Iron Man Character Comparisons: From Page To Screen
In May 2008, Jon Favreau’s Iron Man
became a massive worldwide hit, bringing an entire new group of supporting players from the Marvel Universe to the media spotlight. Literally overnight, characters like Virginia “Pepper” Potts and Obadiah Stane went from near-obscurity to household names. With Iron Man 2
finally ready to wreak havoc on the global box-office, there are going to be even more characters to get acquainted with, but how will they hold up on screen when we look back at how they were conceived in the comics? Take a look at some of their similarities and differences from the films portrayal versus the comic book portrayal:
: When we meet Stane in the first few minutes of Iron Man, he comes off as a figurative father to the often-at-leisure Tony Stark, accepting his awards and cleaning up the billionaire genius’ mess. We later find out that he’s got more in common with The Lion King’s
evil uncle Scar than Star Wars’
loving mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi, but the film never really explains why he’s such an asshole. As it turns out, the young Obadiah witnessed his father Zebediah’s grisly suicide, causing him to lose all of his hair by age 8 and sending the poor child on a psychological tailspin. Had we known that during the film, it would’ve made his attitude a bit more understandable. One of the other big differences in Stane’s history is that the film deviates from his own success. He’s portrayed as Howard Stark’s (Tony’s Dad) former right-hand man and a long-time Stark International executive, when in fact Stane actually had his own lucrative munitions company (which he conned from a love-struck industrialist) and used it’s financial might to battle Stark for control of his company, rather than taking the firm over from the inside as he does in Iron Man
: Based on what I already know about the film, Hammer’s storyline will pretty closely match his long spanning arc in the comics. Like Obadiah Stane, Hammer wishes to put Stark Industries out of business for good by either buying the company or sinking it, but eventually his loathing of Tony makes their rivalry more personal. What separates Sam Rockwell’s
character from the comics is his age: Hammer is really a bitter, old man while Stark represents the entrepreneur of the future. In the film, Hammer is as youthful and flamboyant as Stark, which will make for an entertaining battle of wits, wealth and weaponry.
: As the facilitator of Tony Stark’s Malibu mansion, the sentient computer program known as Jarvis attends to domestic matters like home security while also accompanying Stark on his high-flying missions as the invincible Iron Man as a “co-pilot” of sorts. This iteration of the character couldn’t be more different from Edwin Jarvis, the Brooklyn born butler of Howard and Maria Stark who later served Tony and the entire superhero collective the Avengers. The former WWII fighter pilot had a handful of adventures and sub-plots of his own in the comic book canon, including a brutal brush with death at the hands of Mister Hyde and a few romances, most recently with on again, off again Avenger Spider-Man’s Aunt May! To avoid inevitable and annoying comparisons with Bruce Wayne’s loyal confidante Alfred Pennyworth, director Favreau decided to fundamentally alter the character by making him digital. Thankfully, it worked.
Virginia “Pepper” Potts
: A hero is only as good as the girl at his side and Tony Stark wouldn’t be able to order a pizza without his trusted secretary Pepper. In the comics, she’s worked at Stark Industries for some time, first catering to Howard Stark’s professional needs before tending to Tony. The biggest difference between movie Pepper and comics Pepper is that the budding romance with her superhero employer never actually blossomed - because she eventually married Stark’s loyal chauffer Happy Hogan. Now I’m not saying that the film series will find Tony and Pepper living happily ever after together, but based on Stark’s not-so-subtle advances on her, that seems to be a safe direction for the plot to head. Unless a certain Black Widow gets in the way.
The Black Widow/Natasha Romanova
: Here’s a new character in Iron Man 2 that will likely be totally different from the comics. With the 26 year old stunner Scarlett Johansson
playing the red haired super-spy, you can be sure that Romanova's back story, which goes back as far as WWII, will be totally altered (as is her family name - spelled Romanoff in the film). From the look of the trailer and clips that I’ve seen thus far, the film will introduce Natasha as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D., though in Marvel lore she’d worked for and against world governments for some time before joining their ranks. Still, the Black Widow has crossed paths with many of the characters that appear in the sequel, making her involvement in the film more fitting.