Iron Man kick-started the MCU back in 2008. Had it not been for the film’s success, it’s unlikely that the Marvel Universe would be the way that it is today. Revisiting the movie after binge-watching the Infinity Saga makes it so much better and throughout this post, we’re going to be breaking down some of the aspects that only really pay off once you’ve taken a trip through all 23 films.
Some amazing shots poetically pay off things down the line, items and elements that reoccur throughout and overall the film is a shining example of why the series is such an incredible piece of film.
We will be going into heavy spoiler territory for all 23 films so if you haven’t had a chance to watch them all then I highly recommend that you click away now!
Iron-Man Easter Eggs
The movie opens by thumping Back in Black by AC/DC. This very much becomes a theme of Stark throughout the film and it’s later used by Happy in Far From Home as Peter Parker creates his new suit.
This makes the passing of the torch feel full circle and we are almost immediately hit with a shot of Tony Starks hand holding a glass of single malt scotch on the rocks.
This is the same as he pours himself in Avengers when confronting Loki and it shows that the character has a preferred drink.
Drink in Hand Metaphor
However, the fact we open on Stark with his hand holding a glass of alcohol also symbolises his journey throughout the MCU.
Stark was an alcoholic and this is very much hammered home here. His hand is the main focus of the shot and this point would be brought full circle by his final act in Endgame.
The first time we see Stark it’s his hand doing something self-destructive to himself that shows his self-centred attitude. One of the last times we see him is through his hand doing something self-destructive for the good of others which shows how far he has come as a character.
It’s the perfect way to introduce the character and say goodbye to him hammering home just how much of an arc his character ended up going on.
In the humvee, he takes a selfie with a soldier who he makes fun of for holding up a peace sign. Stark says he’d be out of the job with peace but we see how far he has come upon exiting the cave and holding up a peace sign to an aircraft overhead.
In Age Of Ultron, he remarks how he just wants peace in our time and in Endgame when repairing his relationship with Cap he says he just wants peace.
After the group is ambushed we see a Stark rocket land beside him before it explodes.
This is similar to the Stark rocket that we hear haunted Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver when they were children.
Tony and His Father
We cut to 36 hours earlier and an award show that is being held in Las Vegas.
Here we learn of Tony’s past as well as Howard Stark.
Tony is seen building his robot arm Dum-E and in the article, we can see the mention of Stark building two robotic prototype A.I.s. This could be a nod to Ultron and Jarvis both of whom Stark ends up creating but it could also be a reference to Friday who ends up replacing Jarvis after he becomes the vision.
Dum-E of course becomes a nice bit of set dressing throughout the Iron Man trilogy and it’s nice that Stark still keeps around his first invention. He, of course, does this with all his suits too until he destroys them at the end of the third movie I just, I just hope Dum-E didn’t go the same way.
Howard’s death is discussed in the video and we can see that this was reported in a newspaper dated the 17th of December 1991. In Captain America Civil War we see from CCTV footage that The Winter Soldier killed the Starks on the 16th of December 1991 so it’s nice that this continuity detail has held up across all of the films in between.
Tony taking the reigns of the company in the wake of his father’s death is referred to as the Prodigal son returning. In Iron Man 3 Tony refers to Mark 42 as the prodigal son and this is a nice echoing of a famous saying.
Did She Know?
Cut to Tony in a Casino and we can actually hear the Iron Man theme from the 60s playing in the background. We meet Christine Everheart who does a lovely spread on Tony and she of course appears in Iron Man 2 as someone that is doing a story on Justin Hammer.
At the end of the movie, Tony announces that he’s Iron-Man and the entire audience stands up except for Christine who remains seated. This is because she had already figured out that Tony was Iron-Man and therefore wasn’t that surprised.
After they spend the night together we are introduced to Jarvis who we learn in Endgame is named after Howard’s Butler.
In the basement, Tony works away on the hot rod and we can hear the song Institutionalized by Suicidal Tendencies. This could be a nod to Tony Stark’s willingness to sacrifice his own life several times through the MCU. This happened at the end of The Avengers and of course in Endgame which saw the final appearance of the character.
On the plane, Tony and Rhodey listen to Ghostface Killer who often refers to himself as Iron Man. He was also supposed to have a cameo in the film but this was later removed.
Also, can we like acknowledge how badly Terrence Howard messed up by quitting after this film? Like damn, also shoutouts Iron Man 2 for maybe the best recast of all time.
Small Decision, Big Consequence
Pepper asks if Tony will finally speak at MIT and he sort of brushed her off and refuses to sign an agreement. Stark would eventually speak there in Civil War which would lead to his B.A.R.F. Demonstration and then eventually make Mysterio hate his guts.
