When Does Iron Man 2 Take Place?

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The first couple of films in the MCU’s lineup are mostly clear as to when they occur, but have all mostly been retconned. Iron Man 2, however, gives us an adequate month to place several films on the list. This is part 3 of a 20 part video series dedicated to determine where each Marvel film takes place.

“Oh! Boy I’m good. I commandeered your screens. I need ‘em. Time for a little transparency.”

The opening of the film begins in Russia, and we see a montage of newspapers and magazines that, all said, denote at least 7 months have passed since May 2008. The subsequent title screen claims that 6 months have passed. If, as we’ll explain later, this film has been retconned to occur in 2011, does that mean Iron Man 1 took place in 2010? We explained why that’s not possible in part 1, so let’s rationalize that the 6 months later title card was in reference to that montage sequence in the beginning and not the first film.

The initial dates featured in the film date it to early February 2009, which would fit pretty well with the first film. However, when Natasha Romanoff is introduced we see she has on her resume that she begins working with Stark Industries in June 2010, though Pepper claims she’s one of a few potential interns, so that date likely hasn’t occurred yet as she hasn’t truly been hired at this point, and that date is when she’ll formally begin. The Monaco Grand Prix occurred in real-life on May 16th in 2010, so we can place that date with some certainty. A couple weeks later we see Tony celebrating his birthday in a way only he truly knows how to as well as getting in a huge fight with Rhodes, and that falls on May 29th. And that event, if it’s to be believed, occurs on the first night of Fury’s Big Week. The rest of the film runs concurrently to the events in both The Incredible Hulk and Thor.

While we here at Geekritique prefer dating Fury’s Big Week to late May, early June 2010, there’s some substantial evidence it’s been retconned in future films to occur in 2011. We’ll discuss that in more depths in parts 4, 6 and 8. 3.7% takes place in 2010, and another 96.3% takes place in 2011. Next time, in Part 4, we’ll find out When Thor Takes Place?


More collected notes from Iron Man 2 (with timestamps from the German 4K Blu-Ray release using proposed dates from within the film):

2008(?) 3.7% of runtime: Opening: Forbes cover from Iron Man 1 now reads that Tony Stark takes over at Stark Industries on January 28, 1992, (00:03:39) but this is too early. Scientific American from August (00:04:12), probably 2008, which is at least 3 months after the first film. Iron Man is featured as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year (00:04:24), which means at least 7 months have already passed by the time of that issues release.

2009(?): The ‘6 months later’ title card (00:05:34) can either be interpreted as 6 months after Ivan Vanko created his own arc reactor, or 6 months after “I am Iron Man,” on May 25th, 2008. It likely refers to Ivan Vanko, as the newspaper/magazine montage in the opening shows events that exceed 6 months post “I am Iron Man.” Tony Stark says the last Stark Expo was in 1974 (00:08:43). Justin Hammer claims that Tony Stark made the Iron Man suit within the last 6 months (00:13:23), whih may be an approximation, or he’s referring to the building of Mark IV. Tony’s computer reads that it is late on the date of Mon 02 09 (00:18:35) and the only interpretation of that which fits is Monday, February 9th, 2009, which is when Tony asks Pepper to become CEO of Stark Enterprises. At (00:21:05) the tv reads that there are 362 days left of Stark Exposo presuming Tony’s inauguration was the first of 365 days, it began Friday the February 6th. The Senate hearing must have been the following morning. Later in the film, Tony’s computer also reads “Mon 02 09” (01:31:31), making the date irrelevant.

2010 96.3% of runtime: Files on Natalie Rushman claim she became a Stark legal assistant in June 2010 (00:25:08), a much more prominent date than the previous one dating the film to 2009. It’s unlikely a significant amount of time has elapsed since the previous date, considering they’re still in the process of changing over ownership of the CEO position, effectively overriding the previous date. Natalie is said to be one of several applicants, so the date may be a premature résumé.

– The real-life Monaco Grand Prix occurs on May 16th in 2010. Pepper claims that Christine Everhart did quite the spread on Tony the previous year (00:28:09), which is either 2008 or 2009. On the way back from Monaco, Tony asks Pepper to cancel his birthday party (00:41:44); according to the Avengers, his birthday is May 29th, so the Grand Prix dates may still work.

– According to the New York Times, Anton Vanko was accused of espionage on June 27, 1967 (00:47:44). Anton was born on 15.02.1943… but also in 1919 on the same frame (00:47:52). Ivan Vanko was also born on the same day 1968 (00:47:53). The dates featured in this montage are ATROCIOUS. The same frame claims Ivan Vanko died in prison on December 24th… Ivan Vanko is convicted for 15 years on 12/02/93 (00:48:28). According to The Dallas Record, Anton defects in 1966 (01:13:37), but earlier it was 1963. Useless.

– Stark has his birthday party, making it May 29th (00:53:11).

– Fury’s Big Week: Fury claims he has bigger problems in the Southwest region (01:03:40), referring to Thor’s presence. In the items left by Howard Stark, scenes from the Expo Intro from 74 date to 9-15-73 (01:13:45).

– Justin Hammer’s presentation occurs 343 days from the Stark Expo’s conclusion (01:31:57), 19 days after Tony appointed Pepper as CEO. Tony claims it’s only been “like a week” since Pepper became CEO (01:53:34).

– One week later Stark is sitting with Fury going over information from Natasha Romanoff’s assessment of Tony Stark, and he claims that it was last week that he displays compulsive behavior (01:55:13). Again, this argues against Fury’s Big Week, despite the inclusion of The Incredible Hulk footage.

The dates have subsequently been retconned to 2010-2011.

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