Iron Man is the kind of superhero you almost never expect to make mistakes. Sure, on a personal level, he’s deeply flawed. Tony Stark is an egomaniac with a drinking problem and has commitment issues. One minute he can be everybody’s best friend, the next he can be bickering with Doctor Strange over the pettiest thing while Thanos is on the verge of ending half of all life in the universe in Avengers: Infinity War.
When it comes to all things technical, the man can be said to be exacting to a fault. He’s helped design the suit in Spider-Man: Homecoming and is even rumored to give Captain America a new shield in the upcoming Avengers 4. So how then is it that Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and Iron Man 3 all have so many technical errors in them? We’re not just talking boom shadows or extras looking directly into camera. There are geography foul-ups, baffling continuity goofs, and – gasp! – even scientific fallacies!
The answer as we all know is that Tony Stark didn’t make these movies-- a production crew of us ordinary humans did. E ven most of us ordinary human viewers didn’t notice just what big deals some of these mistakes were on screen. Now we must pull the veil from before our eyes and reveal that making a movie doesn't require the the kind of precision that manufacturing weapon-grade flying armored suits would. Which is good, because if Tony made these kinds of mistakes, he’d end up being a giant can of tomato soup!
Here are 20 Mistakes Fans Completely Missed In Iron Man Movies.
20 Fun With Physics
Many Iron Man fans are in love with Tony Stark because he’s just such a brilliant tech wizard. Those of us who attempt coding, 3D printing, and gadgetry can only dream of reaching the heights Tony Stark reaches in his battle suit. So it’s kind of a bummer to find that the very first Iron Man movie basically failed Physics 101. A
nybody who wasn’t asleep in high school science class knows that the speed of light is much, much faster than the speed of sound.
When the Jericho rocket explodes about 15 minutes in, we hear the boom before we see the flash. Ths is the sort of error that would make Stark’s father roll over in his grave!
19 Tony's suspicious qualifications
Brilliant minds who rise to the cream of the crop at major educational institutions are awarded all manner of honorifics. Getting a PhD in assigns the title “Dr.” while making the top of the class earns the title “valedictorian.” In the MCU, we learn in the first five minutes of Iron Man that tony Stark graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is pretty much the Harvard of tech geek schools.
He was so good that he came out “summa cum laude” – a title which means “with the highest distinction.” The problem? MIT doesn’t use that label for its students.
18 Rhodey can't count
Big-budget movies have many moving parts and sometimes, continuity mistakes are simply made when those parts disconnect. In Iron Man, at about the 1:40 mark, Rhodey assures his boss Tony Stark that Pepper Pots is safe, being protected by five agents.
When we cut to Pepper, she is clearly surrounded by not five – but six agents.
Does Rhodey not know how to count? Did an extra extra sneak onto set? Why this happened, we will never know, but we suppose the production team can lean on that old saying “six of one, almost half a dozen of the other."
17 Stark's Vanity Plate
There’s no way any true Iron Man fan would be shocked to find out that Tony Stark has a vanity plate on his fancy Audi R8. Or does he? Watching Iron Man at about the 1:07 mark, we see that our favorite playboy billionaire is speeding along to a benefit concert with the speedy vehicle that actually has no license plate whatsoever. In the next shot, when he’s pulling up to the entrance, a frontal license plate suddenly reads “STARK 4” which is a pretty neat trick.
Was this an early experiment in the Extremis project? Or perhaps a hidden Hank Pym pulling a prank using Ant-Man tech? Nope, it’s almost surely a very odd prop continuity error, probably the result of having two different show cars on hand for shooting the scene.
16 The Military go against protocol
The excitement of the opening sequence of Iron Man was palpable. There is our yet-to-be-born hero in the wilds of Afghanistan, proudly caravanning in the hot sun to show off his latest explosive weapons creation. Then out of nowhere, his military escort is ambushed chaos ensues.
Of course, the entire convoy stops in its tracks to fight off the attackers.
In real life, that’s against protocols for US soldiers. What they’re supposed to do is fire back as they speed off in an effort to escape. Why? To protect their charge, who in this case is Tony Star. When he gets abducted in the movie, it’s because his cinematic protectors actually did exactly what they wouldn’t do in real life.
15 The teleporting arc reactor
This is another continuity error, but unlike others, it really reaches into the very heart of what Iron Man is all about. At the 51 minute mark or so, there’s a dramatic moment when Tony Stark has been attacked and had his arc reactor taken out, which not only robs him of his powers, but also will end him as he needs the darn thing to live.