So, if he had agreed to the appearance, perhaps he could’ve avoided causing trouble for Peter. Iron Man is often cited as creating his own worst enemies and this is an almost Butterfly effect occurrence that caused so many problems down the line.
After demonstrating the Jericho, Tony gets his drink which we would then see at the start of the movie and he gets into the Funvee leading to the events that kick-started the movie.
He wakes up after being saved by Doctor Yinsen who remarks that they met before at a Technical Conference in Bern. Stark says he doesn’t remember and Yinsen says he’s not surprised as if he’d been that drunk he wouldn’t remember either. We actually see this meeting play out in Iron Man 3 and yeah…Tony was pretty drunk to be fair.
Tony is kidnapped by The Ten Rings who are led by The Mandarin from Iron Man 3 though this could be getting retconned for Shang Chi which is set to reveal the actual Ten Rings and the real Mandarin.
Tony is told to build a Jericho missile but he instead builds the Mark One and a new arc reactor.
We learn that Palladium is used to power the arc reactor and this is a common material used in engineering. In the film we see that the giant reactor is filled with Palladium Gas and tanks containing it can be seen behind Tony when he talks to Obidiah.
At the end of the movie when Pepper overlords the reactor she does it by pressing a button that says Palladium Gas.
In Iron Man 2 we learn that Iron Man is suffering from Palladium poisoning and the element ties back to this origin story in a lot of ways.
The arc reactor returns at several points throughout the MCU. In this film, we see that Obadiah struggles to replicate Stark’s designs and make the reactor smaller. If you’ve been following our breakdowns then you’ll know that Tony improves his tech every film and we can actually see in Civil War that Tony has built an arc reactor small enough to fit into a wristwatch, showing how far he has come.
The arc reactor scene, of course, features Peter Billingsly who after getting a tie wafted in his face ends up being a disgruntled Stark Employee who is Team Mysterio in Far From Home.
The arc reactor imagery also pops up in an amazing Easter Egg in Endgame when the Avengers put their hands together. You can see the similarities in the looks here and it’s nice that this imagery reappears throughout the series.
Though it saves Tony’s life, after it’s removed in Iron Man 3 we can still see the scars of where it sat on his chest in both Civil War and at the start of Endgame when Tony is arguing with Cap.
The scenes in the cave with Tony and Yinsen of course mirror the ones in Endgame when Tony is adrift in space and they build a way out of there.
Suit & Mask
He also hammers the mask and this clanging sound can be heard after the credits of Endgame, bringing everything full circle.
There’s also more imagery that would reappear in Endgame and that is the positioning of his mask when placed down. When Tony gives his farewell message to his family the helmet reappears in a similar set-up, mirroring the first and last appearance of the mask.
When assembling the suit Tony says every other bolt and no bells and whistles. This is why the suit falls apart when he crash lands on the outside as it has not been completely assembled due to the pair having to work fast.
Yinsen buys Tony some time and runs at the soldiers firing at them. However, he fires in the air because he is a doctor that took a Hippocratic oath to never harm anyone.
In Doctor Strange, the character says that he too took an Oath to save lives and not take them and I like how all of the doctors in the franchise follow the same rules that we do in the real world.
Another nice little touch is that Yinsen dies in a very similar manner to how Erskine dies in Captain America. The parallels in these shots are really well put together and they show some of the staples of how their two origin stories mirror one another.
There’s also an American flag symbol behind Yinsens head which may be a reference to Captain America.
Iron Man escapes the cave, is rescued and sent back to the good ol’ US of A. The first thing he gets is a cheeseburger which is of course what Morgan asks for in Endgame at the character’s funeral showing how similar they are.
A subtle little joke comes when Obadiah asks Tony if he’s got one for him and Stark says there was only one but he pulls out another at the conference.
Agents of Shield
We also meet Phil Coulson who would go on to star in pretty much all of these phase one movies and Agents of Shield. Who’s hyped for Season 7? Anyway, Tony also says that he never got to say goodbye to his father and this clearly hangs over him as he uses BARF in getting therapy over it before finally meeting with his father in Endgame.
Tony begins to build the suit and there’s a nice scene in which he puts his hand into a holographic version of the arm. Peter would later do something similar in Far From Home when creating his own suit.
More Musical Hints
Stark goes upstairs to find Obadiah playing a piano piece by Salieri. Salieri was a composer who was overshadowed by Mozart during his career and this jealously allegedly lead him to kill his rival. This theme of betrayal is of course shown in Stanes’ actions throughout the film.
He finally double crosses Tony at the end of the movie and tells him that the arc reactor is his ninth symphony. In classical music, it is thought that a composer will die after writing their ninth symphony and thus Obadiah believes that the arc reactor will be the last thing that the character creates.
