So, before I finish up, we need to talk about cut material. Iron Man has a fairly substantial amount of deleted scenes that got thrown on to the DVD, so in this post I’m going to look at each of them in turn, describe what they show, talk about what they would have added and posit why they were cut. Let’s jump right into it, I’ll be going in a sort of rough order as to how they would fit into the actual theatrical cut:
Description: In the casino, Stark bets a huge amount of money on the roulette table, casually chatting to an exasperated Rhodes all they while. He loses, but walks away without much care.
What It Offered: Essentially just a further glimpse at Tony being a playboy.
Why It Was Cut: The point was already made.
Description: Onboard the plane to Afghanistan, Tony and Rhodes’ drunken conversation lasts a bit longer, but is then interrupted by the attentions of the planes stewardesses, one of whom Tony takes to his room. The next day, Rhodes looks hungover. Later, at the Afghan air strip, a group of US military personnel perform an elaborate rifle drill.
What It Offered: Tony as the play boy even more so/
Why It Was Cut: Again, the point had been made already, and the rifle drill stuff would have been a total tempo killer.
Description: This is basically an extended version of the opening convoy ambush. Aside from a number of basic battle shots that didn’t make it into the final cut – soldiers firing, crouching, etc. There are three main things. First, Rhodes gets an actual involvement in proceedings, opening up on the Ten Rings with a .50 cal. It’s the first of several deleted scenes featuring him. Second, we see Stark attempt to get a bit more engaged, finding a rifle and trying to fire back, letting out an expletive when the weapon turns out to be jammed and trying to get Rhodes’ attention. Finally, after his capture, we see a bit more of the recording the Ten Rings make, including the words “Obadiah Stane”.
What It Offered: Aside from a more fleshed out opening battle scene, it let us have an early look at Rhodes being a bit more useful than he is otherwise portrayed as, gives Tony an attempted agency in the fight, and offers a greater hint at Stane’s true nature.
Why It Was Cut: Just unnecessary I would imagine. There was a streamlining of things, and Terence Howard paid the biggest price.
Description: At an airbase, Rhodes prepares to ship out to Afghanistan to search for Stark. A General takes him aside and advises him against it, as Stark hasn’t been seen for three months. Rhodes insists he’s going to go, and the General wishes him good luck.
What It Offered: A glimpse at a world beyond the Ten Rings cave during that whole sequence. Again, it would have let Rhodes be a bit more involved, and would have set-up his discovery of Stark in the desert.
Why It Was Cut: Favreau apparently became committed to the idea of focusing only on Stark in this section, to really put the audience in his shoes, of having zero knowledge of the outside world. Aside from that, the writing is poor here, with the interaction between Rhodes and this general being as corny as possible.
Description: This is one of the oddest. In the cave, Tony and Yinsen discuss backgammon, a board for which Yinsen is making. In turns out both men were backgammon champions in their college days. Later, while playing a game (as depicted in the theatrical cut), the two’s conversation is interrupted by Bakaar. He angrily demands, after a tirade in his own language “When, when, when when, when finished?” The two direct him to a washing machine, where Bakaar admonishes Stark further for mixing whites with colours. Bakaar watches the two play, advises Stark, and declares he was the champion of a “big town”. Leaving the room, he is suddenly confronted by Raza, who shoots him with a handgun. There, it’s back to the theatrical cut, and Raza’s declaration that the two have “till tomorrow, to assemble my missile”.
What It Offered: Oh boy. A bit of comic relief? A different look at the Bakaar character? A more straightforward example of Raza’s ruthlessness?
Why It Was Cut: Just a bad idea. The larger sequence in the cave didn’t need comedy, Bakaar was better portrayed as just an idiot bully and Raza would end up being well defined as a maniac when he nearly burned off half of Yinsen’s face.
Description: After his return from Afghanistan, Tony enters his mansion for the first time in months, having a brief confab with JARVIS. He finds a gift, an ornate watch, left for him from Obadiah Stane with a message: “Thank God it wasn’t your time”. Tony gazes out the window, deletes the thousand or so phone messages that are waiting for them, and tells JARVIS to boot up the scanning equipment.
