How It’s Done: Iron Man’s Briefcase Armor

Note: How It’s Done is a new feature at Project: Rooftop, where we spotlight spectacular examples of official superhero redesigns, in comics, film, tv, and videogames.  Today, I’m taking a look at Iron Man 2‘s briefcase armor. For more Iron Man at P:R, check out our Iron Man: Invincible Upgrade contest winners. – Dean Trippe, Editor

A new (and mind-blowingly rad) trailer for Iron Man 2 hit the webwaves last night, sparking a wildfire of “OH MY GOD“s on my Twitter feed. One of the many things I loved about 2008’s Iron Man film was the attention to story-driven detail regarding the lead hero’s various uniforms. This new trailer shows that returning director Jon Favreau and his team have maintained that focus in the sequel, with great looks for War Machine (good call on the red eyes), Black Widow (sporting a S.H.I.E.L.D. patch I must own), and other familiar Marvel characters. Iron Man is a perfect candidate for this sort of exploration, of course, as his true superpower (brilliance) is most noticeably evident in his beyond-next-gen armor designs.

In the comics and cartoons, Iron Man’s armor has frequently been shown to be collapsible, stored in a handy briefcase Tony Stark can carry when he’s not superheroing. On the one hand, this is fairly ridiculous, but on the other, some would say, better hand, it’s totally flipping awesome. The thing that made me and my Twittermates really freak out last night was the final scene in the new trailer, when Tony breaks out an emergency Iron Man suit, kept nearby in convenient briefcase form.

Having the briefcase itself form into a temporary suit of armor is a great update of the concept, and shows how good superhero redesign requires a combination of story-based conceptual thinking as well as updated aesthetic motifs. This netbook edition of the Iron Man is still functional and familiar, just lighter and more portable.  The use of red and silver as the color scheme rather than the default red and gold, recalls the “Silver Centurion” Iron Man armor of the ’80s, a value-added consideration for fans of the mythology. Say it with me now…

OH MY GOD. And that’s how it’s done.

9 comments to “How It’s Done: Iron Man’s Briefcase Armor”
  1. I wetted my pants with glee last night when I saw the suitcase armor in the second trailer. I’ve been following the Iron Man 2 production pretty closely and there were rumors about it for a while. I’m with you – the executed it perfectly. Both in terms of comic fantasy and real-world practicality. For me, it’s representational of how seriously they take the source material. They don’t make the fans feel stupid for buying into the idea of a suitcase armor. They treat it right.

  2. I agree on the whole pants-wetting thing. It was amazing how realistic they made the, as I came to call it, B.A.D (Backup Armor Device- it’s horrible i know but I like acronyms) armor to seem both functional and practical. You see all these movies that “revamp” classical cartoon/comic icons and all they do is cause aneurysms and the horrific thought of what will Hollywood do next to our last vestige of sanity?(Superman Returns anyone?) but not Jon Favreau,and not Iron Man! He took his idea and made it great and by what I’ve seen of the IM2 trailer, he hasn’t lost his touch.

  3. Hey, this looks like that armour design that they scraped while they were making the first movie. Well either way this is flippin’ sweet!

  4. OMG OMG OMG OMG, Iron Mans armour is not the only awesome thing here. I can’t believe I found Tom Brazelton (#1) on another website other than TH. Man, it’s a small internet!

  5. Believe me, I’ve been orbiting Project: Rooftop for a while now. Still kicking myself that I didn’t contribute a design to the Iron Man challenge from a few years ago!

  6. Pingback: Weekly Wrap-Up> I’m going to offend someone if I keep this up. « BW Media Spotlight

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