In comes Pepper Potts to find a spare arc reactor and replace it, saving the day.
The trouble is, that in one shot she’s got the gadget set in his chest cavity, but in the next shot, she’s still setting it down. It’s jarring and takes us right out of the moment.
14 Iron Man's non-existent desert
Few moments in the MCU movies really beats Tony''s spectacular escape from his captors in Iron Man. The clunky Mark 1 armor he's improvised in a remote cave-- the very first version of Iron Man-- burns and smashes through a hail of bullets and lifts off into the sky, only to come crashing down in the middle of the Afghanistan desert. There’s just one problem: there is no such thing as a desert in Afghanistan.
Yes, of course, there are plains that are kind of barren, but features like waves of dunes and soft oceans of sand are simply not found in the country.
13 Armor shouldn't save Tony
Now here is a problem which is prevalent in Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Captain America: Civil War, and all of the Avengers movies. Oh, and all of the comics and cartoons about Iron Man ever, too.
Tony Stark should not survive almost everything he goes through.
When he gets slammed around, crash-lands from thousands of feet up, or even takes a tank shell to the chest, his body should get smushed. Why? Because skin-tight armor can protect from penetration, but not instant deceleration. If there was padding inside the armor – really good imaginary padding – then maybe. Otherwise, his body would be as damaged as anybody with no armor from impact force.
12 C-SPAN CAN'T SPELL
In the fast-paced world of news, writers fighting tight deadlines and overburdened editors cranking out content can make for some last-minute publishing and broadcasting, causing grammar headaches. But in a movie, one would expect that such mistakes would be more easily avoidable. Not in Iron Man 2, we are sorry to say.
About 18 minutes into the film, Tony Stark is chilling in his basement watching himself at a senate hearing. The YouTube caption reads: “Tony Stark on Capital Hill.” That’s great, except that we are talking about the building where legislators meet and not the “capital” of the nation. It should be "Capitol Hill" instead.
11 Tony' selective Particle Beam
There are few sci-fi energy weapons which can top the particle beam. Acting like a super-powerful laser, these rays can slice through just about anything. In Iron Man 2, that proves that to be true – except when it doesn’t. At about 1:26 into the film, a particle accelerator is cutting through elemental materials like a hot knife through butter. Yet miraculously, the cables holding everything up remain intact, as does the center piece. Pretty weird, huh?
This is the sort of inconsistency which reminds viewers that they are only watching a fictional tale.
That's the very last thing we wish to be thinking when watching a superhero flick.
10 Pepper's Super Cell Phone
Here’s a tech error which could have easily been explained by merely writing in a little Tony Stark genius touch. During the last big confrontation in Iron Man 2, an attack happens at the Stark World Expo. The bad guys have a crucial ace up their sleeves: they have blocked all the cell phone signals. That means nobody can call the police. It’s stated a bunch of times, but then Pepper Pots somehow impossibly gets on her cell and dials 911 successfully!
In the very next shot, Happy Hogan again says the phones aren’t working. Note to the writer’s room: when the edit shows such a goof, just write in that Pepper has Tony’s cell-blocking-buster tech or something.
9 Plot Hole in the Donut Hole
If you've been to LA, you may have driven past one of the city’s most famous landmarks, Randy’s Donuts. The modest shop sports an extra-large donut-shaped sculpture atop its tiny store-front. In Iron Man 2, Tony shows down on some donuts while sitting in the infamous donut. Then, we get to see Tony, Natasha, and Nick Fury in the interior dining room of Randy’s Donuts-- this is where Fury talks to Tony about whether he's suited for the Avengers Initiative.
It's an iconic scene, but in real life, Randy’s has no interior dining area.
It’s purely a take-out joint. Maybe Tony created a pocket universe for himself inside of it.
8 Iron Man 2's incoherent car race
One of the most elaborate set pieces in Iron Man 2 encompasses a major scene where Whiplash makes his debut as a major threat to Iron Man. With the world-famous Monaco Grand Prix revving up to full speed, the sadistic slasher jumps into the race, literally ripping cars in two with his metal-slicing tech.
During the scene, the speeding cars careen past the action, but sometimes they are racing the circular course in a clockwise direction. Then, a second later, they are driving counterclockwise and then back again. And so on, until we realize continuity is out the window and chaos has won the day.
