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10 Movies Based on Scientific Falsehoods


6
'Iron Man'
Even Tony Stark’s charisma and ego can’t bend the rules of science. But that suit sure does look cool. © Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Even Tony Stark’s charisma and ego can’t bend the rules of science. But that suit sure does look cool. © Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In "Iron Man," the wealthy genius Tony Stark cavorts in a fancy exoskeleton powered by a so-called arc reactor. This reactor provides his superhero suit with endless clean power for flight, advanced weaponry and all sorts of other fantastic capabilities. It's also more than a little on the hokey side.

There's a reason that the movie never really delves into the specifics of the arc reactor. There's just no way to explain how one man-sized body suit could seamlessly create so much power without byproducts like heat and radioactive waste. In other words, the reactor crumbles our known principles of physics and thermodynamics and tosses them into the scientific wastebasket.

To add to scientific insult, the suit is purportedly powered by palladium, which is slowly but surely trickling into Stark's circulatory system. Rather than killing him promptly, he somehow manages to not only survive — but thrive — flying around the globe and foiling the nefarious plots of various evildoers. And the idea of integrating such a high-level power system of this level into the human body without injuring it? That premise alone seems hazardous, at best.

"Iron Man" is chock full of amazing comic book ideas. But if this amazing power source were possible, we'd have put it to work on our energy crisis a long time ago.