As I mentioned in the post about the Avengers marathon at The PCC, Iron Man 2 isn’t one of my most watched Marvel films but one of my favourite things is Sam Rockwell. I love him as Tony Stark’s antagonist and if the film could just be the two of them bickering I think I’d have enjoyed it more. But that’s just me. I love snark. Another great thing about Rockwell in Iron Man 2? The suits that Justin Hammer wears. There is only one time where he’s shown not wearing a suit. And that’s when he’s playing golf. You’ve gotta applaud dedication to style like that. The costumes were designed by Mary Zophres who is mostly known for designing films with the Coen brothers – and garnering Oscar nominations for that work (True Grit). (By the by, Iron Man was designed by Laura Jean Shannon and Rebecca Gregg and Iron Man 3 is designed by Louise Frogley.) Well, I’m just gonna go straight into it…
The Court Room
This is our first introduction to Justin Hammer – the anti-Tony Stark. He needs to make a big impression, he needs to stand out and, due to the court room setting, his costume needs to be appropriate. So he’s got a three-piece suit, wide striped tie and pocket square. In a room full of grey suits, and army personal in navy suits, Hammer’s grey suit has a much bluer tone to it – helped by the blue accessories. This blue suggests coldness and this is even more apparent when contrasted with Stark’s warmer toned grey suit, matched with a yellow tie. These combinations even affect the look of their shirts. Hammer’s looks bluer in tone, Stark’s looks creamer. These could be the shade of shirts used (probably for Stark) or it could be that the surrounding clothing has given this effect (possible for Hammer).
This first introduction to Hammer also sets up his ‘classic’ look: single-breasted three-piece suit with middling width lapels, wide shirt collar and pocket square. This is his, nearly, consistent look. This sets up his character for the audience, who he is trying to be, and makes him instantly recognisable.
This “meeting” with Stark mearly alters the original colours the two were wearing when together – here Stark has the cool colours, but the yellows (more gold) that Hammer is wearing still feels cold. The tones aren’t quite warm enough to make him seem comforting. The white collar on a yellow shirt also harken back to Gordon Gekko in Wall Street - not exactly a reassuring figure. And the gold tie on top of the yellow shirt feels a little uncomfortable – too similar in tone and so supporting the “try hard” feel of Hammer. Stark’s suit is of the same tone but feels more relaxed and comfortable – less attention seeking. Yes, I know, saying Tony Stark isn’t attention seeking is pretty strange but look at that picture. Who is your eye drawn to? (And not just because he’s in the middle of the frame.)
Airplane Hanger/Meeting Vanko
From first glance this suit appears to be exactly the same as the suit worn in Monte Carlo. The suit seems to be slightly lighter in tone but because the scene takes place in an airplane hanger that is coated in white, it could be the setting that has altered its appearance. I originally thought that this suit was different from Monte Carlo, but the more I look at it the more I am unsure. Hammer has a napkin tucked into his shirt for the whole scene so you can never really see the suit that clearly – or the shirt and tie he wears underneath. We can see the white collar and cuffs of the shirt but it could be another Gekko style shirt. Regardless, the point of this scene, as far as Hammer is concerned, is to get Ivan Vanko on side to destroy Stark. He is clearly an eccentric millionaire (billionaire?) because he has broken a criminal out of prison and is treating him to lunch in an airplane hanger. And he has an obscene amount of fake tan residue on his hands. Obscene. By this point the audience already knows that Hammer is…idiosyncratic, but this is the moment that they see how far he will go to take down Stark. Money is Hammer’s answer to everything and he needs Vanko to know that, so that he has an additional motivation to join with him. A time when Hammer’s extravagance completely plays into his hand.
Hammer shows Vanko around his factory. This is the place where he has made his fortune (we presume – I don’t know anything about the Justin Hammer of the comics). It is empty of workers – hiding Vanko’s presence I would surmise. Hammer’s suit is another cool toned collection albeit the lilac tie and darker grey adds a slight warm touch. He is welcoming Vanko into his world. The more comfortable Vanko is, the better work he will do. This picture shows the noticeable suit style worn by Hammer that I mentioned earlier.
Checking Up on Vanko/Giving the Bird
Here Hammer is feeling optimistic about the work Vanko has been doing. And he’s got him “his” bird. The grey suit is darker than his previous appearance with a more subdued dark blue patterned tie. This is possibly the most restrained we’ve seen Hammer look. He feels calm about his situation, his clothes feel calm. As much as Hammer’s clothes can ever feel calm.
Selling Guns to the Army
This is official business Hammer. Dressing how he thinks the army expects a businessman to? The mid-tone grey pinstriped suit, white shirt, patterned tie? I feel that Hammer dresses less for himself but more to suit his “audience”. He may chose to have a consistent suit shape but the colour and style always seems well judged for the people at a situation. Monte Carlo – over-the-top, because of the wealth that surrounds the Grand Prix. To stand out more? Here he wants the army to buy from him. They wouldn’t take him seriously if he were to wear his Monte Carlo suit, but a suit style that could be worn by someone in the city? Something that Tony Stark would never wear?
This is the perfect example of what I said above. We can presume that Senator Stern (on the right) is a regular golf player. Contrast what he is wearing to what Hammer wears. Hammer is wearing what he thinks golf players “should” wear. The diamond patterned jumper, the correspondent golf shoes, the white golf glove, the hat. All to give the illusion of his comfort on a golf course. We never see Hammer play golf, he is just on the golf course with Stern. On the phone.
Threatening Vanko/The Stark Expo
This is Hammer’s pièce de résistance. He has his Hammer Drones. He is planning on showing up Stark to the nth degree. At Stark’s own Expo. It is a more grown up suit than others. The eye is drawn to the warm red stipe on his tie, reflected in his pocket square. He is ready to impress, but not look showy. This suit wouldn’t look out of place on someone other than Hammer. Most of his other suits would only suit someone with his level of self-assurance. Hammer feels comfortable in his knowledge that he doesn’t need to distract from his show. He isn’t going to cower in the shadows, but he’ll get his audience and publicity through Vanko’s work. It would look out of place to be more outrageous than a stage full of military sprayed drones. Side note: it’s also my favourite suit.
I hope you enjoyed this post, that it made sense and gives you something different to think about when watching Iron Man 2. If you do. If not, just when watching other films!
(Screenshots taken from http://superheroscreencaps.com)