7 Extremis' inconsistent healing
When we talk about tech-based superpowers, few such imagined contraptions are as intriguing as the Extremis armor, which can literally live within your body and emerge at will. Not only that, it can help heal and even replace body parts. This is what happens to the villainess known as Brandt in Iron Man 3 when she is injected with the Extremis virus.
The tech actually replaces her missing arm, but it does nothing to heal the scars she has on her face.
It makes the whole concept of a healing, mind-directed virus go from believable to just another narrative mistake
6 The Road to Nowhere in Iron Man 3
Here again we have an almost petty geography mistake-- maybe not as bad as non-existent deserts, but more glaring as a very simple bit of CGI would fix it. In Iron Man 3, there’s a scene where Nick Fury is getting chased around Washington, DC. In that scene, a road sign is passed which reads “US-6/US-322” indicating an approaching interchange.
Here’s the problem: neither highway is anywhere near Washington, DC. However, both uniquely coincide just outside of Cleveland, which is one of the movie’s filming locations. Seriously, this is an example of a mistake that not only Tony Stark could easily fix, but any of the thousands of CGI artists working under the $200 million budget as well.
5 Maya's giant needle
Sometime just prior to the 90-minute mark in Iron Man 3, there’s a moment when Maya Hansen is threatening to inject herself with the Extremis virus. She’s got a syringe in her hand and claims the dosage is 1200cc. That’s the same as 1.2 liters, or about a quart and one-quarter.
Visualize a needle the size of a carton of milk and that’s what she’s talking about.
Not only is the on-screen prop the wrong size, but if it was correctly realized, it would be a nightmare needle worthy of sending those with belonephobia – the fear of needles – running screaming from the movie theater.
4 Family Affairs
Before we hit the 10-minute mark in Iron Man 3, we are already faced with a massive attack. It occurs in an Air Force Base in Kuwait. It’s one of those terrible moments where more than just soldiers suffer the consequences of such violence. It’s not only airmen and airwomen who are targeted, but their spouses and even children. Over the course of the awful seconds, many lives are lost and the stage is set for the event which will spur Tony Stark into action.
One thing: Middle Eastern U.S. bases are temporary rotations and no families live on them. Why? Because of the danger of such attacks, of course. This was a tragedy which could never happen in the real world.
3 Tony's High-Caliber Mistake
If there’s one thing Tony Stark excels at besides advanced tech, it’s obviously advanced weaponery. From the start of the very first Iron Man movie, his successful business as an arms manufacturer creates a moral quandary within him. Let’s face it – the Iron Man armor itself is one of the most powerful weapons ever created.
Approaching the very end of the third film, Tony seems to forget the basics.
On the docks, coming under fire, Stark and Rhodey are taking cover without their Iron suits. They have to resort to defending themselves with guns. At one point, Tony asks Rhodey for extra bullets for his pistol. Rhodey responds that the bullets are the wrong size. Tony insists they are not. Such an error is akin to Albert Einstein insisting that 2 +2 = 5.
2 Extremis soldiers' clothes doesn't burn
Here again, we find ourselves facing a very basic physics failure. Anyone can do a simple experiment that exposes this. Light a match. Hold to your clothes. It’ll burn, right? Now take that same match and hold it up to a nickel. Sure, it’ll get hot, but it won’t melt. That’s because cloth burns at 451 degrees Fahrenheit – which a burning match will generate – but metal requires thousands of degrees more to melt.
In Iron Man 3, the Extremis soldiers defy this simple reality. They can get so hot from their tech that they melt meta, but the clothes they’re wearing are totally unaffected. Maybe they are wearing material made of the so-called “unstable molecules” which the Fantastic Four’s Human Torch sports, to keep them from going up in smoke?
1 Bullet-Proof Nothing
About and hour and a half into the Iron Man 3 movie, one of the most audacious attacks in the franchise occurs. This time, the bad guys go after none other than the national leader. Hails of bullets are shot at Air Force One, his official dedicated jet airplane and in the chaos, some of the gunfire shatters the vehicle’s windows.
In real life, Air Force One’s windows are bullet-proof.
This totally makes sense as we would all hope that this important man would be properly protected by all tech at hand. Obviously, it makes things more dramatic if glass cracks, but all we need is a single line about “piercer bullets” or some such fictional device to let these errors go.
What other mistakes did fans miss in the Iron Man movies? Let us know in the comments!