Pepper Potts

BFF: Iron Man Played by: Gwyneth Paltrow Relationship: Tony Stark's girl Friday; promoted to Stark Industries CEO; a quietly flirtatious mutual infatuation; knew his father, cautiously optimistic about Tony; she seems to be game for something more, but he's a consummate playboy and prone to self-destructive behavior. Hurdles to romance: Professional standards; Stark's narcissism, wandering eye; Stark's reliance on technology to keep him alive; her inability to remain out of danger. Integral to plotline? Not really — and yet, without Paltrow's charmingly weightless performance, Pepper would be forgettable; indeed, it's the first time in years audiences have felt warmly toward the chilly actress. The first film, in particular, though less so with the overstuffed sequel, is a fine example of how the right actress, employing the right smirk of bemusement and pingpong rapport, can bring a breezy joviality to a role expected to get drowned out.
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