The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Iron Man 2 can be found here.
The sequel takes place six months after the first one. The first scene of the film directly follows the ending of the first one, then after that scene, the film's timeline jumps forward six months.
Tony Stark/Iron Man, War Machine, Nick Fury and Black Widow appear. There are references to at least three other superheros: the Hulk is referenced in a news report of the aftermath of his university battle, Captain America's shield is featured, and after the end credits, Thor's hammer (Mjolnir) is seen.
Sam Rockwell plays Justin Hammer, a corporate rival of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) much in the same manner as in the comics, as an employer of many of Iron Man's supervillain enemies to explain why they gained extremely advanced weapons and only use them to directly commit violent crimes instead of profiting by bringing them into market. Mickey Rourke portrays Whiplash. The film character includes "elements from that comic book villain and Crimson Dynamo." Scarlett Johansson portrays The Black Widow in the film, although the character was portrayed as a 'good guy' (or girl). The Mandarin was also confirmed to appear as a behind-the-scenes presence, functioning as a set up for Iron Man 3, yet his presence was absent from the final film.
There are two versions of Nick Fury. The white Nick Fury is the original and has appeared in Marvel's comic books since 1964. This version of Nick Fury was depicted by David Hasselhoff in the 1998 TV movie, Nick Fury: Agent of Shield. In 2001 Marvel released a new line of comic books called Ultimate Marvel. This was a reboot that updated and streamlined all of Marvel's classic characters. Some characters were radically changed. The Ultimate Marvel version of Nick Fury was made black and designed, with the actor's permission, to look like Samuel L. Jackson. Both classic Marvel and Ultimate Marvel comics are released side-by-side, which means both versions of Nick Fury are available in comic books today. The Ultimate version has proven popular enough that it has been used as the basis for Nick Fury in the recent Marvel movies.
Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) doesn't speak with a Russian accent because she doesn't want anyone to suspect her of being an agent. Besides, it's never explicitly stated that she is Russian in this film. Also, she studied several languages. And when you become fluent in one, eventually there is no accent. In The Avengers, Romanoff mentions that she is indeed Russian, but also implies that she wants to distance herself from that fact; another good reason for dropping the accent.
For a variety of reasons, Marvel chose to offer the role to Don Cheadle and he accepted. There is no verified information as to why there was a split between Terrence Howard and Marvel, other than they wanted their original choice of Cheadle. There was a lot of speculation that Howard was replaced over contract negotiations. Already the highest paid in Iron Man, he had wanted more money for taking on a bigger role and also because the first movie had done so well. But Marvel did not want to renegotiate, and Howard was subsequently replaced. This is the version from Howard and has never been confirmed officially by Marvel.
Three scenes didn't make it to the theatrical release. (1) Natasha Romanoff tries out one of Tony Stark's repulsors, and Tony says "Nail it!". (2) Natasha says "Is it dirty enough?" Stark replies, "It's getting there." (Natasha's line remains; Stark's reply was cut.). (3) In the back of the plane, as he prepares to fly to the Stark Convention in Queens, NY, Pepper holds the Iron Man helmet. Tony says "Give me a smooch, I might not make it back." Pepper responds by kissing the mouth of the Iron Man mask and saying "Go get 'em boss." She throws it out of the aircraft; Tony says "You complete me" and jumps out after it.
Favreau said it was his intent to create a film trilogy for Iron Man. He later decided not to direct Iron Man 3 in favor of other projects and the directing job went to Shane Black. Iron Man 3 presently has a release date of May 2013. While Robert Downey Jr. is confirmed for 2012's The Avengers, Don Cheadle has confirmed that he will not appear in that film but that a War Machine spin-off is a possibility.
It is called the Swinging Sticks Kinetic Desk Sculpture. A video can be seen here
Howard Stark (Tony's father) built and desgined Captain America's (Steve Rogers) suit and also the shield. In Captain America: The First Avenger we see that Howard Stark had made quite a few prototypes for Cap's shield and Rogers picked one, the one he was frozen with. It's likely the shield that Tony has is just one of the prototypes. As we see it is incomplete and not the same material as the actual shield. In the comics series, Stark had outfitted the shield with electronic components to enhance it's flight capabilities, IE, to make it more accurate for Cap when he'd throw it as a weapon. However, Cap decided later to have the electronics removed because he said they decreased the shield's accuracy. The shield shown in this movie could be a version of the electronically enhanced one.
Both this film and the previous both imply that Tony likes to drink heavily. In this film, Pepper asks "are you drunk" when Stark offers her the CEO position, and Stark also gets extremely drunk during a party later in the film and starts destroying things in his own house. This film addresses the alcoholism more directly than the first but no characters say conclusively that Tony has a drinking problem.
"The football" is a term used by the US Secret Service to refer to the black briefcase that one agent always carries with them wherever the US President goes -- it's a specialized control panel that controls launch codes in the event that the President has to launch a nuclear counterstrike if his country is attacked. Stark's briefcase armor is housed in a similar case. For fun, the writers took a cue from the real thing.
Yes and no. All films made under the Marvel Studios banner (i.e., Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America) are all set in the same universe, with the characters crossing over, culminating in The Avengers (2012) movie which will tie these films together. Marvel also owns Punisher and Blade, however Punisher (2004), Punisher: War Zone (2008), Blade (1998), Blade II (2002) and Blade: Trinity (2004) are not in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Other Marvel-based films owned by other studios are NOT set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, due to differing ownership. This includes Spider-Man and Ghost Rider (both owned by Sony), the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Daredevil (all owned by Fox).
Stan Lee is dressed as Larry King when Tony Stark is leaving the Stark Expo.
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