Special Edition Podcast

Special Edition – Iron Man 2

Show Notes

The anticipated sequel, Iron Man 2, directed by Jon Favreau and starring Robert Downey, Jr., Gwenyth Paltrow, Sam Rockwell, Don Cheadle, Samuel L. Jackson, Mickey Rourke, and Scarlett Johannsen hit theaters this weekend and Josh and Ron gather to discuss. Did it surpass the original movie? Did the various things like Whiplash, Black Widow and War Machine work or not so much? Is Robert Downey. Jr the coolest thing since sliced bread? Or maybe Sam Rockwell is. What was the easter egg at the end of the movie’s credits? All this and more on this spoiler-rich discussion of Iron Man 2!

Running Time: 00:31:50


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  1. Interesting, I kind of agree with most of both of your guy’s problems with the movie and yet I think I liked it more than both of you. I think the main point of contention is Robert Downey Jr: I thought he was utterly awesome in this and made me forgive pretty much all of the many problems that the film had.

    All that said though, this is clearly a steep step down from Kick Ass. 

  2. Josh is being a snob :- How can you hate on Gary Shandling!

  3. I dare to contend with Ron’s asserted truth. I did not like Sam Rockwell, in this at least. I get that it was probably the point, but when he popped up on the screen I was just counting the seconds until he was gone.

  4. @bobofthnder different strokes for different folks – me, I can’t get me enough Rockwell…to each their own – sorry to hear you didn’t dig him as much as I did

  5. @ron, eh, it’s cool. Agreed with you on most of the other stuff. Just thought I’d poke at the joke at the end of the podcast. Good show though.

  6. I really like Sam Rockwell, but Justin Hammer was an ineffectual heavy. I got too much of him and I wanted more screen-time for Whiplash.

    I thought Josh was going to get a lot of negative comments about his thoughts on Iron Man 2. Then, he let out that "Moon" comment. Then, he commented on an entire comedic style, headlined by Garry Shandling and Richard Lewis. This could be a rough one.

  7. @josh. Agreed. The movie was good, but it was more of the same. Also, Nick Fury is not a comedian!

  8. @josh What did you mean when you said ‘Gary Oldman’?

  9. He’s the most over the top actor there is. See: Leon.

  10. ha ha. Josh used to be annoying?

    but you know what? i think the fact that the characters were constantly being cute is just a method to maintain interest and entertain the auidence though out the whole films. it’s the same reason tony had a protector thingy with pretty lights to explain important plot points to the auidence.

  11. @ron – I loved Gary Shandling in this; he was BRILLIANT in every scene.  Another great Shandling casting choice was in X-Files, S07E19 "Holywood A.D." where he plays Fox Mulder.  "Do you dress to the left of the right?  When I play a character, I need to find his rudder, his center so to say, and everything comes from that…"  More Shandling please!

  12. @ed lol. you’re such a dick:) I admire your dickishness…

  13. I thought the same thing about the helmet kissing scene…that was a good scene…


  14. I can see what you guys meant about everyone being "turned up to 12" when it came to the improv style, and it certainly felt like that to me at the beginning–like an improv troupe that has some inexperienced members that were running each other over. I think they improved on that after Whiplash came into play at the race. I don’t know if they lowered themselves down after that, or there was some action or more plot focused scenes that toned it down, but I think it did get better.

    Overall I really enjoyed this movie and thought it was just as good as the first.

    Oh, and you guys asked what the three act structure of the movie was, let me take a crack at it:

    Act 1 — Tony on top of the world, ego at the max, ends with the Whiplash scene.
    Act 2 — Tony’s fall, losing his friends and focusing on curing himself, ends when he puts the new core into him.
    Act 3 — Tony finding out that Whiplash has something planned for Hammer’s demonstration, making amends with Rodney, and kicking a lot of robot ass at the Expo.  

