Iron Man = win

By Phil Plait | May 3, 2008 8:32 pm

We just got back from Iron Man, and I must say it was really, really good. Very cool flick, lots of fun, action, silliness, and comic-book-type overthetoposity. In fact, I wouldn’t hesitate to tell people to go see it.

And that’s coming from me!

Of course, since this is coming from me, I do have the odd nitpick or two*. Mild spoilers below.

Actually, these really are mild complaints. In movies, inertia and momentum never seem to be problems. Falling from the sky from several thousand meters up = dead guy. Period. The suit can be as strong as you like, but the guy inside is still made of squishy organic glop, and it has inertia. The suit may survive the impact intact, but Stark would be not much more than a slightly gelatinous smear covering the inside front of it.

Ditto for when he tests the rockets. Hitting concrete at anything more than about 20 kph is a recipe for a long hospital stay. At least.

And then when he tested the boosters again, he wasn’t wearing a helmet! They blew the opportunity for a good sight gag there too.

He’s also in the middle of several explosions, especially at the end. Fire — and stop me if I’m being too technical — is hot. Being in the middle of a fireball would provide a heat dissipation problem. Well, sure, you say, but maybe the suit has AC in it. OK, I’ll buy that — but at the climactic scene in the end, he’s not wearing the helmet! The last explosion would have given us Robert Brownie Jr.

HAHAHAHA! Get it? He would’ve been cooked! Like a brownie.

This, you see, is why I don’t write movie scripts.

Also, the timing was all weird. How long does it take to get to Afghanistan, even at, say, Mach 3? The answer is: a long time. Hours. How long can he thrust like that? What kind of propellant was he using? Wouldn’t he get uncomfortable, holding his hands like that all that time?

I didn’t notice a catheter in the suit either. And he drank a lot of coffee.

Still and all, it’s a comic book movie, so I’m forgiving. In fact, it was a totally awesome movie! I’m no real fan of Gwyneth Paltrow, but even she was pretty good in her role (though watching her pretend to run urgently from the lab while a giant metallic insane guy was chasing her was pretty silly — and how did she run in those heels across a mesh metal walkway?). I could have done without the Jeff Bridges silliness at the end. Suddenly he growls like a monster? But up to that point he was really good. And Robert Downey Jr. is simply a phenomenal actor. If they could continue casting comic book movies with actors of this caliber, and get good writers behind them, then maybe these things will have a future.

Oh, one last thing: if you’re into comic books, make sure you stay past the end of the credits. There’s a final scene you need to see…

*I am, in the end, one of those sorts.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Humor, Piece of mind, Science, SciFi

Comments (77)

  1. Jamie

    I always forget to stay for the final scene. Movie was awesome though.

  2. Ryan

    Iron Man’s suit is powered by an Arc Reactor, which is, of course, completely fictional. This also means he doesn’t use any “propellant” for his “rockets”.

  3. David

    Gah, haven’t you ever read ironman? Ok the scenes without the helmet were wrong ill grant you that and the first scene with the original suit he probably didnt have the tech for inertial stabilizers, but the real suit should have them, you know like in star trek. and his repulsers don’t use propellant theycan run almost without limit, they get thier power from the thing in his chest. And I am pretty sure he can go much much faster than mach 3. Although I must admit I was always more an XMen spiderman reader so I’m not really sure what powers the suit has.

  4. Mark Martin

    This is a lot like The Six Million Dollar Man. His bionic arm may be extremely strong, but it’s attached to a shoulder made of weak bone & tissues. Bench pressing an army tank should tear it clean off his body.

  5. I enjoyed the movie, but it really needed more action scenes in it. There were only like 3 Iron Man fighting bad guys.

  6. JackC

    Hang about…..

    You didn’t notice a catheter?

    You were LOOKING for a catheter????



  7. sudopod

    You’d think that inventing what I suppose HAD to be a fusion reactor(a tokamak at that!) about the size of a coca cola can would be kind of world shaking, wouldn’t ya? I mean, why be so insistent on selling weapons when you’ve basically solved the world’s energy problems for the foreseeable future? :3

  8. Thomas

    At one point in the comic- (late 80’s?) There was a breakthrough that got the suit powered by neutrinos. Ok, ok, they called them alpha-particles in the comic, but the description of the particles were clearly neutrinos. No idea where they got the arc reactor idea from.

    The armor in the comic was a type of chain mail, strengthened by magnetic fields and built with a unique geomety that allowed blows to disperce the energy across the entire surface of the armor, helping with that nasty inertia thing. (assuming it worked as well to blows from on the inside of the armor from Stark’s body)

    Glad you liked it! I saw the first showing- 8 PM in Petlauma on Thurs night. A die hard IM fan!

  9. Nick

    Well,it looked like an AMRAAM air-to-air missile was fired at him – they top out at around Mach 4, and he couldn’t outrun that. However he uses flares to get rid of the missile, which would only work on a heat seaking missile, and Sidewinders top out at 2.5

    Of course, the dialog suggests that the intercept occurred at sub-sonic speeds, as just as the F-22’s are getting lock they exclaim “that bogie just went supersonic!”.

    Oh, and Round trip from Los Angeles to Afghanistan is around 24,000 km, so that’s a long, long time in a suit.

    In the comics the armor seems to max out at around mach 1.5, but for intercontinental flight he climbs in a external sub-orbital booster pack, or more often just airfreights everything over because he is rich and sensible.

    Still : Great film. It’s even got me looking forward to the Hulk film, if only for a few more seconds of Robert Downey, Jr.

