It’s Marvel Cinematic Universe Week at SB Nation and across our team brands! We’re using the superior superhero franchise to guide our coverage for this week, as we pass the two-month mark without sports.
Here at Fear the Fin, I’m going to take on a very stupid mission: to watch every film in the MCU and document every reference made to sports throughout. I’m playing a little fast and loose with my definition of “sports reference,” but I’m going to try to avoid making the same jokes more than once in this series. You’ll see what I mean.
That’s 23 films, totaling 50 hours, by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 10.
(I’m aware the week starts on Sunday, but the next theme week doesn’t start until Monday and I got a late start on this, okay? I’m cutting myself some slack to make this ridiculous thing a complete project.)
I’ll be watching in a chronological order (some films take place around the same time, so it doesn’t matter too much) that is dubbed the “spoiler” version, as post-credit scenes will contain spoilers for movies further along in the timeline, as opposed to release order.
I’ve set up a storystream to help you keep track of each post as they go up — which won’t be on any kind of set schedule, since I’m gonna be putting some weird hours into this thing in order to pull it off. No worries, though — that’s the whole point of having a centralized location. I’d suggest reading them in order, but hey, I’m not your mom.
Reminder that time stamps are approximate, not exact, and may vary based on streaming services.
Does Tony Stark talk sports this time? Let’s find out!
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Director: Jon Favreau, Written by Justin Theroux
00:07:57: Tony Stark uses the phrase “toe to toe,” and desperate for anything tangentially related to sports, I hunted down the origin of this phrase to see if it actually comes from the boxing imagery it produces.
Unfortunately there’s nothing to suggest that it originates from a purely physical confrontation (verbal disagreements may also happen toe to toe), but this is the closest we’ve come to sports thus far in the Tony Stark Cinematic Experience, so I’m choosing to count it.
00:17:01: We have another use of the phrase “play ball,” followed up with a stellar use of “assclowns.” We’re getting closer, folks!
00:22:53: If you’re the kind of weirdo who considers driving a car a sport, here we see a ticket to The Monaco Historic Grand Prix, a major racing event held every two years. There’s an extended shot of this man’s very dirty thumbs holding it, so you know something important will happen at this event.
00:22:58: And now we see Tony boxing with Happy in his home gym, which includes a boxing ring. He claims to be doing mixed martial arts, but Happy calls it “dirty boxing.”
00:23:59: Tony Stark’s water bottle has a large Dick’s Sporting Goods logo on it, a chain retailer for team and outdoor sports supplies. It’s this bad boy right here, that retails for $3.97 and says “Every season starts at DICK’S.” Come on, man, you’re a billionaire and you can’t spring for some Under Armour bottles? Not even Gatorade? Sheesh.
00:24:36: Oh, Happy asks “Natalie” if she’s ever boxed before. When she says yes, he says, “What, like Tae Bo? Booty Boot Camp?” Gross!
And then she drops him. A “TKO,” as Tony calls it.
00:26:05: And we are at the Grand Prix, so this sport — if you insist on calling it that — is now set dressing and won’t be mentioned again. Hopefully.
00:30:14: Apparently Tony is gonna drive a race car now. Like in a real race. He seems qualified. For that.
Now Happy is driving a normal car on the track in the opposite direction of said race. Can you just imagine the headlines about how billionaire idiot Tony Stark blew up the 2010 Grand Prix?
Maybe there are no sports in the Iron Man Cinematic Universe because he would ruin any sporting event he attends.
00:35:06: This is my new favorite reference in any Marvel film. Happy is driving a rental car into a man who is trying to kill Tony in order to pin the man to a fence. Pepper is in the backseat with Tony’s case of Iron Man suit. Tony yells to Happy, “Hit him again! Hit him again!” He then turns to Pepper and just yells the word “football.” Concise communication, folks.
00:54:26: I know it’s not sports related and I’m sorry, but Tony pissed inside of the Iron Man suit in this movie. At his birthday party, no less! What the fuck.
00:55:48: Tony invents a new sport that’s kinda like clay shooting, except the clay pigeons are bottles of champagne this girl at his birthday party is throwing into the air and the gun is Iron Man.
01:15:34: Folks, Howard Stark’s plan for the future includes a football stadium!
01:24:37: Tony says, “Hey, I’m playing for the home team, Coulson,” to Agent Coulson. “You and all your Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers,” he elaborates, which is the worst team name I’ve ever heard.
01:27:30: Justin Hammer and Senator Stern are seen playing a round of golf, a sport I forgot existed until just now.
01:34:36: Hammer says his drones are “a hell of a lot better than some cheerleaders.” To be fair, what Tony had earlier in the film was back up dancers. Cheerleading is a sport.
01:50:05: The final fight scene is basically just a three-person game of rock’em, sock’em robots mixed with that one scene with Harry and Voldemort in The Goblet of Fire. You know the one.