  15. I liked it a lot, but not as much as the first one. I think maybe too much Avengers though.

  16. Was there a bit much of Rockwell? Maybe. But I believe, as Ron stated, his constant presence had a point. Hammer is totally like Stark, but he doesn’t have the charisma or likability of a Tony Stark. So definitely it felt like the point was to show someone 99.9% like Stark, just to show what he could’ve been.

    In my opinion, I felt that these were mostly nitpicks to an otherwise amazing film. Considering how you guys have been burned out by comic films before, I certainly don’t hold that against you. I mean all of your points are valid, and when I think about it I do agree with you guys, somewhat. Overall though I still feel this is one of the best comic films made. Because it was enjoyable, exciting, had a great cast/script, and overall just a fun time at the theater.

    Although someone needs to explain to me why there was too much Nick Fury in this. Cause when your complaining about a character being shown on screen for about fifteen minutes (of a 2hr and 15min film)….then I’m confused on that complaint. 

  17. @TNC: Hey, remember how you said it was on the same level as The Dark Knight? you were way off (relax, relax,  just joking)

    I think they meant there was too much Nick Fury because the mystery and threat of the character was diluted or destroyed though over-exposure – even if Samual L Jackson was only on screen for 15 minutes

  18. To me, there was still a sense of mystery with Jackson.

    Cause we don’t see much of SHIELD in this. Some agents, Black Widow, and Fury himself. It’s not like we’ve seen the HQ yet or see HUNDREDS of agents yet. So far, if I wasn’t a comic fan, I’d question the believability of Fury. Cause his hideout seems to be an abandoned factory, which doesn’t seem so grand or hero like.

  19. i also like how they have carried over that weird thing of given characters really fancy but stupid hair from the comics over into the films. I mean, Robert Downey Jr and Scarlett Johansson looked rediculous. Like in this universe tony must spend quite a bit of time in front of the mirror

    Also, Samuel L Jackson looked a little uncomfortable and awkward in his big, nerdy trench coat

    and than there was Rouke… but whatever, that guy’s awesome. 

    they need someone to tell them to update the ‘look’ like Kramer did that time in Sienfeld

  20. @TNC: Dude, Fury used the line "i’ve got my eye on you" that’s like something my dad would say…. right after he has had another shower in the backyard under the hose, which is weird old man thing


    Also, Does Samual L Jackson seem like a dude who could beat your asre or someone who seems like he would proberly know where to score some pot?

    And I don’t think his hideout is an abandoned factory. I think that scene just happened in an abandoned factroy because that’s were governement spooks have meetings for some reason

  21. "Because, Tony, my greatest creation…..is you" 

  22. Also, I feel like the whole new element was sort of a loom of fate.

  23. When I saw Iron Man in the donut all I could think of was of that still of Buster Bluth trying to eat through the giant donut while he was high.

  24. there was a little too much Jon Favreau also…..


    also, punisher war zone was the best SEP 

  25. I enjoyed the movie, but I agree that the second movie was not quite as good as the first. There was also another scene that was in the trailers but not in the moview. When Tony and Natasha was at some event? And Natasha had the gauntlet on and fired the repulsor. I think that the biggest problem in the movie was that they were rushing through too many plot points and the pace didn’t hurt the movie, but really didn’t make it as good as the first. I think you could have made 1.5 movies out of the different plots lines in this movie. If they had focused on the Tony’s health and his fight with the government then layer in a tease with the Whiplash/Justin Hammer into the ending the movie would have been much better. That way with Hammer & Whiplash could be the mysterious evil behind the scenes trying to entice the government to take away the armor it would provide more suspense that the movie kind of lacked. You could even make Black Widow a double agent who has an attack of conscience which would have given Scarlett Johanssen a bigger role in the film.

  26. I also noticed that Josh and Ron missed the part that Tony used what appeared to be a prototype/dismantled cap shield as a shimmy to prop up his particle accelerator. I think we could have done without the many references to the Avengers. It made the movie seem more like a shill for the Avengers rather than a movie about Iron Man as much. I think what you see here is that Marvel and the studios kind of give Favreau & writers some plot points for the movie rather than let them tell a Iron Man story. Its kind of the inverse of the GI Joe movie with all the flashbacks of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow.