  10. Josh

    Hahaha can’t wait till you see Curve the Bullet

  11. Loved the movie, even if it had its normal comic book make-believe science, as well as some annoyingly cheesy moments (do we really need robots that act like puppies, and is it really that hard to figure out how to make an acronym out of : Strategic Homeland Intervention, Engagement and Logistics Division?).

    One of the highlights (for me) in the film, was the scenes with Stark actually building the suit. They showed him doing several tests with only slight alterations of the variables. In other words, he was being a real scientist. How rare is that?

    Also, did anyone find Stark’s initial climb into the suit to be what Transformers should have been? You know, mechanical parts that actually seem to be doing something.

  12. Utakata

    Darleks had catheters.

  13. Quiet Desperation

    Inertial dampers.

    Sheesh. Did you people learn nothing from Star Trek?

    They showed him doing several tests with only slight alterations of the variables. In other words, he was being a real scientist.

    No, at that point it is *engineering*, thank you very much from *this* engineer.

  14. Ray M

    I’m no real fan of Gwyneth Paltrow

    Phil – go stand in the corner for an hour, then wash your mouth!!

    This may be a free country (ha!), and you may be entitled to your opinions (with which I normally agree), but this time, sir, you have gone too far!

  15. Mark Martin
    This is a lot like The Six Million Dollar Man. His bionic arm may be extremely strong, but it’s attached to a shoulder made of weak bone & tissues. Bench pressing an army tank should tear it clean off his body

    Read the original book CYBORG by Martin Cadin (not the sequels, though). He had IIRC that in mind. The $6M man TV series did ‘comic book science’.


  16. Okay, you asked for it Bad Astronomer.

    Since I am IRON MAN, and this movie is about my life, I consider myself something of an expert on the technology involved.

    The armour is made of a polarised mesh, and in later designs includes structural integrity fields, so the armour itself can withstand impacts far greater than the advanced alloys could alone.

    The kinetic energy of impacts is also absorbed via a vibranium shock layer. An “anti-metal” that absorbs vibrations. The kinetic energy is stored within the atomic bonds of the vibranium, increasing its dimensional stability under impact. Thus under stress, like that of an explosion, the armour largely remains in place absorbing the blast. Or during impact with say, the ground, tends to penetrate rather than come to a dead stop.

    This gives me me ability to seemingly defy inertia, but since the kinetic energy in question never actually reaches my body inside – or is at least dampened by the absorption capacity of the vibranium – the outward appearance is deceiving.

    That’s is how my armour deflects bullets without even superficial damage, (like a bullet-proof vest would incur), how I punch sidewinder missiles out of the air without being blasted back by the detonation, and can use my entire body to punch a hole through the hull of a ship.

    Of course in the movie they took some artistic licence and unrealistically portrayed the performance of the suit – damn those Hollywood types, they have an even harder time with physics than Stan Lee.

    And I can’t believe they’ve got me fighting terrorists in Durka-Durkastan, when the reality is that I spent the best part of my career kicking the Kautsky out of Commies. But like I said – artistic licence.

    As for my boots they include two different propulsion systems – rocket power, and jet power. The jets don’t use any fuel and take advantage of abundantly available electrical power and air as a medium. But I’ve got to have something for space flight and that extra boost when I need it, so I’ve got the rockets too.

    Also I can leave the atmosphere and re-enter, but hey, who’s counting?

    Holding my hands out? You really can’t guess this one? When my suit is in flight mode, it’s more a case of the suit is holding my arms up – they are resting quite comfortably in that position actually. It’s Superman you should be directing that criticism at.

    AC?! As in air-conditioning? Are you kidding me? My suit can withstand extreme heat or cold no problem. Just ask The Melter, (a supervillain who uses a heat ray), and Blizzard, (a guy who uses a cold beam) – I kicked both their sorry butts simultaneously.

    Yeah, I know. Where do these guys come up with their names? Sheesh!

    But don’t think heat dissipation, as much as heat manipulation, like thermocoupling and Peltier effect. Extreme temperatures are nothing to me but an energy boost actually.

    And contrary to popular belief I don’t have to hold my water the whole time I’m in that suit – I have systems on-board to collect, process and eliminate waste thankyou very much.

  17. The kinetic energy of impacts is also absorbed via a vibranium shock layer. An “anti-metal” that absorbs vibrations.

    There are, of course, two different kinds of vibranium. Antarctic vibranium is the anti-metal. It liquifies all metals it comes in contact with. Wakandan vibranium is the one that has the cool vibration absorbing properties. It has allowed the small African nation to stay a couple of centuries ahead of everybody else in technological advancement.

  18. Phil, thank you for pointing out one of the BIGGEST problems I had with the movie… In that spirit, here’s my four cents worth.
    Yes, I’m going twice.

    *nit-picky criticisms that will stick in your craw if you haven’t seen the film already or plan on seeing it again ALERT*

    That whole fight at the end with Stane/Bridges had dialogue that was just LAUGHABLY BAD and – even worse – totally unnecessary!
    They had already clearly, repeatedly, and obviously shown Stane’s insanity and rage at Downey/Stark, and how personally he was taking the company’s tumble due to Stark’s new sense of ethical responsibility.
    Stane’s monologue when he yanked the chest-reactor out was more than enough. It really didn’t need a follow up. REALLY it didn’t.
    WHY OH WHY did they ruin the tension of the final battle of the titans in such a strong film with some of the corniest, most on-the-nose hack writing and villain behavior EVER???