Infinity War Similarities
These shots chosen for this scene also mirror Tony’s battle with Thanos massively in Infinity War.
Firstly Obadiah pulls out the arc reactor which sends the character into critical condition, this is similar to how Thanos stabs Tony.
Obadiah then leans over the character, taunting him over his death, this is repeated with Thanos who does the same thing to the character.
The final shots that are set up the same happen when Tony is at death’s door.
In both films, Tony is saved by someone else and they then go on to kill the villain. In Iron Man, Tony is saved by Pepper and he goes on to kill Stane in the Iron Monger Armor, in Infinity War Tony is saved by Doctor Strange and though it takes a lot longer for Tony to kill Thanos, he eventually does at the end of the movie.
So we have everything coming full circle with the first big bad that Tony fought in Iron Man mirroring the last Big Bad that he did in Infinity War and Endgame.
It really is one of the best easter eggs I’ve ever seen in a film and it shows the attention to detail that Marvel put into their movies.
New Suit Capabilities
Tony takes his first flight and his heads-up display even warns him before he hits a pillar, flashing red in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment before he hits it.
When Tony flies past the Ferris wheel we can also see that the speed of the suit is set to Mach and it’s below one. Later Tony of course passes this and he’s able to reach Mach 1 and break the sound barrier.
When Tony’s suit ices over and the power cuts out we can actually also see his eyes through the suit. This was something I never really noticed until getting a 4k copy of the film and it’s a great little detail.
Tony returns home to find a gift from Pepper which she pushes off into the lake at his funeral.
When Tony is speaking we can also see Jarvis copying Tony’s speech and transcribing it so that the A.I. can reply. The TV sounds up and the system does not register this showing that Jarvis has been programmed to only recognise Tony’s voice. The suit design is initially painted gold which Tony says is a little ostentatious and this is a call back to his Golden suit design from the comics.
The TV displays a news report that says Tony has been bedridden since his return so to prove it wrong he goes to the party that it’s reporting from.
Here he meets Coulson who arranges an appointment for him but he’s so distracted by Pepper that he just agrees to it. This is why he shows up later and saves Pepper. Pepper is wearing a dress that is blue which she says is a birthday present from him.
In Endgame we learn that Tony has made Pepper the Rescue Suit as an Anniversary Gift and it’s the same colour as the dress that she wears in this scene.
Christine shows him some photos of his weapons being used by the Ten Rings and he learns that the company is double-dealing under the table.
Tony decides to go after them and he works on his suit. We can actually see the energy moving from the arc reactor into his repulsor blaster showing how they are powered.
Tony flies out and destroys the weapons himself and he comes face to face with a tank. He takes it out in one shot and this is because the character helped to design the tank and therefore knows its weak points.
He’s then attacked by the Air Force and though this isn’t really an MCU Easter egg, one of the soldiers is the same guy that played Colman Reece in The Dark Knight. Man did that guy have a good 2008.
Stark returns home and is dismantled. We can actually see a prototype of Captain America’s shield behind him which of course returns in Iron Man 2.
Obadiah’s allegiance with The Ten Rings is unearthed after Pepper goes through his files. Some of the names in the files are callbacks to Jeff Bridges’ other movie ‘The Big Lebowski’ such as The-O Dude and MSC Lebowski.
It turns out that Stane is building the Iron Monger armour and the way that it moves and jumps is actually similar to the way that the Hulk Buster armour would later in the series, repeating the more bulky movements of the machine.
Stark and Stane go head to head and at one point Tony takes a glove off after thinking he’s defeated the villain. We can actually hear Stark’s real voice and then the system’s voice a split second after showing the delay between the suit’s comms.
At one point Obadiah’s targeting system is damaged and he has to eyeball the shot. In Civil War, this too happens to Tony’s hand he has to manually aim his weapon.
Pepper overloads the reaction and likely adds to Tony’s Palladium poisoning but he lives to fight another day. A blue light shoots into the sky and yeah, that’s been done in about 700 comic book movies since.
They hold another press conference and Agent Coulson says that he has 90 seconds before the meeting. This actually takes place 90 seconds before the conference itself.
Tony announces I am Iron Man which would appear as the final line in Iron Man 3, ending the character’s trilogy and also it would end up being the last thing that the character says before his death in Endgame.
He goes home to find Nick Fury there who wants to tell him about the Avengers Initiative which of course sets up the entire MCU and the incredible 23 films in the Infinity Saga.
And that’s our list. Obviously, I’d love to hear what easter eggs were your favourite and if we missed any. Comment below and let us know and if you enjoyed this video then please drop a thumbs up and make sure you check out some of the insane details that we noticed in Thor Ragnarok.
It’s one of the best videos I’ve ever made so definitely check it out after this.