We had a bit of an '80s flashback while watching the 'Iron Man 2' trailer -- and no, a hot tub was not involved in any way.

When you're making a sequel to a killer action movie, you can't help but borrow from some of the great franchises that have gone before and we think we know where 'Iron Man' got some of its inspiration: One Rocky Balboa.
We had a bit of an '80s flashback while watching the 'Iron Man 2' trailer -- and no, a hot tub was not involved in any way.

When you're making a sequel to a killer action movie, you can't help but borrow from some of the great franchises that came before -- and we think we know where 'Iron Man' got some of its inspiration: One Rocky Balboa.

Does this sound familiar? After winning his first round (or two), our hero gets complacent, with glitz and glamour replacing guts and gritty determination. He doesn't know it yet, but a scrappy newcomer is waiting in the wings to take him down and, unlike our hero, this guy is running on sheer anger. Cue the apocalyptic showdown. Yep, it's the playbook from 'Rocky III.'

Compare the two trailers:

'Rocky III' (1982)


'Iron Man 2' (2010)


Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) is on top of the world as the 'Iron Man 2' preview begins, but when you're that rich, handsome and powerful, everyone's gunning for you, as proven in 'Rocky III,' when our champ (Sylvester Stallone) was too busy filming commercials and buying DeLoreans (hey, it was 1982) to stay on top of his game. Enter the villain who's going to give him a big wake-up call: Hungry boxer Clubber Lang (Mr. T). The look of shock on Tony's face when the scarily intense Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) crashes his fancy race car? Just like that on Rocky's when he's facing a 10-count after underestimating his ferocious opponent.

You have to love the opposing montages as the forces of good and evil prepare to face off for the first time: In 'Rocky III,' Rocky works out at a swank hotel in front of the public, who ask for kisses in between push-ups. No-nonsense trainer Mickey (Burgess Meredith) advises Rocky, "This is not the way you train for Clubber. He ain't gonna kiss ya, he's gonna kill ya!" Mickey knows what he's talking about: Clubber promises (in one of our favorite movie quotes ever): "I'm gonna torture him. I'm gonna crucify him. Real bad." While Rocky poses in front of a painting of himself, a focused Clubber is subjecting himself to a punishing workout in a deserted gym.

Likewise, while Stark celebrates center stage at a Stark Expo, surrounded by fireworks, scantily clad dancers and a backdrop of the American flag, his metal-mouthed nemesis Whiplash labors alone on his own takedown scheme: A device similar to Iron Man's. "There will be blood in the water," he promises in a thick Russian accent.

Speaking of the over-the-top patriotic trappings in the 'Iron Man 2' trailer... remember 'Rocky IV,' the one where Rocky takes on unstoppable Soviet boxer Dolph Lundgren to avenge his best friend's death and for the honor of our nation? For the big America vs. Russia showdown, Rocky skips all the dancing showgirls, flags and fireworks and James Brown singing 'Living in America' hoo-ha that (symbolically at least) proved to be Apollo Creed's downfall.

Yeah, there's more than a hint of that kind of "USA, USA!" fervor in Tony Stark's presentation that just screams "I'm setting myself up for a fall!" Even if he more often makes his entrance to AC/DC or Black Sabbath. Although the Cold War is long over, Russian villains never go out of style, do they?

Lessons learned from Rocky: Never lose the "eye of the tiger." And while we'd love an 'Iron Man 3' (and 4), it's always better to quit while you're still on top.