  27. @Gabe
    No, this was crazyscience, Loom of Fate was … Loom of Fate.

    I loved the movie, but the talk of over the top Robert Downey Jr. reminded me of the thought I must’ve supressed during the movie that he played Tony Stark like a wrestler mugging to the camera whenever one was present. Perhaps intentionally, but I just kept thinking, "Is he gonna cut a shoot-promo on the Senate?"

  28. When you guys were talking about Scarlett J. and Josh said how she didn’t need to be in it at all and you called (I think) Bubs? Was that a Wire reference?

  29. I loved Rockwell in this. Wasn’t expecting to, but he’s actually the character I remember most. It’s kinda like how Aaron Eckhart’s performance in The Dark Knight was overlooked.

  30. I have to disagree about Scarlett Johansson not doing a good job. The thing is, she was always playing either an ultra-professional super-spy or an ultra-professional super-spy posing as an ultra-professional office lady. She just didn’t get to emote much. However, there was always a tangible difference in her character every time she slipped into being "Black Widow".

    And I loved the fight scene. The pepper spray at the end of it was probably one of my favorite moments.

    You’re right that there were a lot of disparate plot elements in the movie – and that’s a perfect reflection of the movie’s theme, which was many different problems mounting in Tony Stark’s life.

    I don’t think the alcoholism route is cut off either. I was very disappointed when I heard about the palladium poisoning replacing the alcohol, but the scene of Tony drunkenly assing around in the Iron Man suit made it all better. I felt it was basically a teaser for a genuine alcohol problem, a Chekhov’s Gun for a plotline in the sequel.

  31. I just really loved the movie becuase they really kept into the spirit of the first Iron Man. The tone, the atmosphere, the dialogue were all very complementary to the ones in the first film & that is one how it was a great sequel. Also I though that the point that you guys made about the villains of Iron Man being different versions of himself at different stages of life. I was wondering what stage or kind of person could they make the Mandarin villain be in Iron Man 3 when that gets made probably after Avengers? Also is the Mandarin they proposed to do the guy from the first one who was the leader of the terrorist group that kidnapped Tony? Cause I though he was like a lieutenant of the "Ten Rings" terrorist organization & that maybe the big boss that we didn’t see might be the real Mandarin, maybe?

  32. @josh- our thoughts on this are eerily sympatico. I also didn’t think Sam Rockwell was a real plus to this film, for many of the same reasons you gave. Also wasn’t a big fan of Scarlett Jo’s acting, though I agree that she is always something to look at. One thing I thought would have been helpful to developing her character-have her fight Vankov. Two Russians duking it out physically and verbally, and maybe he’d make some references to her heritage/history. Missed opportunity.

  33. Watching Lost in Translation kind of dispersed the "Scarlett Johansson can’t act" myth for me.

  34. I liked Lost in Translation, but she has this kind of flat intonation that works sometimes and feels lifeless sometimes. I want to like her, but she projects this lack of energy, and unfortunately, I don’t think she’s that great of an actor, which is unfortunate because I think I love her.

  35. The thing that made me upset was the same as the first one. The build up to the main fight was great but it didn’t pay off for me. I felt even with the new super suit Whiplash went out loke a punk. Besides that I like it

  36. @edward @Tnc Marvel signed Sam Jackson to be in every movie leading up to the avenger movie. He is suppose to be the character that brings all these characters together. His parts will get bigger and bigger as the avenger movie comes colser. So be prepare to see more Nick Fury and shield in a bunch of these movies

    @gabe like i said before. He created the device that powers the iron man suit, and like he said in the film. He couldn’t finish it because the technology wasn’t there. So he designed it and left it for Tony to create

    @BC1 @Josh in defence of scarlet she played the character she was given. She was supposed to be undercover as a spy for Shield so she couldnt stand out, but she nailed the fight scenes and the femme fatal look