    Also, on a more nit-picky note, would an overbearing force like Stane really overlook the obvious engineering flaws and weaknesses with his mega-suit – namely, leaving the wires for the damn optical interface EXPOSED at the back of the neck?? Just asking to be damaged or ripped out??
    You’d think he’d have had such crucial system components encased in some massively armored “spinal cord” type thing that linked the helmet/HUD with the suit.

    And you’re absolutely right, BA: the whole roaring/grunting deal was just terrible. Really terrible. 60’s B-movie level terrible.
    I LOVE Bridges, but so much of his stuff during the fight – which, unfortunately was the slam-bang climax of the film – made me wince rather than cheer. Totally sucked the life out of what until then had been a blast of a movie.

    These kinds of stupid, obvious flaws in such an otherwise well-made and well-written film… I have no explanation or excuse for them.
    Really frustrating. I wanted to just love it.
    In fact, here is my suggestion for the sum total of lines needed for Bridges/Stane during the ENTIRE end of the film:
    STANE (yelling, enraged): You think you can ruin me, Tony? You think you can destroy me?
    (cue crushing and explosions)

    Everything else could have been done with Bridges’ skilled body language and facial expression. And his wordless, single-minded, animal rage would have been far more frightening than the unintentional comedy they ended up with.

    That rewrite took me all of 5 minutes.
    But, of course, nobody asked me.


    Despite all that, though, I have no regrets about spending 11 bucks to see it!
    Thanks for listening. Just felt like venting my rant.

    Also – “Robert BROWNIE Jr.” – HA! Awesome! I love that!

    MH out.

  19. BachFan

    I’m willing to suspend my disbelief about lots of things in this movie, and to trust that folks like you and your coterie will explain away the inertia and fuel (and catheter) problems. But I draw the line at believing that Pepper Potts could run in pumps across metal grating — even if it’s to escape Iron Monger — without losing at least one shoe to the evil heel-eating grate. (Not unless Tony Stark has taken a few minutes’ break from refining his suit, to design some sort of tiny anti-gravity generator that he’s installed in all of Gwyneth’s footwear.) Kudos for spotting the problem!

  20. Michelle

    Oooh… I only heard good things out of that movie. I’m sure I’m gonna watch it… when the DVD comes out. It’s another one of these movies I absolutely refuse to watch in French like this stupid place tries to force me to.

    …is it just me or “STAY AFTER THE CREDITS!!” has gotten really…. really…. really overdone?

  21. C Murdock

    It’s not just you.

  22. Cory

    Why pick apart the movie when the science behind the comic book is just as Alice-in-Wonderland?

  23. Rita in the Hood

    Darn. . . .I told my buddies we should have waited out the credits.

    We walked out the theater discussing the scene where the suit was clicking into place transformer-like, and the spine piece snapped in all the way down. Was the last piece an an air dam, or, as one of the buddies decided, an exhaust port for when Tony had too many beans? ‘Cause imagine being trapped in the suit after 5 alarm chili.

    And one of my gang wanted to know where the clif bar dispenser was, because the trip to the middle east would have taken hours – we’re with you BA.

  24. Response to the minor spoiler:

    Considering that Marvel Comics had total control over this movie and that combat in their comics is full of dialogue, it doesn’t surprise me that finale was pretty talkative.

    Still, it was a good movie, and I hope they can maintain the quality for the sequels.

  25. dave

    I read a couple of good blog reviews on this movie, so I went to see it and.. was bored and unimpressed. Shows me how simple-minded these bloggers actually are. Save your money. They’re were a few good scenes – the robotic assembly scenes were pretty cool, but I could have easily slept through this garden variety kids movie (that also had a heavy dose of military male machismo).

  26. aiabx

    When I see a movie based on a comic book, I set my disbelief sensors to off, and enjoy the ride. And Iron Man was an awesome movie. It was great seeing the first show with all the hard-core geeks who would cheer when they spotted references to the comic narrative. That having been said, I am also a nerd, and quibbling about a comic book movie comes naturally to me.

    So, SPOILERS ahead, two things that bugged me.

    1) How did the terrorists not manage to notice he was building a battle suit and not a missile? Did they never do an on-site inspection?
    2) Why did the power fail when suits iced up? I can see ice being a weight/mobility/aerodynamics problem, but power?

    Also, when did you-know-who get black? I’ve been out of the loop for a while.

  27. Apparently, you-know-who was modeled after the actor who will play him in later comics.

    Which I think is pretty cool, though I think some people are disappointed that it’s not the original character from earlier comics.

  28. The last explosion would have given us Robert Brownie Jr.

    HAHAHAHA! Get it? He would’ve been cooked! Like a brownie.

    This, you see, is why I don’t write movie scripts.

    Really? Could have fooled me!

  29. Stripe

    There was a mock up of a missile in the work area. So I assume that was the purported Jericho missile he was supposed to be working on. Inertia is not just about what happens when the suit gets hit or hits something. It is about the man inside suit hitting the suit when the suit comes to an abrupt stop. The only escape clause I could think of for the non jello Stark is that he uses the fictional Repulsor technology as some sort of cellular stasis or reinforcement within the suit. He solved the icing issue with the Mark III suit, was he going suborbital in his flight to Afganistan?

  30. themadlolscientist

    Waitaminnit. Isn’t all that impossible stuff the reason for the comics in the first place? I mean seriously, Wile E. Coyote gets blown up, falls off a cliff, and has a huge rock dropped on him — sometimes more than once — in every Road Runner cartoon. Oh, and don’t forget being run over by a train. And it’s ROFLing hysterical every time.

