April 27, 2010 08:00 PM

Fernando Allende/Broadimage; Gregg DeGuire/PictureGroup

Dynamic special effects, juicy new villains and Robert Downey Jr.’s zippy one-liners aren’t the only compelling reasons to go see Iron Man 2. Also worth checking out are the toned physiques of leading ladies Scarlett Johansson and Gwyneth Paltrow, both of whom endured grueling workouts to get hardbodied for the movie. As part of her role as the Black Widow, Johansson famously dons a skintight Lycra catsuit in the film. “I was very proud to be in the catsuit,” the 24-year-old actress told PEOPLE at the Iron Man 2 premiere at Hollywood’s El Capitan Theater yesterday. “I worked really hard to get there, and by the time I put it on, it was like ‘If I don’t look good in this catsuit now, I should just never wear it. You’ve just got to own it.” And what did the star do to prepare for the unforgivingly snug costume? “Lots of strength training, lots of fight training, lots of stunt training–and lots of pain!” laughed Johansson, who wore a sculptural one-shoulder Armani Prive cocktail dress on the red carpet. For her part, Paltrow, who showed off the results of her tough training in a Giorgio Armani shorts suit at the premiere, logged major hours with her trainer Tracy Anderson before resuming her role as Pepper Potts. “[Tracy] killed me! She kicked my butt!” laughed Gwyneth. And even though Gwyneth doesn’t play a superhero–yet–she still had a good reason to get in shape. “Originally there was a scene–it was like a fantasy scene–and I was in lingerie, and I was so panicked. I thought ‘Okay, I really have to get in good shape.’ And then it ended up getting cut out and I was already in such good shape that I had to keep going,” says Paltrow. Now, with her new rock-hard body, Paltrow sees a superhero role in her future. “I could be an Iron Woman. Iron Woman would work.” Tell us: Are you excited to see Irom Man 2? — reporting by Scott Huver

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