  37. @Josh I can’t really disagree with all your nitpicks. You were basically on the ball with them, but I enjoyed the movie enough to look past them. I didn’t think this was a perfect movie but neither was the first, I did think it was just as fun though

  38. Man, I whole heartily agree with Josh on the Scarlett Johnansson thing, I’m glad that wasn’t me just being bias based on the fact that I had her some rumblings about Emily Blunt playing Black Widow. I felt like I was holding that against the movie, but maybe she just wasn’t that great…so thank iFanboy for validating my ‘eh’ attitude towards the Scarjo. 

    The prototype of Cap’s shield being used to level out Tony’s element machine was pretty hilarious, although it also kind of made me nerd bristle that it was getting such a short shrift, but you know, it’s just the prototype, no need to make with the majesty of Cap’s weapon o’choice. Save that moment for Joe Johnston and co.

    I loved Sam Rockwell’s self tanned hands. 

    This movie felt more like a loose confederation of scenes than a really cohesive narrative, so ultimately I feel like it was a bunch of great moments equalling a not that great movie.  

  39. You know, I’ve been thinking about it, and as much as I liked the Rockwell stuff — I wouldn’t have cut any of his scenes — I’m not sure what it did for the movie.  Considering that we saw so little of what was going on with Pepper and Natasha at Stark, I think it could have been cool to beef that up a bit and play the two corporate cultures opposite each other.  You could have gotten something smart and funny and thematically interesting, but ‘thematic unity’ wasn’t a big thing for this movie.  

  40. Nice back and forth on the review.

    I haven’t seen the movie yet- but ‘spoilers’ rarely spoil it for me.

     My comment is about the off handed remark that War Machine is a dumb character.

    I just don’t think that’s true- and based on the hesitation in your voice Ron I would say you don’t really either.

    I think  War Machine has been a tremendously underdeveloped character.  I think when worked with correctly it can be A lot more than Iron Man two.

    That suit is a WMD no matter how you look at it, and since Stark is hesitant to take it to that end- We have Rhodey and a "war machine"

     There is obviously a use for such a thing in the world and one operating with a moral compass could be a compelling character.

    Example:  Greg Pak’s Run with it.

    No Cosmic powered monster or asgardian gods-

    Real people real crime- sleaze- weapons – drugs

    The stuff real War has.

    I thought Pak to this character to it’s logical extension and gave it the kind of purpose it has always needed.

    Unfortunately I think he missed the mark on Rhodes as a person- doubly unfortunate with the perfect device of loosing his humanity operating there- but that could be just me.

    In any event I say look to that run for Proof that War Machine isn’t just an Iron Man under study.

  41. "It was a movie."


  42. I’m going to have to agree with Flanagan on this one. T’was a fun movie with some great scenes, but overall it was trying a bit too hard and I didn’t think it was as strong as the first. Still, I’m excited for the next batch of films to roll out.

    And I could have done without Rockwell’s character. I like that you guys pointed out that he was trying too hard to be as cool as Tony, so I understand the motivation for playing the character that way, but it was a bit too much for my taste.

  43. I didn’t say War Machine was a dumb character, I said it’s a silly suit. It looks cool, but seems entirely impractical.

  44. it makes sense narratively though, for that suit to be such a clunky hot mess. 

  45. I liken this film to "Batman Returns."

    That is, in "Batman Returns" each character serves as a stand-in representation for the title character as opposed to being a fully fleshed out 3-dimensional characters. For example, Max was the shrewd titan of industry, Penguin was the monster, Catwoman was the duality, and Alfred represented his ties to his family.

    In this film, that is clearly present. Except with one major change. No one was as compotent as Tony was (or should have been). Hammer was clearly the man-child. Anton Vanko was the inventor. Pepper Potts was suppose to be the titan of industry. Black Wdiow was Stark’s sex appeal. And Don Cheadle was that small part of Tony that has some sembalance of responsibility.