    Wotthe-F-bomb. Suspend your disbelief and have fun. Unlike the to-hell-with-science “real life” stinkers BA’s rightly on the warpath about, there’s no chance anyone over the age of 5 is going to take it literally. Even my brother who ended up as a Fundy Mental Case had figured out by that age that eating spinach wouldn’t make him strong enough to beat up everyone in the neighborhood. (But by then it was too late — he’d already decided spinach was yummy!) :-)

    And contrary to popular belief I don’t have to hold my water the whole time I’m in that suit

    ROFL =gasp= MAO =snort= IRONMANAustralia is win dis thred x 10!

  31. Supernova

    Not unless Tony Stark has taken a few minutes’ break from refining his suit, to design some sort of tiny anti-gravity generator that he’s installed in all of Gwyneth’s footwear.

    This is exactly what my geeky friends and I decided must have happened. There’s just no other explanation for how she’s able to do all that running around across wire grids in 5″ stilettos. (Actually, I did hear she sprained her knee or something during filming — what a shock.) AND we figure they must have used Hobbit-shrinking special effects to make RoDoJu STILL look taller than Gwyneth in those heels.

    We all enjoyed the movie, though; lots of nifty lab equipment on display.

  32. James Roach

    Hey BA,

    It’s called a spoiler alert. I realize that, yeah we knew there would be falls and explosions but callin’, the scene, especially awesome scenes, c’mon man give the alert

  33. As soon as I heard “palladium”, I figured Tony’s arc reactor technology had to be some of that awesome cold fusion. 😀

    And what appears to be an unshielded reactor in the middle of the public entrance to the lab?

    And I remember thinking “he’s dead” when he first flight-tested and slammed himself into the concrete.

    And I teach physics for a living, and make a habit of dissecting bad physics in movies.

    And I’m not touching this one.

    For some reason, I can manage a disconnect from disbelief when the source is comics. I don’t have to believe that it’s really trying to happen in ‘our’ world – unlike abominations like “The Core” or “Armageddon”. If you want me to believe that it could happen next week, or next year, or next century, you had damn well better play by the rules as we understand them.

    It’s like the difference between SF and fantasy for me. SF usually tries to present itself as something that could possibly happen someday. I’m willing to accept such things as ‘hyperspace’ and ‘warp drive’ as the cost of human storytelling in a very large universe, and as the result of (even very improbable) developments in scientific knowledge as long as some effort is made. (Yes, I still have managed to point out the less than light-speed phasers of the Enterprise).

    Fantasy… well, it’s fantasy. And that doesn’t mean it’s all about elves and fairies, either. I don’t criticize “Star Wars” for being unrealistic, because it’s fantasy. Rules of physics don’t necessarily apply. Comics, to me, like “Star Wars”, are about distilling the essence of what’s good and what’s bad about humanity, and amping it up. Remember, that 4-colour printing process isn’t too damn subtle on pulp.

    In the long run, it’s all about story. Did the hero progress? Can we find empathy in what we’re shown? Does it resonate with what we hope are the best parts of ourselves?

    That’s what I got out of Iron Man. Well, that, and shiny things, and loud explosions. It’s all good.

    Okay, except for that part where the retrospective on Stark’s life gave us “Tony Stark takes over the reigns…” Aaagh!

  34. See, we all notice different things. As a retired infantryman, I was wondering why these terrorists were using not just Stark weapons, but US equipment like the .50 cal MG and the trucks. Real forces in the area tend to use old Soviet gear.

    Also I was amused that the Afghan fighters were speaking Hindi.

    But I loved the film, and was also wondering about the sanitary connections during the armoring-up sequence.

  35. Will. M

    Didn’t the early astronauts wear diapers?

  36. allium

    Trucker Doug —

    “…amused that the Afghan fighters were speaking Hindi.”

    That was deliberate – some of the ENN* broadcasts mentioned that the “Ten Rings” fighters spoke a mix of languages (I remember Magyar among others) and came from outside the area.

    That and the scenes where the Non-Jeff Bridges Bald Bad Guy was fingering a prominent ring were lead-ins for the Mandarin and his International Order of Bad Fellows in any sequels.

    *Exposition News Network. Give them ten minutes, and they’ll give you the backstory!

  37. Um, James Roach, did you see the part where I wrote “Mild spoilers below”?

  38. vectr

    This post and commentary = win.

    I collected all the Iron Man comics made during Layton & Michelinie’s run during the Eighties. It was recently, rightfully, awarded a place in the ‘Top 100 Comic Book Runs’ of all time (The majority of the plot for the film comes from this run).

    Scroll down to 61st place:

    As a true fan of the original comics, I was geared up for this movie to disappoint.
    I read this post this morning and decided to bite the bullet and go see it.

