As of 11 April 2010, I have never read the Iron Man comic title. Therefore I cannot judge whether Downey was faithful to the rôle. However, it is my perception that he was just perfect and believable as the not at all self-conscious overachiever; that he was natural as Tony Stark and that Stark probably is exactly as depicted. I believe my perception is caused by Downey’s remarkable talent, especially if Stark is nothing like that. I would also venture to guess that, if Stark was not as depicted, then he has probably already been so written since. These days, comic character depictions in films do feed back into the comics, at least in DC Comics’s case, so my guess is that Marvel’s should not be very different.
Regarding technology, forget the suit; I want Stark’s operational system. Why, he duplicates the system’s core within the suit (not much to ask, really, what with today’s 8GB flash drives), establishes remote connections, builds an intuitive interface and even imports all preferences from desktop, just like nuthin’.
The soundtrack is just perfectly suited (suited, get it?) to the movie, especially when Iron Man is in the air.
Now, there is plenty of military hardware in view in this film, especially aircraft. Let us go one piece at a time.
At 00:04:28, the aircraft in cutaway view is an F-8E Crusader. Is the view taken from Air Enthusiast? Does anyone out there know? If you can confirm, please leave a comment underneath.
At 00:04:37, the text reads “Will the Arc Reactor save all our energy needs?”. This is almost certainly paving the way for more to come. Unfortunately, you only get to read it on the DVD issue.
At 00:04:41, the MIT Tech Review describes the same robot arm that Stark employs in his home lab. We can therefore see that it goes a long way back and that they have probably built much rapport since. At 00:04:43, an explanation is given about the robot’s artificial intelligence, which learns Stark’s gestures, vocabulary and speech modes heuristically. Given some twenty-odd years, this would explain how the machines respond to his instructions so naturally. Let me rephrase what I said above: I want his whole software.
Of course you realise that Stark Industries’ logo was taken directly from Lockheed’s. Just google for Lockheed: all you need do is remove two lines from Lockheed’s logo and you have Stark’s.
At 00:05:23, the picture shows one F-16 from Hill AFB (tailcode HL). The aircraft is mirrored, hence the look of a JH code.
Stark’s jet is, of course, a heavily modified Boeing Business Jet. CGI does wonders, including removing the tail and engines and adding very stealthy intakes on top of the fuselage.
One wonders why Stark’s lab has a fridge with so much mineral water and other soft drinks. This may be a reference (albeit inverted) to the character’s alcoholism in the comics.
At the front of Stark Industries’ arc reactor lab entrance, we see some of the heavy hardware they have presumably built in the past. I do believe that, close to the gate, that is a mockup of Boeing’s YUH-61 loser to the UTTAS competition (which was, of course, won by Sikorsky’s YUH-60).
At 01:14, the models seem to be those of XB-70, F-22, something tail-less with two pairs of wings (possibly X-36), YAL-1A, Boeing Bird of Prey or X-45, and F-20 or some similar business jet.
At 01:19, the planforms in succession seem to be those of F-15, Su-25, B-1, Shorts 330 (C-23 Sherpa), MiG-25 and T-33.
At 01:21, what seems an F-22 is actually a YF-22.
During the fight with the F-22s, one of the aircraft launches an AMRAAM. In reaction, Iron Man releases flares. Of course, flares are only supposed to be useful against heat-seeking missiles, which is not the case with AMRAAM.
Anyway the F-22s are marked FF, indicating the 1st TFW, based at Langley AFB and the first USAF wing to receive the F-22 as replacements for the F-15. FF stands for First Fighter. In the Brazilian-dubbed version, when everyone in the control centre is trying to figure where the bogey (i.e. Iron Man) comes from, the name Langley is used as that of a person.
At 01:30, the picture of a B-24 production line is a very famed stock photo of WWII aircraft production.
At 01:30, there is a very nice Dell product placement. Discrete enough, yet conspicuous enough for me to check for any repeats. Which came in seconds.
Around 01:31, there are many, many images of missiles. I could not freeze-frame for all, but I got a sample that is probably good enough, as the images seem to repeat a lot. As far as I can discern, the missiles are 80s-vintage, with some French round-wing AS-type, a Sea Eagle lookalike (though stubbier), a two-stage RBS 70 lookalike, something that resembles an Igla, some AAMs, a Harpoon (RDM-84?), something with the probably fictitious name of Sea Killer Mk 3, and an Exocet SSM. However, in real life the invoices would hardly ever contain pictures of their products!
At 01:33, there is a little more product placement: the Financial Times‘s.
At 01:34, it seems to me that one of the two models is of the XF-92.
Let us list the aircraft that have appeared in the movie but not been mentioned so far: C-17, CH-46, CH-47, RQ-4, and plenty of ED-tailcoded (Edwards’s) aircraft.
Also, cameos by Stan Lee (as Hugh Hefner) and Jon Favreau (the movie’s director, as Stark’s driver Happy Hogan).