I have to admit that I’ve seen Iron Man previously. When I realized a few years and a few movies later that this Marvel thing was all integrated I stopped and decided I had to do this right, by which I mean chronologically, obsessively and compulsively. So I knew that there was going to be a lot of alcohol in this movie from the previous viewing though since I wasn’t cataloging the drinks I wasn’t paying close attention to how they flowed through the story. I knew that Tony Stark was as much a playboy as his forebear Howard Stark, so I was prepared for this collection to take a while. Here are the drinks and references to drinks:
- Very first scene with Tony Stark, we see his hand holding a glass of whiskey. He’s riding in a HumVee in a fancy suit surrounded by armed and armored soldiers. He’s riding through a war zone and he isn’t the least bit concerned…because he’s Tony Stark. Of course, if you’ve seen the movie you know that his careless attitude is short lived. So we get 1 glass of brown spirits.
- In a flash back to the evening before the first scene, we see an awards ceremony for Tony Stark. There are many glasses of wine and drinks in the room. This is to be expected, it’s not uncommon, and doesn’t particularly say anything about the story other than that we are dealing with personalities who attend high profile dinners and awards ceremonies. Booze tally: 1 bar scene, 3 glasses of white wine, 7 glasses of red wine, and possibly 1 glass of brandy
- On his personal jet, Tony orders drinks for himself and Rhodes
“Hey! Heat up the sake, will you?”
“We’re not drinking. We’re working right now.”
“You can’t have sashimi without sake.”
“You are constitutionally incapable of being responsible”
“It would be irresponsible not to drink. I’m just talking about a nightcap.”
“Yes, two please.”
“No, I’m not drinking. I don’t want any.”
Rhodes ends up drinking the bottle of sake. Booze tally: 1 bottle and 2 cups of sake.
- While on the plane, Rhodes is finishing off the bottle of sake but Tony and the three flight attendants have moved on to drinking champagne. This is a snap shot of a pure boy nerd fantasy…three women infatuated with you dancing around a pole for your enjoyment…doesn’t take much to realize this fantasy disintegrates when you allow the flight attendants to be people, but I suppose people as wealthy and powerful as Tony Stark don’t need to allow that. Booze tally: 4 glasses of champagne
- Stark is in Afghanistan for a demonstration of one of his most devastating weapons that just hit the market…the Jericho missile. At the close of the demonstration a trunk is opened and we see it’s a freezer containing a mini bar with four bottles and numerous chilled glasses, one drink already poured. This is pure extravagance along the lines of pianos in British commanders’ tents in the American Revolutionary War. It’s the crescendo of evil and its accompanying apathy and nihilism. It is the final straw. Booze tally: 4 bottles – two brown, one yellow and a dark one with a label that looks like Johnny Walker Black Label, 1 glass of brown spirits
- Obadiah Stane, Stark’s mentor, stops by the Stark compound with a pizza to deliver the bad news about the Board of Directors’ response to Tony’s plan to move Stark Industries away from weapons manufacture. Stane has a short glass of something brown. Booze tally: 1 glass brown spirits
- There is a section of the movie where Stark is a prisoner of the Ten Rings. There is zero drinking in this portion of the story. But when Stark returns we discover that there is also very little alcohol consumption by him as he is developing his iron man suit, a significant work style difference from Howard Stark I might add. The one point where he does have a few drinks since his hiatus…or rebirth…is when he attends the Stark Industries social event starting here:
“Give me a scotch. I’m starving.”
The whole event is another scene swimming in booze, not all of which I could identify.
Booze tally: 1 bar scene, 2 glasses brown spirits (1 scotch), 3 bottles of champagne, 1 glass red wine, 1 glass white wine, 1 martini
- Tony makes Pepper uncomfortable on the veranda and so she requests a drink
“I would like a drink, please.”
“Got it, OK.”
“I would like a vodka martini, please.”
“Very dry with olives, a lot of olives. Like, at least 3 olives.”
He orders two martinis for the both of them
“Two vodka martinis, extra dry, extra olives, extra fast. Make one of them dirty, will you?
And when he is distracted by some news forgets the order and we never see them. Booze tally: 2 extra dry vodka martinis with 3 olives (by reference)
- Obadiah is at his home watching the news and seeing his evil plans unraveling as Stark goes on his first foray as Iron Man. His living room table has two lovely decanters of brown spirits set upon it. Booze tally: 2 decanters of brown spirits
- Stane meets with his contact for the Ten Rings who is asking Stane to use Stark’s Iron Man prototype to build an army of iron suits for the Ten Rings. Stane has other ideas than continuing to work with them. The Ten Rings agent offers Stane a glass of brown liquid poured from what looks like a tea pot. Depending on religious beliefs alcohol in that community may be forbidden…also tea is used often by a host to welcome guests. Circumstantial evidence suggests a non-alcoholic drink in this situation…though I logged it initially before I assessed it.
- Pepper Potts is in Tony’s office at Stark Industries HQ secretly downloading files. Obadiah interrupts her as he comes into Stark’s office to refill his glass from Tony’s sideboard. He mentions how Tony always has the good stuff and then pours himself another glass and one for Pepper as well. This scene demonstrates that Obadiah is making himself comfortable with Tony’s stuff. He doesn’t respect Tony and he’s moving in. Booze tally: 1 decanter and 3 glasses quality brown spirits
So we see after Tony returns from his imprisonment he is no longer distracted by intoxicating pleasures. No longer motivated by substance abuse or meaningless sexual encounters, he is focused on a new purpose. In contrast, once he returns, we get to know his mentor, Obadiah Stane and as we get to know him we see that his world is focused by power and greed and distracted by booze in nearly every setting we see him in. This is a deliberate contrast. We are essentially seeing old Tony battling new Tony and in the sense that Obadiah actually tried to kill Tony in the beginning of the film we can infer that Stark was battling himself at the start of the story, on a path to destroying himself unless something interceded and gave him a new path.
Also, I love the integration with SHIELD and Agent Coulson. When I first saw this movie, it meant nothing to me. Now knowing how all of this fits together I’m more excited to see how it all comes together.