    It’s nice to have read a recommendation, and then come home having thoroughly enjoyed it to read a bunch of comments from people who were willing to suspend disbelief and still having a good old chat about the details. (Instead of a bunch of trolls saying “It sucked!”, well, except “dave”… there’s always one of them)

    The thing is though, Tony Stark used to carry the suit around in a briefcase 😐

  39. quasidog

    Absolutely loved it. There were a few parts I would change, like the end, and I would have shortened the introduction leading up to the first suit a bit .. and then extended the main suit fight scenes. All up however it was every bit the ‘comic book movie’ I thought it would be. I really can’t take it too seriously, but If the movie tried to take on a tone that tried to explain every little detail of science, I think you would take away from the ‘feel’ that a comic book story can bring. (I say this being an avid ‘Marvel’ and ‘DC’ collector for many years)

    Heroes in ‘super-suits’ that can withstand impacts at great speeds, and creatures like ‘The Hulk’ that can also do so, are really just like the ‘cowboys’ in older ‘western movies’ that smashed through glass windows in bar fights and never get cut up, or have their skin lacerated. This is usually done to accelerate the story, and keep it moving. Comic books have been doing it this way for decades, so to take that to the big screen and give it the same ‘feel’ helps to remind the viewer they are in the realm of the fantastic. If Iron Man had died from one of his high velocity impacts into concrete, the story would be pretty short. But as a few people already pointed out, the suit has inertial dampening systems and such on it in the comics version anyway. They just don’t mention it too much in the film.

    Looking forward to ‘The Incredible Hulk’ now. Maybe they will do it right this time. ;p

  40. vectr

    “As a true fan”

    Dear oh dear… did I just say that?

  41. Mark Martin

    Will. M said:

    “Didn’t the early astronauts wear diapers?”

    I don’t recall how the earliest astronauts did this, but as it turns out, modern shuttle astronauts wear diapers while on EVA. My understanding is that they generally do their best not to soil them.

  42. Mooney

    The conceit about the “rockets” Iron Man uses is that they’re not rockets, they’re “repulsors”. No propellant necessary, or somesuch, even though they chose to show the effect with smoke and whatnot.

    That’s why a point is made about Stark’s “repulsor technology” when he’s demonstrating the Jericho to the troops.

    And, hey, getting to Afghanistan is simpler if you make a sub-orbital hop out of it… except for the icing problem 😉

  43. BMcP

    Yeah when I saw him fly into the concrete wall while testing his rockets, I thought “several broken ribs if he’s lucky” too, because just watching.. ouch!

    However, I am used to seeing people sort of shrug off stuff like that in comic and action-adventure flicks, it is that ‘standard of disbelief” you have to have to enjoy the movie. I am sure they could come up with some “comicbook” explanation why he could survive hits like that, we just gotta roll with it. :)

  44. Mark Martin
    Will. M said:
    “Didn’t the early astronauts wear diapers?”
    I don’t recall how the earliest astronauts did this

    Ask Alan Shepard (sp?). After a long wait for his sub-orbital flight (pre John Glenn) he had nothing but the actual suit.



  45. I just put surviving the crashes down to the “Patented Stark Industries repulsor technology”. If he’s screwing around with the laws of momentum already….

    But the deep growly voice bugged me – it’s so cliched. They’ve got all the other tech and can’t install some good loudspeakers?

    re macho : my wife was squealing with glee at the various scenes of destruction. Especially the flamethrowers. Sometimes that woman disturbs me 😀

  46. Garfunkel

    Running in high heels… I’ve seen my wife running in 15cm spikes, no problems. And she said that you can run over a mesh like that too. You just have to tip-toe it! Girls lose heels when they forget that. She says it’s not that hard either, one only has to practice it! And yeah, we both loved the movie!

  47. BachFan

    Oh, I’ve run in 4-inch heels myself and, similarly, I’ve walked across subway grates putting no weight on the heels of my feet to avoid getting stuck…. It’s just that if one’s running away from an 8-foot metal destruction machine, one isn’t going to get the speed that Pepper Potts showed in the movie, by running on tip-toe. (Try it sometime — I always end up with a mincing, really short stride that’s useless for speed.)

  48. 1st weekend: $100M!
    (2nd place: $15M)


  49. Robbie

    BA: “Falling from the sky from several thousand meters up = dead guy. Period.”

    He never falls thousands of meters in the movie. He slows down and stops, then falls just a short distance. If I remember correctly.

    Bachfan: “It’s just that if one’s running away from an 8-foot metal destruction machine,”

    His machine was at least King Kong size.

  50. Robbie

    The Iron Monger was completely insane. Stark Industries would be by far the richest company in the history of the planet with the Arc reactor technology after it was shrunk down and cheapened. Way more money in that than selling weapons.

  51. Koro

    Well, everyone sees a couple of nits with every movie. I thoroughly enjoyed the film especially since I turned on my “comic-book-movie switch” before seeing it.

    I had no trouble with him smashing into the wall, since it was made of Stark SoftCrete(c).

    The only issue I had a problem with was:

    The paralyzation device. To me, it seemed a little too deus ex machina for my taste. It was too convenient. Secondly, it was an extremely useful, non-lethal weapon, that Tony should have probably incorporated into his suit. He would have been able to subdue the terrorists without resorting to killing them.

    Other than that, I had no real issues with the story. The end fight was a classic Marvel scene. Hokey? Well, it’s a movie based on a comic book…so it worked for me.

    Finally, there was one editing mistake my friend caught, but extremely minor. There’s one scene where the Audi doesn’t have a front license plate, but it does in all the other scenes it’s showed. I noticed it on a subsequent viewing (my 3rd…sigh).


  52. ThomasJeffersonJr

    Tony Stark has money, power, fame, weapons, a cliffside beach
    house in Malibu, sports cars, robots, a house with AI, really hot
    women who want to sleep with him, and a power suit that can fly
    and beat the crap outta anybody.

    Noting the above, ask me how much he cares if the physics is
    correct or not? I know I sure wouldn’t.

    It’s about being happy, not scientifically accurate, in this world.

