony refuses to lie and tell a false cover story that is not only standard operating procedure for super heroes but would protect his secret from the government and others with whom he doesn't want to share the secrets of the suit, making it impossible for the government to pressure him to surrender the technology as they do in the sequel. Why would Tony not take such a common, harmless, logical precaution to protect his private property and his freedom to use as he sees fit unhindered? Because as and numerous others have pointed out, the films' Tony Stark is the embodiment of the values of a philosophy that adamantly condemns (among other things) lying, or "faking reality in any way whatsoever."
  • Tony's perceptions of his late father. In the first movie, he returns from the caves and starts the press conference saying he never got to say goodbye to his father. He goes on to wonder if Howard Stark had ever had any doubts and insecurities, or if he was "every inch the man we all remember from the newsreels" before getting to the point. Cue the second movie where a dying Tony gets his answer, in the last few seconds his dad recorded on that projector reel: "My greatest creation was, and will always be, you."
  • This overlaps with a Heartwarming Moment. Early in the first film, Yinsen and Tony talk about family. When Yinsen learns Tony 'has none', he says he's 'a man who has everything...and nothing.' Think carefully about this dialogue and bring your mind to that scene later on when Pepper and Tony are laughing in relief after Pepper manages to switch the arc generator from the old one to the new one without causing any serious damage. Pepper tells Tony not to ask her to do anything like that again. Suddenly, Tony says 'I don't have anyone but you.' Think about it. Tony is calling her his only family.
  • In the first movie, when Tony takes his first test flight in the Mark II (the one that involves the discovery of the icing problem and ends with him falling through his own roof), Jarvis announces that he's been uploaded to the suit. It initially seems like an opportunity for the two to snark at each other, but then Tony has Jarvis start a test of the control surfaces, which besides being totally awesome, looks incredibly complex. This brings in another reason for Jarvis to be uploaded in the suit - there's no way Tony would be able to fly properly without computer assistance from Jarvis.
  • There's a quick scene, easily forgettable, in the first movie just before Tony starts work on the Mk. II. He goes to see Rhodey to ask him to be part of a project he's about to start work on. Rhodey refuses Tony, saying Tony needs time to get his mind together. It isn't obvious at first, but this scene means that Tony didn't want to be Iron Man. He knew Rhodey was a soldier, he knew he could trust Rhodey, he wanted Rhodey to be the superhero. On some level, Tony knew he wasn't trained or equipped to handle things like combat, even when he first started. One wonders how the next couple movies would've ended up if Rhodey hadn't so quickly blown him off. Plus, Rhodey is a pilot - he's Air Force. Tony is a genius, but he doesn't seem to pick up on certain things that an experienced pilot like Rhodes would immediately point out as a possible design flaw (like say, icing problems at high altitudes or having an in-system power source).
  • This is a bit Horror, Heartwarming, and Tearjerker all in one: Through the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tony Stark does not take people sacrificing themselves for him well. Part of it is probably some left over PTSD from Yinsen's sacrifice; but a larger part is probably the fact that he does not feel as if he is someone worth another person's life.
  • Combined with Fridge Horror: in Captain America: The Winter Soldier it's revealed that HYDRA has been spreading chaos thorugh the world, helping dictators and terrorist groups. Suddenly Stane providing the Ten Rings with weapons and his desire to be the sole owner of Stark Industries takes a new, much sinister meaning...
    • Does that mean Stane was a member of HYDRA?
    • More Fridge Horror: Stern, the senator who wanted Tony to surrender the Iron Man tech to the US Government, was also revealed to be part of HYDRA in The Winter Soldier. Let us be grateful Tony Stark refused to give up Iron Man.
  • In Iron Man 3, Harley tells Tony, mid-panic attack, "You're a mechanic, right? Why don't you just build something?" Then we see Tony Stark does make a bootleg suit until the Mark 42 charges, BUT that wasn't what he "built" that addressed his PTSD and made him feel better. It was <b>Ultron</b>. The misdirect was the quickie suit, but it Tony long term planning to build something that addressed his space nightmares.
  • In Iron Man 3, we saw armor that looked like the Hulkbuster but ended up being some kind of suit designed for construction. Why would Tony Stark have a suit for that? Answer: he wouldn't. The framing device for Iron Man 3 is that Tony is telling the story to Bruce Banner, and he changed the details of the story so that Bruce wouldn't know Tony had built a suit to take him down.
    • Nope, Bruce himself helped Tony design the Hulkbuster, which is much larger than Igor. If not meant for construction, it's at the very least meant for carrying big things, and at this point Tony is possibly designing suits that will eventually end up in the market.
    • Or he's using them himself or plans to do so. As we saw in his opening scene in Avengers 2012, Tony Stark did a lot of heavy lifting to build his own tower, maybe by now he either figures its cheaper to build his own suit and do his own work, or else he just finds it more satisfying to have a personal hand in such things rather than hiring a construction crew.
      • It would certainly keep certain secrets proprietary. And automated suits won't get injured like flesh and blood workers, which is likely a very attractive concept for Tony.


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