    However, everyone — to some extent or another — was less than. To be sure, Hammer and Potts was the most ill served, as compared to Vanko and Cheadle. The first thing Tony says to Vanko is to instruct him on where he went wrong w/ his designs like some disappointed grade school science teacher whose student won silver as opposed to gold. 

    That and where the humor was subtle "I had to do a piece on Vanity Fair," was a throwaway line, whereas in this film Tony smirks and goes, "Huh, huh, and she wrote and article on me." That wasn’t Tony. That’s a 5th grader saying, "That’s what she said."


  46. War Machine is a cool character, he’s suppose to be the ‘better’ version of Iron Man….Or at least a more badass Iron man.

    Although I do wonder how Rhodes is able to move around in it. Cause that scene with him and Hammer showed a lot of weapons to put on a slender suit. But it’s a film so you’re suppose to have a suspension of disbelief. Good for a chuckle, but overall it’s just a nitpick.

  47. Y’know, I don’t really disagree with most of Josh’s complaints, though I liked it a bit more than he did. I liked Ron’s summation, "an enjoyable next chapter." That summed it up for me. I liked the first film more, for all the reasons the guys mentioned, but I overall enjoyed what they put together here.

  48. I think War Machine is what others who don’t have the technical finesse of Tony Stark would consider a ‘better’ version of Iron Man, but in reality the only one can build a better Iron Man (in these movies, anyway) is Iron Man. But you know, the wave of the future isn’t making things bigger, it’s making them smaller.    

  49. what’s wrong with Gary Oldman? He’s great in Prick Up Your Ears, at least.

  50. There’s nothing wrong with Gary Oldman. I LOVE Gary Oldman. He’s just done some over the top performances. He’s my example for the #1 over-the-top actors.

  51. I’m thinking the reason that they went out of there way to make sure that Tony was only a consultant in The Avengers movie is so that they can have some drama within that film when Tony has to prove himself and help "save the day" as Iron Man.

  52. Josh is 100% correct!!! I liked the movie more than Josh did and less than Ron did, but it was a horrid mess of a film. How can you take it seriously that Nick Fury and SHIELD would want this showboat!?!? Sam Rockwell was Robert Downey Jr. Jr. Scarlett Johansson was eye candy. Mickey Rourke mumbled through the entire film. The one really good scene was the one between Tony and Ivan Vanko after the race car battle. The problem was their was a question at the end of the scene that was never paid off on. As my son said, there was never a moment when the villain had the upper hand. This is the reason why you don’t improvise great movies. Great movies are thoughtful and well planned. Jon Favreau showed he could not direct himself out of a paper bag. He’s just a fanboy.

  53. Well, gonna have to disagree with Gary4362… Lots of great movies have a quite a bit of improvisation. Different directors work very differently, and there’s no one way to end up with a great film. Hell, I’d argue it’s almost a crapshoot no matter how diligently you plan. Even the most well-planned movies can end up terrible.

    Favreau’s proved himself a number of times to me, and I generally think he’s pretty decent. He doesn’t come off as a fanboy to me. At most, I might say he’s a fan of actors, as he seemed happy to let them ham it up and maybe run the show a bit too much.

  54. Gary, I think you’re missing the point when it comes to the villains. Iron Man’s greatest enemy has always been Tony Stark, not whatever random dude has stolen his technology this week. The movie captured that perfectly.

  55. just listened to the podcast. I TOTALLY love the analogy of Swingers vs. Made. Thats a good analogy for this film. Perhaps war machine could have rocked a Pink K-car?

    Sam Rockwell’s character reminded me A LOT of the guy he played in Charlie’s Angels. I think he even did the same dance.  

  56. No way is Robert Downey Jr not going to be Iron Man in The Avengers. There will have to be a big name star to get people to the theaters. Chris Evans just won’t cut it.

