Justin Hammer was extremely confident about his prized weapon "Ex-Wife"

These are the Cubans, baby. This is the Cohibas; the Montecristos. This is a kinetic-kill, side-winder vehicle with a secondary cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine RDX burst. It's capable of busting a bunker under the bunker you just busted. If it were any smarter, it'd write a book, a book that would make Ulysses look like it was written in crayon. It would read it to you. This is my Eiffel Tower. This is my Rachmaninoff's Third. My Piéta. It's completely elegant, it's bafflingly beautiful, and it's capable of reducing the population of any standing structure to zero.

Why didn't it work when Colonel Rhodes fired it?

I'm pretty sure the answer isn't what Tony said: "Hammer Tech?". Weapons are subjected to tests. Hammer certainly wouldn't say all that about his weapon without having tested it, and his guns all work fine. While his prototype suit is shown malfunctioning early on, that's a much more complex piece of technology, and he wasn't trying to sell it at the time.

  • 1
    A little support will be appreciated in this meta question related to comments, edit history of this question and the nature of Movies SE.
    – Gary 2
    Nov 11, 2022 at 19:15
  • There have been many times a weapons system gets procured and tested, and then doesn't quite deliver once it is used in actual situations. In many militaries around the world.
    – HorusKol
    Nov 12, 2022 at 11:25

2 Answers 2



There's an ancient literary convention that says that if someone boasts about their accomplishments too much, then an act of poetic justice should cause them to be humiliated in an appropriate way.

If Rhodes had left out everything from "If it were any smarter..." to "...it's bafflingly beautiful" then he wouldn't have been demonstrating hubris and the weapon would have worked. (Unless the story required it to fail for some other reason.)


Despite its fearsome reputation, it ultimately failed to function properly when used by James Rhodes in the War Machine Armor: Mark I. This was likely due to the short range at which it was deployed, lacking the time needed to build up enough velocity to penetrate its target and prime its explosive charge.


A kinetic energy weapon (also known as kinetic weapon, kinetic energy warhead, kinetic warhead, kinetic projectile, kinetic kill vehicle) is a weapon based solely on a projectile's kinetic energy instead of an explosive or any other kind of payload.


(Emphasis added)

  • In the same breath that he describes it as a "kinetic kill" weapon, Hammer also mentions that it has an explosive warhead, carrying a mixture of two compounds... that are the same compound, once under its chemical name and once under a trade name. He's probably not a very reliable source about what it does or what it's for.
    – Cadence
    Nov 12, 2022 at 1:49
  • @Cadence Two compounds? "cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine RDX" ? I thought he was saying only about one component albeit mentioning it using the scientific name and then the common name. Not mixture.
    – Gary 2
    Nov 12, 2022 at 2:09
  • Yeah, he's just mentioning two names for the same thing, but @Cadence has a point. His explanation doesn't make much sense.
    – Mithoron
    Nov 15, 2022 at 1:58

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