  53. Joe Meils

    Interestingly, the moments that got the biggest response from the audiance were NOT the super strength, nor the flying. Maybe you guys had a different experience in the showings you were at, but in the one I went to, the biggest rounds of applause were for the times when the tech was simply so utterly advanced that the “bad guys” had no idea what was happening to them.

    (spoiler: stop reading this if you haven’t seen it yet)

    The moment when Tony solves the “human sheild” problem during the villiage rescue made the audiance come unglued! For a moment, it seemed all was lost.. then a grid pops up like the “face recognition” systems you get on some digital cameras… only… just the bad guys faces are I.D.ed… and the bullets fired from the suits guns home in on the targets…

    The idea that POSSIBLY we could build weapons systems that don’t harm innocent bystanders really hit a chord, it seems…

    The other thing that struck me was the Jerico missile system. As I understand it, we used something similar to take out several of Saddam’s tank columns… one missile fired, and over a dozen tanks and their crews are killed.

    Sure, Ironman is a total fantasy… but the line that Jeff Bridges character says about “the lack of technology has always been an Achellies heel in this part of the world” definitely rings true…

    Imagine if Tony Stark had been forced to study creationisim, instead of science. Or what what technological weapons our grandkids could be facing, if we shrink away form science and technology, just so some religious nuts can push their BS in a science classroom, allowing others to get ahead of us.

  54. ThomasJeffersonJr

    Joe Meils, Robocop did essentially the same thing in his second film.

    I did not see Robocop 2 in a movie theater, so I don’t know how the
    audiences reacted to it then.

    As for places like Afghanistan being inferior due to a lack of
    technology, those places may get messed up, but note how
    centuries of conquerors still end up retreating from those
    places with their tails between their legs (if they are lucky)
    despite being “superior”. This definitely included the Soviets
    and something tells me the Coalition forces won’t last against
    a determined band of “primitives” who are used to adversity,
    are quite willing to die for their beliefs, know their lands far
    better than any enemy, and always outnumber the enemy.

    I have no fondness for those places or their cultural beliefs,
    but I do respect the fact that they are not helpless and not
    afraid to defend themselves. I wonder if the latest round of
    “conquerors” will learn anything from history?

  55. James Reynolds

    Allium – I just realized that we won’t see ‘Non-Jeff Bridges Bald Bad Guy’ in any sequels, although I also pegged him for The Mandarin. When Stane’s goons ‘cleaned up’ at the end of that scene, why would they have left Baldie out? Stane is a monster, but he’s a smart monster.

    Besides, Baldie is not Chinese AFAICS (although ‘Chinese’ takes in a wide range of ethnicity. I’m not an anthropologist, so please don’t swarm me).

  56. autumn

    Just saw it with my two stepsons (ten and eight years old), and the ten year old and I loved it. The younger one probably got a little impatient with the exposition, and a few scenes were a little age-inappropriate for him (yes, I know this is my fault, but I doubt that comic violence will haunt him), so his review was mixed.
    I absolutly loved the last scene where Tony tries to remind Pepper of their memorable moment, and she reminds the audience of the huge plot-hole left by the meeting of Tony and Stane seconds later.
    So, agreeing with most, I say, suspend your disbelief (the original suit had huge eye-holes, how could not a single bullet have found one) and enjoy.

  57. autumn

    @James Reynolds,
    My boy actually asked about the bald dude, and I assumed, as you have, that he was assasinated by Stane’s men. Stane even says that the temporary paralysis is “the least of your problems”.
    His escape from that scene is fodder for a new scene in the next(ish) movie, if it did occur.

  58. Buzz Parsec

    Koro -You’re right. Speaking of nits, why didn’t Renault’s men look in Sam’s piano? Just because *he*’s not musical, doesn’t mean his men wouldn’t think of it. And what the heck is a letter of transit anyway? And that scene of driving around in Paris in a convertible looked *completely* fake. They never heard of CGI?

  59. Shaded Spriter

    I got the Innertia when the MK1 crashed into the sanddune.

    The 10% part…I forgot about it because I was just LAUGHING TOO HARD!

  60. I was so glad this was an excellent movie. When my son was in first grade he had a horrible teacher, and he left the grade hardly being able to read. Throughout the entire summer we read Iron Man comics, with him reading the Iron Man / Tony Stark parts, and me reading the other parts. He’s about to graduate college now, and we were second and third in line to see the first showing. It was a movie to remember.

  61. Nigel Depledge

    I really can’t believe that no-one else has commented on this:- during the early part of the end credits, the song playing on the soundtrack is none other than Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” (without the lyrics or guitar solo, natch). Which I thought was very cool. But then, the main reason I wanted to see the film was because they used the Sabbath soundtrack in the trailers I saw on TV. That and BIG STOMPING ROBOTS, of course. :-)

  62. ThomasJeffersonJr

    Another thing occured to me. We are being manipulated into
    LIKING a playboy billionnaire who lives like a prince off making

    Sure, he becomes an enlightened good guy after spending a
    few months in an Afghani cave, but you don’t see him selling
    all his posessions and wearing sack cloth, do you?

    All this film does is make everyone want more material things
    than ever, plus use women as play toys.

    I feel dirty now.

  63. James Reynolds

    Autumn – Yep, he could have survived. We didn’t -see- him being killed, but the internal logic of the scene says that he was done in. Stane does not leave an enemy alive behind him.

    OTOH, in comic books, he isn’t dead until we see the body, have it autopsied, cremated, mixed into a slab of concrete, and sunken to the bottom of the Marianas Deep. And then you got to worry about clones.