  57. @aquapimp

    Robert Downey Jr. is listed on the Avengers movie IMDB page. No one else is listed as Iron Man. Its early, but I don’t see the studio damaging the Iron Man 3 franchise by having another actor upstage RDJ and steal his character. Unless they put Tony in Prison or the Hospital I don’t see a way to do it successfully. 

  58. During the podcast, Ron and Josh spoke as though RDJ wouldn’t be Iron Man in the Avengers movie due to the scence at the end of IM2. It would be stupid for RDJ not to be Iron Man in the Avengers movie. I just wondering what’s going to be done with the Hulk.

  59. Ed Norton is also listed on IMDB as Hulk for the Avengers. I think during the podcast they made that inference because of that one scene, but it could be taken many ways. I see Shield as wanting to steal the suit from Tony outright. 

  60. Anyone worried about RDJ not being in Avengers. Think of the timeline, seriously.

    The scene where Fury is evaluating Stark, you see the Hulk attacks in South America. Who guest stars after the end of Incredible Hulk? Tony Stark.

    So if the timeline is legit and Marvel is following it closely…..Iron Man 2 takes place before (and during) Incredible Hulk. Plus Stark seems to be what Fury wants him to be in Hulk. A consultant.

  61. oh, jesus, no. TNC is right

  62. THANK YOU RON!!!!!


    I am listening to the podcast right now and just yelled out.  Mrs. Tiki ad I also noticed the self-tan hands during the "airplane/dinner" scene with Whiplash.  I know it’s petty but we became obsessed by it.  I eventually wrote it off to a combination ego + not too much common sense.


    the Tiki 

  63. Great podcast, guys! I have to agree that, even with all of it’s flaws, this movie was a damn good time. The characters are always fun, the action was cool, and I really liked the relationship between Rhodey and Tony. A lot of people find the battle at Stark Manor a bit contrived, but I thought it worked perfectly.

    Lots wrong with it, though. Too much plot, useless characters, frantic pacing… here’s hoping they hit that perfect balance in 3.

  64. @TNC You are right, I remember hearing that IM2 takes place before The Incredible Hulk a few months ago. I can’t for the life of me remember were that was reported, but i believe it was Favereau who said it outright (i wish i has a link, sorry)

  65. Great show!  RON!  I too saw the orange hands.  I think it was a subtle way to say that Hammer was all about flash and fashion and not substance.  A reason why he wasn’t as revered as Stark.  

    I can see your dissapointments for this film, but, I really had a good time and the qualms I had were very minor.


    Bring on THOR! 

  66. Damn, guys… this is the first iFanboy podcast review, comics or otherwise, where I just completely disagreed with almost everything you said. =P

    I thought there were a few lines that were a little too scripted, and a couple scenes that felt a little too indulgent, and I wished they’d delved a little more into Tony’s alcoholism… but overall, I loved the flick. I thought all the actors were firing on all cylinders (I even didn’t mind ScarJo). I thought the action was a big step up from the first movie. They brought a little more intensity into this one, which I missed in the first movie.

    I don’t agree AT ALL about the comment on their being too many plot elements, or the lack of a solid 1,2,3 act structure hurting it… that just smacks of a little too much focus on writing theory. I didn’t care about rising actions and falling actions, I cared about whether I was enjoying what was in front of me. That’s all that *should* matter in storytelling. (though, for the record, I do think there was a perceptible 3 act structure).

     I thought Rhodey’s arc was well established, and they went out of their way to show him as being shaky in the suit. He’s a military man, so he did as he was ordered, but he was always forced into it.  

    I thought it was at least AS good as the first movie, and a great next chapter. Basically, the Superman II to Iron Man’s Superman: The Movie. 

     But I still love you guys. 🙂 

  67. 4:49…packed with nerds? or geeks…? geeks, surely? wait what’s the difference again.

  68. I enjoyed the movie, and I did have some of the same problems that were mentioned in the review. Also I can’t stand Samuel L. Jackson as nick fury. He’s fine for some people but he’s too over the top for me I guess. Also I always thought that Black Widow would have an accent.

  69. finally got too see the movie. it sucked.

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