ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

(Warning - if you haven't yet seen The Martian, then MASSIVE, HULKING SPOILERS lie below, so proceeding with a considerable amount of caution is advised. Also, just go see it - It's awesome...)

Now, if you've already seen The Martian - and if not, feel free to head out to your nearest movie theater now. Don't worry, we'll wait - then you already know full well that there's a whole lot to love about the movie. Whether it's prompted by the rip-roaring adventure, the sleeve-worn lightheartedness, or the cast stuffed full to bursting with ridiculous talent, it's a tough movie to emerge from without a huge cheesy grin on your face.

One of the most geek-friendly reasons to love the movie, though?

The Martian Features Two of the Best Pop Culture References We'll See This Year

(Once again - if you haven't yet seen The Martian, then the following will most definitely SPOIL at least one major plot point from near the movie's end. As Taylor Swift so sagely put it: "Don't say I didn't say I didn't warn ya...")

First up?

Mark Watney IS Iron Man

Or, at least, he might as well be in one scene right towards the end of The Martian. After all, during the Hermes' attempt to rescue the Matt Damon-played Mark (with the crew having slingshotted themselves back to Mars), not only does Watney make the lighthearted - yet, coming from him, deadly serious - suggestion that he could cut a hole in the palm of his space-suit, thus making him "like Iron Man" - but he then actually ends up doing it.

Y'see, despite the crew's objections, things eventually go sufficiently wrong with the rescue operation that there's no alternative but for Mark to try out his Iron Man theory - which he's totally up for, on the basis that, even if he doesn't make it, he "would get to fly around like Iron Man."

The best part? The crew cheering him on includes Marvel Studios stars Sebastian 'Winter Soldier' Stan and Michael 'Luis from Ant-Man' Peña, and Fox's Invisible Woman, Kate Mara - making the whole thing the Double Down sandwich of superhero references . At one point, Stan's character even says "Go Iron Man!", which is likely to look doubly hilarious once Captain America: Civil War arrives next year with the Winter Soldier very much on the Iron Man-opposing side of the superhero divide.

The biggest geeky laugh of the movie, though, came a little earlier, when...

The Martian Threw in One of the Greatest Lord of the Rings Gags in Movie History

Specifically, there's a scene mid-way through the movie during which NASA's best and brightest hold a secret meeting to discuss how to save Watney - and end up in a thirty second quip-fest centering on the meeting being named 'Project Elrond,' after the classic novel's momentous meeting in Rivendell.

Much to the dismay of Kristen Wiig's Annie Montrose, the whole thing devolves into a geek-tastic series of subtle gags (just wait for Jeff Daniels' Teddy Sanders' killer line) - one which is all the sweeter for one key reason: Sean Bean is totally a part of it, playing NASA Mission Director Mitch Henderson.

And the reason that matters?

Sean Bean also played Boromir...

...which means he's now been at TWO Elrond-themed councils, in two completely unrelated films.

Nicely played, The Martian... Nicely played...

What do you reckon, though?


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