It was two years ago that Tony Stark held a press conference, looked the world's media in the eyes and announced: "The truth is ... I am Iron Man."
In the months since, geeks, movie buffs and casual fans alike have been dreaming about what it could become, perusing every casting note and scoping out every last spoiler-heavy detail. We should know better than anybody, as we make a living doing just that.
Now, the release of [article id="1638579"]"Iron Man 2" is positioned to shatter records[/article] like Tony Stark taking down a terrorist cell — in fact, it has already [article id="1638269"]nearly taken in its budget overseas[/article].
But before you see the no-cliffhanger flick, be sure to peruse our MTV News cheat sheet. In the ensuing paragraphs you'll find everything you need to know before feasting on Jon Favreau's eye candy, from surprise cameos to Tony Stark's new suit, the energy-crisis plot and the latest adventures of the [article id="1637837"]movie-star superhero[/article].
Favreau is on Franchise Fire
Literally days after Jon Favreau became the hottest director in Hollywood, thanks to a $103 million opening weekend, we caught up with him to ask if he'd be following it up with [article id="1589039"]"Iron Man 2" or "Avengers."[/article] At the time, Favreau said it would most likely be one of the two, he just didn't know which. Two years later, he told us [article id="1638644"]he's happy with his cut[/article] but is still so nervous that on Thursday morning he tweeted: "I can't sleep. The movie opens in 24 hours."
When Favs showed up at Comic-Con last summer, he was pumped for the film and amazed at the [article id="1617040"]thunderous reception[/article]. A few months later, while promoting his acting in "Couples Retreat" in September, we talked about the trickiness of [article id="1623789"]using CGI in the film[/article]. Recently, we caught up with him again, and he dished on the [article id="1638314"]rumors that had been swirling[/article] about a Gwyneth Paltrow dominatrix scene and a Thor cameo.
Everyone not named Terrence Howard would likely agree that this movie has been cast with the best of the best — from Robert and Gwyneth, to Samuel and Scarlett. Oscar nominee Don Cheadle is stepping in to play Rhodey, and we all remember how that one went down. Soon enough, [article id="1606838"]Mickey Rourke and Scarlett Johansson[/article] joined up, followed by Sam Rockwell. When you see the movie this weekend, imagine Rockwell as Tony Stark. Lastly, keep your eyes peeled for a [article id="1637578"]surprise cameo by the late DJ AM[/article].
No Weeping Widow
Last summer at Comic-Con, Scarlett playfully announced that her role as the Black Widow will kick some major ass. She wouldn't admit if her character was good-natured or bad but said the training was intense. She described the [article id="1616961"]Black Widow as a super-shape-shifter[/article] and admitted that the [article id="1638291"]fight scenes were painful to film[/article].
[article id="1628427"]The trailer[/article], which dropped back in December, reveals some of the new adventures in store for Tony Stark in "Iron Man 2." An MTV News [article id="1617198"]shot-by-shot analysis[/article] reveals more, including his father's involvement with the sequel. Downey gave us an inside look into his own life when he discussed [article id="1638240"]his real-life father[/article], saying Tony isn't the only one who has had to live in a father's shadows.
Please, No Gang Signs
Last December, [article id="1628422"]a fun viral game[/article] had a fan unlocking a sneak peek at the film, while [article id="1637703"]our set visit[/article] revealed even more. Sure, most people paying good money to see the movie this weekend will want a glimpse at Downey and the suit — but we're just as excited about Sam Jackson as Nick Fury, a badass S.H.I.E.L.D. agent; Cheadle as War Machine; and a [article id="1638333"]Pepper Potts ready for action[/article]. Want some extra insight into the story line? Be sure to pick up [article id="1634877"]the novel[/article] and some toys, and then you'll feel more connected than Tony Stark himself.
Oh, and one last thing: In case you didn't [article id="1586528"]learn your lesson from the first "Iron Man,"[/article] be sure to keep your butt in the seat past the end credits this time!
Check out everything we've got on "Iron Man 2."