What It Offered: A reintroduction to the mansion and JARVIS that was a bit slower paced, as well as showing Stane as a nice guy.
Why It Was Cut: Just immaterial. It would have slowed things down too much.
Description: In the basement, Stark’s machines start constructing the Mark II suit.
What It Offered: Not much, just a brief look at how the actual materials for the Mark II came into physical being.
Why It Was Cut: It just wasn’t needed.
Description: Pepper comes down to the basement after Tony blows the glass of the doors away. She finds Stark looking relaxed, having called her for an “emergency”: he wants to throw a party, in Dubai. Cut to Tony’s home there, full of beautiful women, smartly dressed men and everyone dancing. There is swimming, booze and lots of women crowding around Stark, to Pepper’s discomfort. Stark finds two girls and takes them away to a private area for an apparent sexual liaison, picking up another one along the way. He leaves the girls in the bedroom to go and get champagne glasses: later, Potts watches a fireworks display, noticing a very large bright one peeling off and flying away.
What It Offered: I suppose this was an attempt to fill in the gap between Tony leaving for Gulmira and getting there, trying to explain how he did it. We see Tony being the ladies man, and Pepper caught in the middle of it.
Why It Was Cut: Because it would have slowed things down immensely. I’m surprised they even went to the trouble of filming this scene so elaborately, because it would have been an awful inclusion, all to cover a fairly non-existent plot hole.
Description: The night after the patty, Potts wakes up, wanders through the human debris and finds Tony, in the badly damaged Mark III, downing some booze and asking her to “Get me out of here”.
What It Offered: Just the coda to the above scene, the first pass at the similar scene in the basement that made it into the final cut.
Why It Was Cut: It just doesn’t fit at all, in combination with the other party scene. The one they went with (“Are those bullet holes?”) was much better.
Description: In Sector 16, Obadiah Stane gives a speech to the men he has working to create the Ironmonger, extolling them to do good, as the kind of technology they are working with is a once in a lifetime development.
What It Offered: A chance for Stane to outline his world view and look impressive.
Why It Was Cut: I suppose it just didn’t fit into an already packed final act, and Stane had already gotten the chance to pontificate on his world view enough.
Description: In the midst of the Iron Man/Ironmonger fight on the freeway, Rhodes comes buzzing along in the sports car he took from Stark’s mansion. He wilfully smashes it into the Ironmonger, going into a flip even as Stane totters back into the nearby bus, which explodes (as it did in the final cut). Tony cuts a hole in the now wrecked car, and sarcastically gives out to Rhodes for trashing it, before flying away.
What It Offered: Something for Rhodes to actually do in the finale.
Why It Was Cut: Poor Rhodes. He just couldn’t catch a break. It seems like Favreau wanted the finale to be a Stark/Stane thing, and threw out any other involvement, chopping the bus explosion into something much different.
Description: After being disabled by the overloading Arc Reactor, the Ironmonger armour falls onto the structure of the skylight, which bends but does not break immediately. Stane can’t get out of his wrecked suit by himself, as the structure starts to come apart. He reaches a hand out to Stark who, after a moment’s reluctance, grabs it with his one remaining gloved arm. The two talk one last time: Stark tells Stane not to mistake the act for kindness, and Stane retorts by saying he’s never mistaken anything about Stark since he was a child. He further claims that the “genie is out of the bottle”, and the two have left “a wonderful gift for the world”. Pretending to struggle getting out of the Ironmonger, Stane suddenly grabs Stark with both arms and proclaims it is time for “both of them to go”. However, Stark simply gets his armours glove to come off, sending Stane down into the reactor alone, screaming. After the explosion, Pepper and Rhodes find Tony’s prone and motionless body on the top of the building.
What It Offered: A final look at Stane that might have been a bit more appropriate. He gets one more chance to rant at Tony, and Tony gets to show both a degree of mercy and ruthlessness, in how he tries to save Stane and then willingly sends him to his death.
Why It Was Cut: Probably because it threw off the pacing of the finale. Such a conversation would have slowed things down a fair bit, and wasn’t strictly necessary.
And so we come to the end. It’s been a trip, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride and the analysis.
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