    Or he could be a Skrull.

    Y’know, with the energy that Obie was exposed to in his last scene, he could be mutated or Somewhere Else…

    I love comicbooks!

  64. James Reynolds

    P. S. … Or an android!

  65. Iron Man was practically flawless as a super hero flick; it drops pretty obvious hints that would indicate a sequel as well… i’m thinking the next one should be equally great

  66. Noclevername

    “Also, the timing was all weird. How long does it take to get to Afghanistan, even at, say, Mach 3? The answer is: a long time. Hours. How long can he thrust like that? What kind of propellant was he using? Wouldn’t he get uncomfortable, holding his hands like that all that time?”

    In the comics, and a few novels, Iron Man often uses suborbital ballistic flights for intercontinental travel. A few of the IM novels also mention that he sometimes uses additional throwaway tanks of fuel and/or oxygen to boost him for longer hauls.

    And in free-fall, holding his hands like that takes very little effort. 😉

    (…I don’t think the propellant is anything that would exist in the real world. File it with adamantium, vibranium and all the other ‘ums that defy physics in comics.)

  67. BZ-Avatar

    True fans of Iron Man know that originally only the red gloves, helmet and boots were carried in Tony’s briefcase. What? Let me explain…

    The chest plate never came off as the batteries? inside kept his heart beating and was, therefore, surgically attached. He had to charge it from a big cable at times so I assume it was some sort of big, bullet-proof, chest-shaped battery. I also assume he wore the red ‘shorts’ part under his clothes also, but that it could come off if desired as he was an very available millionaire bachelor… :)

    The cuffs of the gloves and boots had the yellow ‘chain mail’ inside them, which he pulled up and locked to the rest (red) part of the suit. The alloy was incredibly light, the suitcase fairly large, Tony pretty strong… got it? Hey, for the 50’s and 60’s it was pretty cool…

    As to the movie, well, I think they tried very hard to make it believable given the current background technology available in both real life and popular fiction. First thing in that list was to dump the suitcase bit… even though it would have been cool for us old-timers it still would have made Mr. Bad Astronomy choke on his popcorn… :) The ‘Transformers’ method of putting it on looked to me a lot like some of the Starcraft cutscenes I’ve seen on the web. The 3D design bit was very cool, and the HUD display inside the suit was so sweet I want one for my car… so for Iron Man embracing modern technology is so fitting it’d be a crime not to.

    ‘Quite a few people have mentioned ‘inertial dampers’, obviously a staple in sci-fi nowadays but not even thought of when Iron Man was introduced. At some point in the Marvel Comics Universe they introduced Vibranium™ (another post explained that well), which means the organic part of Iron Man is pretty much impact-free. Remember, this is the Universe that contains Adamantium™, the unbreakable metal so popular with mutants, and the mystic Uru™ metal a certain Thunder God had made into a hammer… (hmmm, wonder where I could get a suit made of a Vibranium/Adamantium/Uru alloy?) :)

    Now for propulsion… it’s amazing what can happen when you have unlimited energy, take inertia out of the equation, and can leave propellant behind in the same Time Capsule as the suitcase. Modernize! Update! Excelsior!

    Long long ago we envisioned using ion engines that use charged particles for propulsion, to allow a nuclear-powered spaceship to move without carrying propellant. That was the first thing I thought of when I saw the blue ‘repulsor beam’ in the movie. It wasn’t a ‘repulsor field’, just pushing things away, it was more of a ‘force beam’ that literally hits something. I also like how it has to slowly dawn on Tony that it’s got a future as a weapon, given how he made weapons for a living and all… :) I also think that if you have a ‘repulsor force’ you’d end up with both repulsors and tractors, reinforcing my idea that it’s more like an ion engine in nature.

    I’m told there’s a military sub-orbital transport that uses a pulse engine that can be anywhere in the world in under four hours. WHO told me this I can’t say, but given unlimited energy, something that accelerates or emits lots of particles at close to the speed of light, total insulation from inertia, and a decent life-support system I don’t find it odd that Tony could have made a trans-continental trip in a decent amount of time. I’m pretty sure the suit has auto-pilot (and waste handling) and that he’s used to sleeping on long flights.

    Kudos to whoever brought up Cyborg, and how they dumbed it down for the $6million man… a true cyborg would be more like those shown so well in Ghost in the Shell or something more like a Terminator, not just some guy with a mechanical arm.

    One thing they didn’t have when Iron Man was thought up was shown very subtly in the movie, when in fact it would be the key to making the whole thing work. It’s something that’s around us all the time, so much so that we can’t even see it anymore. Back then it would be considered almost magic, and even now that we’re totally dependent on it there are only a few ‘wizards’ that understand, create, fix, or corrupt it.

    What am I talking about? Software, of course. The world runs on it. It’s in virtually every device you use from your Microwave Oven to your car. Modern jets can’t fly without it (controlled instability, anyone?) and your car won’t run either. For Iron Man’s suit it’s obviously watching things, controlling the limbs when impacts occur, keeping ‘rag doll physics’ from becoming an issue. :) It was software that let him design the suit, make the suit, and run the suit. Software is obviously Tony’s true genius…

    Finally, there’s no getting around the “Arc Reactor”. Sure, he managed to do in a cave in Afghanistan what he presumably couldn’t do with all of his father’s labs and resources at his disposal, but thats’ why he’s special… and people can often achieve great things with the proper application of the right kind of stress. Maybe all he lacked was motivation… Anyway, I assume this is one of those things that they did, then couldn’t figure out how they did it to mass produce it. His making another one was a 1 in a million chance, regardless of how large. Of course, he did it yet one more time, so maybe it was a 2 in a million chance… anyway, it’s not something they could mass produce as there’s some element of chance in it’s creation. (evil thought, maybe each time you start one up there’s a good chance it’ll vaporize a few city blocks. Shows you how much he risked to make them.)

