The last real movie I saw in theatres (not counting MFA films, The Tracey Fragments at the Boston Independent Film Festival, the advance screening of Juno at Fenway, or the advance screening of Southland Tales at the Harvard Film Archive) was PotC 3 with Trelawney late last May -- also at Fenway, actually.
I went into the movie knowing:
1. Tony Stark and Pepper Potts have a relationship reminiscent of Josh and Donna from The West Wing.
2. In a post-credits scene, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury shows up and says something like, "You're not the only superhero."
3. SHIELD is in the movie. (So as soon as Coulson listed the big long acronym I thought, "Oh, that must be SHIELD." I wouldn't have thought of it otherwise because I know SHIELD only from reading Astonishing X-Men, which is compartmentalized in my brain from this comic I know nothing about.)
(Entertainingly, a number of times during the early parts of the movie, I found myself thinking of the Robert Downey Jr. in hackthis' RPS/Entourage fic This One Time at Band Camp .)
[quoting from IMDb primarily]
From early on, they really drive home what a sleazy horrid person Stark is -- blowing off an awards ceremony to gamble, the stripper pole!
He really is charming, though.
Christine Everheart: You've been called the Da Vinci of our time. What do you say to that?
Tony Stark: Absolutely ridiculous. I don't paint.
Christine Everheart: And what do you say to your other nickname, the Merchant of Death?
Tony Stark: That's not bad. Let me guess... Berkeley?
Christine Everheart: Brown, actually.
Tony Stark: Well, Ms. Brown. It's an imperfect world, but it's the only one we got. I guarantee you the day weapons are no longer needed to keep the peace, I'll start making bricks and beams for baby hospitals.
Christine Everheart: Rehearse that much?
Tony Stark: Every night in front of the mirror before bedtime.
Christine Everheart: I can see that.
Tony Stark: I'd like to show you firsthand.
Christine Everheart: Have you ever lost an hour of sleep your whole life?
Tony Stark: I'd be prepared to lose a few with you.
(I referred to her as "Miss Berkeley-Brown" for the duration of the movie. Which is probably bad of me.)
(IMDb tells me she's played by Leslie Bibb, which names sounds familiar.... *reads down list* Lu on Crossing Jordan!)
I was not expecting her to sleep with him. That annoyed me.
Christine Everheart: After all these years, Tony still has you picking up the dry cleaning.
Virginia 'Pepper' Potts: I do anything and everything Mr. Stark requires. Including occasionally taking out the trash. Will that be all?
Hi, she's a reporter for Vanity Fair and a graduate of Brown. She's trashy 'cause she had a one night stand with your boss -- whom you're clearly in love with? That bit left a bad taste in my mouth.
Reading some other writeups, I see on May 4, likeadeuce wrote, "Working on writeup post per your request right now, and noting that The Order spinoff is ending, and Pepper is set to come back to the newly launched Iron Man series that starts this week. However, since the new Iron Man writer is Matt Fraction, who also wrote The Order, I'm hoping for some continuity b/t the series. Incidentally, Fraction's Pepper is nearly as ruthless as Tony (visibly more so, in fact, as we mostly see Tony putting on his good guy face and having her do the dirty work) -- which is why the 'taking out the trash' scene that I know some people hated worked and felt natural to me. It didn't occur to me that we were supposed to approve of Pepper's words or actions; I thought the point was to show us that she could be as much of an asshole as her boss, and that their relationship was on the dysfunctional side."
[Oh, and when Pepper insisted on haranguing him about stuff before she let him go to his flight... yeah, totally reminded me of my job.]
After they fired the Jericho/s, I was expecting to see after the dust settled entire mountains vanished -- Walls of Jericho and all that (though ironically, those came down without any weaponry at all -- see Joshua 5:13-6:27/Wikipedia).
"We call them the walking dead." That is really horrible... knowing you've got a week to live and then shrapnel will have migrated to your internal organs. It made me uneasy to some degree, because hi, just because there are negative consequences to what you have done doesn't mean it is inherently bad (not that he said, "Oh, that's horrible, and now that I've suffered the consequences of it I renounce the military industrial complex" -- okay, later he says that, but I wasn't actually expecting it at this moment, I was just reacting to it from the perspective of someone who hangs out with liberals and often feels like any amount of human suffering is interpreted as cause to condemn something, with no attention to paid to the human suffering that might be caused by ceasing the first thing).
