I'll be the first person to defend the Marvel Cinematic Universe as not actually having made a truly bad movie, but they've certainly come pretty close. If you ask me which is the worst, it will always be a toss-up between Thor: The Dark World and Iron Man 2, two sequels that didn't quite know what to do in expanding upon the success of their forebears. Iron Man 2 in particular bears the hallmarks of a rushed-out sequel, cashing in on the unexpected smash success of the first Iron Man without the same sort of attention to character that made that success possible.
Now, there's a lot to like in Iron Man 2. Sam Rockwell is fantastic, as usual. Robert Downey Jr. and Gwenyth Paltrow distract from their characters' arcs jogging in place by turning their chemistry up to eleven. And there's some pretty legit Iron Man suit action thrown into the mix, even if the villain orchestrating the cluster is entirely undercooked. But at the end of the day, Iron Man 2 is a bloated tangle of plot threads designed to keep Tony Stark in the public consciousness until The Avengers was ready, with just enough seeded throughout in terms of S.H.I.E.L.D. lore and Black Widow fight scenes to leave the experience feeling good enough for government work.
But there's one moment from the clusterfuck that has always stood out to me. It comes down to Don Cheadle, taking over the role of Rhodey in spectacularly cheeky fashion. Rhodey has one line that is one of the absolute greatest things ever said in a Marvel film, a nice nod to the absurdity of his presence at that moment in the narrative. And I know you think I'm talking about that fourth wall break where the script takes a moment to acknowledge that Don Cheadle looks nothing like Terence Howard, but I'm not.
There's something much better. (Feel free to watch the whole scene, but the important part is at 1:50.)
"You guys look like two seals fighting over a grape."
That is such a bizarrely specific thing to say. When was Rhodey in a situation to watch a pair of seals battle over a tiny fruit? Does that sort of inevitably slap-heavy combat truly resemble the kiss between an alcoholic robot man and the CEO of Goop? What would even motivate seals to fight over a single grape? Were they deprived of the whole bunch and starved until they needed to engage in surprisingly romantic combat for the singular morsel that might sustain them?
Or was Rhodey talking about R&B singer Seal, fighting an actual seal for the juicy morsel? Is this the origin of Seal's facial scars? Or what if there were actually two Seals, fighting to gain control of a mystical fruit that would redefine our world?
Seal chased his clone to the roof, gun at the ready, blood running down his face after the doppelganger had struck him with a seal-like quickness. The clone stood at the precipice, holding the glowing Infinity Grape between his fingers, prepared to activate its power to destroy half of all seals in the world.
"I can't let you carry out your incredibly specific plan!" Seal shouted above the gales that threatened to throw them to their mutual demise. "Seals are beautiful creatures that deserve to live in peace!"
"It's A Man's Man's Man's World," replied the clone, "and I Can't Stand The Rain when those little fuckers splash me at Sea World." The Grape of Power glowed in the faux singer's grip as he stood on a literal and figurative edge that would work excellently as a visual metaphor in an action movie.
"You're Crazy!" said Seal. "A Change Is Gonna Come when they finally install splash guards at the pool, but until then you can still bring a poncho."
"And you're Wishing On A Star! I can't get anyone to Stand By Me when they splash about, no matter how protected I am!"
"So why do you even go to the show? And how close are you sitting to these seals that they're splashing you? The internal consistency of your motivation is sorely lacking."
"Shut up!" shouted the clone as he shoved the Infinity Grape into his mouth and took a step backward toward the abyss. "I Believe I Can Fly!"
"That's an R. Kelly song," said Seal. "You're thinking of Fly Like An Eagle."
"Nah, dude, that's a Steve Miller song."
"But I covered it!"
"What, really?" said the clone, flustered. "Hold on." He pulled out his phone, Googling Seal songs like a writer attempting to run a gag into the ground. "Well, what do you know, you're right. I'll Fly Like An Eagle then!" The Infinity Grape glowed through his cheek, one bite away from unleashing havoc upon the unsuspecting pinniped population.
"Well, call me a flower," said Seal, dropping his gun as he broke out into a run, "because you're about to receive a Kiss From A Rose!"
Seal grabbed the other Seal and planted his lips upon his double's, reaching his tongue inside to pull the Infinity Grape free of its captor's jaws. Seal II at first resisted Seal's embrace, but eventually found enjoyment in the surrender, and soon the Seals were passing the grape back and forth between them, not so much fighting as turning the cosmic crop into a passion fruit. Except that it was a grape, and not a passion fruit.
Rhodey stood by and watched, a lit joint between his lips as he pondered the ramifications of two Seals fighting over a grape.
"That's some good shit," said Rhodey, a puff of smoke escaping his lungs in a cough. "That's some good shit indeed. I shall be reminded of this whenever I see two people kiss on a rooftop."
Thank you for reading my Seal slash fiction. The next chapter is currently in production and talks have begun to adapt this into an MCU spin-off project, so any support you can give would be much appreciated.