    I also doubt it’s a fusion process as there’s no heat produced. I think we’ll have to borrow from the latest craze in unlimited energy used in modern fiction, ‘zero point energy’. From Stargate’s ZPM’s to the Incredible’s Syndrome, ‘Zero Point Energy’ is energy drawn from the fabric of space itself. To me this is the only kind of ‘reactor’ I can see working inside someone’s chest.

    As to why it’s in his chest, I’ll also add that the ‘barbs near the heart’ bit would work in sunny Afghanistan but once a billionaire got back to modern medical facilities I’m pretty sure they’d find a way to remove them. I much prefer the idea that he has a mechanical heart that needs electricity to work, but that’s such a minor point in an otherwise incredibly enjoyable movie that I can live with it.

    Last but not least, Gwennyth is an angel, and can run across even water in high heels and not trip… :)

  68. Chup@Cabra

    Haven’t read your web site in quite awhile, so I was suprised to find a movie review like this (comic book movies aren’t ment to take science seriously, after all ^_^).

    I’m suprised you like it, even with the nitpicks (which I agree with).

    I also have one other one: his power source seems to be some kind of “Cold Fusion”, making a ridiculous output of energy from a small amount of material.

    As far as I know, Cold Fusion has been disproven quite well. Also, if he has made this miraculous power source, why doesn’t he release it to the world to solve energy problems?

    But then, as we all know, “Reed Richards [and Tony Stark] are Useless” ^_^:

  69. Tom

    Hi Phil.

    I’m a bit of of a keen amateur when it comes to science, but as for your comments on the suit, it’s stated that the arc reactor produces 50 Gigajoules per second. If the first stage of the Saturn Five produced 190 Gigajoules per second, and attained the speed it did (20,000 kmph(?)), and weighing as much as it did (serious tonnage), then 50 GJ/s (they mean Gigawatts) converted to pushing a 200lb man in a 300-500lb suit through the air will send him beyond Mach 3.

    As for inertia and decceleration, racing drivers have survived forces of high G decceleration when crashing, and I think the suit would have compressed air bags to hold his head and torso in place. I’m sure he’d think of that.

    This is Tony Stark, summa cum laude from MIT!

    Still, how he’d prevent his ribcage from breaking or arterial tearing… Ask Stan Lee!

    It was a good movie, and a good review.

  70. Tom

    Hi Phil.

    I’m a bit of of a keen amateur when it comes to science, but as for your comments on the suit, it’s stated that the arc reactor produces 50 Gigajoules per second. If the first stage of the Saturn Five produced 190 Gigajoules per second, and attained the speed it did (fast), and weighing as much as it did (serious tonnage), then 50 GJ/s (they mean Gigawatts) converted to pushing a 200lb man in a 300-500lb suit through the air will send him beyond Mach 3. As for a previous poster’s comments, the Zeropoint energy idea is not necessary, and more difficult than a small antimatter reactor. it would require just micrograms of antimatter per second to generate Gigawatts of power; 1kg of antimatter yields 180 Petajoules of energy.

    As for inertia and decceleration, racing drivers have survived forces of high G decceleration when crashing, and I think the suit would have compressed air bags to hold his head and torso in place. I’m sure he’d think of that.

    This is Tony Stark, summa cum laude from MIT!

    Still, how he’d prevent his ribcage from breaking or arterial tearing… Ask Stan Lee!

    It was a good movie, and a good review.

  71. metamind

    ok, about the Iron Man jets – it is possible to build engine which don’t need the any fuel as long it is working in the Earth’s atmosphere. it’s called plasma magnetohydrodynamic jet. it uses gases obtained from earth atmosphere, heats them with electric discharge arc to obtain plasma, then jets it through shielded by magnetic field (which works also as propulsion controller) tube. if you have unlimited energy supply (like arc reactor), then you are able to operate indefinitely as long you stay within the range of Earth’s atmosphere. of course, if it’s the case in this movie, then there are some flaws in the presentation of this kind of propulsion system:

    1) plasma colors varies between red-violet-blue, not white.
    2) plasma jet has extremely high temperature – about 20000 degrees of Celsius, so it would melt/sublimate not only Tony’s lab but also everything he would touch with this flame.
    3) since it generates so incredible amounts of heat, plasma jet magnets, and all surfaces close to it’s exhaust have to be cooled all the time, probably by some kind of liquefied gas, like nitrogen, or helium, but the Iron Man armor don’t have any tanks containing it!
    4) there are no visible intakes of atmospheric gases, which should be transmitted through the armor to jet in insane quanities of it, especially when Iron Man goes supersonic!

    oh, and by the way – the energy source. maybe it’s like in Gundam 00 – reactor which obtains energy through the topological defects of the matter? it could be the case, since miniaturization of such power source really should need the mind of genius…

  72. Caitlin

    Haven’t had the opportunity to see Iron Man, but your review makes it sound interesting, although it appears to have much Bad Science, like most action movies today.

  73. T. Webb

    In defense of the “quick trip” to Afghanistan, there is a deleted scene on the DVD where he travels to a party in Dubai, which is not far from Afghanistan.


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