An iron suit in the desert heat? Brilliant plan. [rolls eyes]
I was really impressed that he actually does know so much about hands-on making stuff. We were prepped for this with the early scene in his workshop, but I was still impressed.
Trelawney was really pleased when Yinsen said they spoke lots of languages, 'cause they'd all been speaking Arabic, which was bothering her because in Afghanistan they would be speaking Farsi, but if they're from a lot of different places and are using Arabic as a lingua franca then that makes sense. She said the only in the film Farsi was the kid calling for his father.
Yinsen: "This was always the plan."
I was grateful for that 'cause his saying he was going to see his family when he left this place seemed bizarre optimism for a guy who had seemed really grounded and pragmatic. When Stark said they were gonna see his family and Yinsen said his family was dead and he was going to see them no, oh that was killer.
If you're coated in iron and you slam into sand at that velocity, you are totally gonna break a lot of bones.
Rhodes to Stark: "How was the fun-vee?"
Best response ever.
Rhodes to Stark: "Next time you ride with me."
♥!!! And his voice is almost cracking.
Rhodes holding Stark was totally shippy -- except that part of me dislikes that I sexualize everything, that fandom has trained me to read all intimacy as inherently having a sexual component, because that does a disservice to the varieties of intimacy that exist
Yes it's an important lesson that your weapons may get into the wrong hands, but ceasing weapons production isn't a solution. You have to have some sort of a plan to help build peace in the region or something. *insert Iraq parallels here*
I don't feel like current A.I. technology is at a level where you can banter with your computer (and it can banter back), I was willing to suspend disbelief for that because it was kind of awesome.
selanak commented: "Jarvis not as Tony's butler but as a computer system he designed (complete with sarcastic comments) amused the hell out of me and was a great choice because it avoided the obvious Alfred/Batman parallel for movie watchers and emphasized that for all his playboy routine, Tony is actually more comfortable interacting with technology than with real people safe a very few."
When he told Pepper to incinerate the old heart, I called: "She's gonna save it, and it's gonna save him," though I had no idea how the latter was gonna happen.
[Edit: That first scene of Tony videoing his attempts at flying, I thought, "This is Claire Bennett, and as far as you know, that was attempt number one."]
The multiple crashes asked me to suspend my disbelief about human physical frailty far too many times in a short period of time. And what about, "If my math is right, which it always is"? How does he keep botching stuff like the thrust?
The conversation/s about the blue dress reminded me of Josh and Donna's red dress.
"I have you for the other eight." Total heart right there... and so Josh and Donna.
She keeps saying, "The people I work with," which confused me because she seems much like a solo operation running Stark's life, but I guess there's the crew of the private jet and the chauffeurs and probably somebody cooks for them and so on and so forth.
He goes to get drinks and the reporter accosts him and he goes to find Obadiah and they do a photoshoot and I was like, "You left Pepper."
When it turned out that Obadiah had been selling arms to the warlords, I was a little frustrated because then it makes it this easy scenario of of course double-dealing is bad, and Obadiah's the bad guy ... and okay, it is a blockbuster action movie and its purpose isn't to have a highly nuanced discussion of war or anything. I did actually enjoy the movie a lot, I just frequently got frustrated by the ambivalent politics behind it... like it felt like a liberal agenda movie at times but at times it also really wasn't.
I hadn't expected that Obadiah actually put out the hit on Stark.
Virginia 'Pepper' Potts: Tony, you know that I would help you with anything, but I cannot help you if you're going to start all this again.
Tony Stark: There is nothing except this. There's no art opening, no charity, nothing to sign. There's the next mission, and nothing else.
Virginia 'Pepper' Potts: Is that so? Well, then I quit.
Tony Stark: You stood by my side all these years while I reaped the benefits of destruction. Now that I'm trying to protect the people I've put in harm's way, you're going to walk out?
Virginia 'Pepper' Potts: You're going to kill yourself, Tony. I'm not going to be a part of it.
Tony Stark: I shouldn't be alive... unless it was for a reason. I'm not crazy, Pepper. I just finally know what I have to do. And I know in my heart that it's right.
At first I was confused as to why Pepper was refusing since clearly she would do anything for him, but "You're going to kill yourself, Tony. I'm not going to be a part of it." made it make sense.
"I know in my heart" = purposeful call back to the gift she'd given him, y/n?
When Stark comes back from Gulmira, he rejects his previous philosophy of "Peace means having a bigger stick than the other guy," but with his badass Iron Man costume, he's back to the "bigger stick" mentality. (I don't entirely oppose the "bigger stick" mentality, but it frustrates me that I can't tell whether the film is trying to have it both ways or if I'm supposed to be interpreting this as some sort of growth and development in his thinking -- it's probably the former, since superheroes basically by definition operate above/outside the law... which again I'm not entirely opposed to but which is something I think would make liberals uncomfortable outside of the realm of fantasy.)
He's such an adolescent -- stupid shit like flying all over the skies of Malibu with barely an practice.
I think it was when he showed back up in Gulmira that I thought, "I'm the motherfucking Batman." [Edit: Turns out the actual phrase is, "I'm the goddamn Batman."]
He gives Rhodes crap for not having listened to him before, but hi, Rhodes didn't wanna talk to him before because Stark was a jerk. It would be nice if I felt like Stark actually learned about treating people decently rather than just having it all work out because as it turns out Stark _is_ right and so of course Rhodes ultimately comes over to his side.
When Obadiah attacked Stark and was talking to him while he was paralyzed, at one point I thought, "Pepper's still on the phone," but apparently not.
[Oh, and when Stark is crawling to get the previous model heart... I was totally reminded of Mal in "Out of Gas" (Firefly).]
When Rhodes looks at the suit in the shop and says, "Next time," I almost asked Eric (who was sitting next to me), "Does Stark have a sidekick in the comics?"
I was unclear with the timeline of Obadiah getting back from Gulmira with the suit and talking to Pepper in the office and berating the scientists. I didn't feel like much time had passed, but they really didn't do anything to indicate time passing any previous time in the movie (you just sort of inferred from the increase in what had been built in the suit), so it's plausible that I was just supposed to understand that enough time had passed.
Early in the street fight I thought: I want Stark to win by being smarter not just by having the better suit (I hadn't realized at this point that Obadiah had souped up his suit), so I liked when Stark went for the high altitude 'cause I knew he would then win 'cause of the ice. Though okay, he only knows about that trick because he went for an adolescent joyride.
Also, holding up that car? No way he has that kind of strength. Though I suppose if he's effectively just balancing it on top of himself -- letting the titanium suit do all the supporting work.
Falling into the reactor reminded me of that scene from one of the Star Wars movies.
How did Stark survive anyway? I was unclear on the logistics of that. (An IMDb synopsis says, "the energy wave from the Reactor also manages to re-charge Tony's heart battery, saving him from death.")
So he wins because he has people who love him (Obadiah would have overpowered him in the end if they'd kept fighting one-on-one, but Stark had backup in the form of Pepper).
And I did very much like the scene where he's talking about how he would have to have a girlfriend who knew his secret identity... and when he's talking about the alibi SHIELD provided and says he would like it to be just him and Pepper on the island/yacht.
I enjoyed Stark's rumor-planting about his being a superhero, but I was not expecting him to just up and say, "Yes, I am Iron Man," but I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised.
When Nick Fury said, "Mr. Stark, you've become part of a bigger universe. You just don't know it yet," I thought, "Oh! That's why SHIELD wanted to talk to him -- because he's one of them now." I honestly hadn't realized that duh, if SHIELD exists in this universe, then other superheroes exist in this universe as well.
skywaterblue commented on selenak's review:
Gwynneth Paltrow plays Pepper Potts like a first cousin of Donna Moss from West Wing, which strikes me as a good choiceI IMDb-ed, and the West Wing character was Special Agent Mike Casper (actor: Clark Gregg).
Good god, did you call that, made only the more obvious for me given that SHIELD guy was a recurring friend of Josh Lyman's who used to flirt with Donna.
likeadeuce: "A Newbies' Guide to Iron Man, Part 1"
liviapenn's movie reaction/writeup post.
Edit2: I disagree with some of Charlie Jane Anders' Iron Man review, Robert Downey Jr.'s Exposed Torso Is America, but I really like this bit:
So Tony Stark's body becomes a metaphor for American power, and the question of whether you can fix the abuses of power by exerting even more power. Tony is mortally wounded by seeing the results of his own arrogance in spreading massively destructive weapons in a part of the world he hardly understands. And he reacts by turning his own body into a super-weapon. Because the super-suit is powered by the same glowy disk that keeps Tony alive, we're never able to forget that it's an extension of his body rather than a costume. And as Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts reminds us in an understated but lip-quivering scene, Tony is putting his own body on the line to try and make things right. Unlike all the weapons Stark has sold before, this is a weapon he can control, precisely because it is his own body.