…And then one day, the superhero genre changed into what we know it as today. The arrival of Iron Man, a once 3rd tier superhero is now one of the most memorable most popular heroes we’ve come to know. The film that kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) changed how the comic book genre is looked at by critics and the academy while creating this one overlapping story that plays out over 23 films. Yes, you read that right one story, 23 films, absolutely BONKERS! If you think about it, really think if such a feat is even possible, you’d be right it’s not but, Marvel had an ace in the hole; Kevin Feige. I should say our lord and savior Kevin Feige. I remember all the way back in 2008 (no I didn’t actually see Iron Man in theaters) while I was working at Best Buy putting out the display for Iron Man and putting a DVD (yeah Blu-ray was out but I grabbed the DVD, don’t ask…) to the side for myself. I couldn’t wait to get off my shift, unwrap the movie and watch it for the first time. I remember just sitting there watching and not even realizing that this at one-point standalone comic book movie exists in a world where the greatest comic book movie exists (The Dark Knight).
If you could ask Tony Stark who he is well, he’s just a genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist who sells war for a living. At the time he thinks it’s to the right side only until he gets captured and realizes he couldn’t be more naive. Tony gets captured in the Middle East and meets an unexpected ally Yinsen. Now, they’re supposed to be building the Jericho missile, but they have a plan to escape instead. Without Raza knowing, Tony and Yinsen replace the car battery that is hooked up to his chest keeping the shrapnel out of his heart. And what they create (with a box of scraps) is the mark 1 arc reactor and the bulky mark 1 iron man suit. When Tony touches down back in California he asks for two things: a press conference and a cheeseburger. First of all, why Burger King? Second of all WHY Burger King? I guess you know, product placement sponsorships. After Tony expresses his point of view to do a complete 180 with his company vision, he gets to work. Some of the best scenes are when Tony is building his suit, flying and is testing the different parts.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) becomes a changed man over the horrors he saw with how his weapons are being distributed. He gets revenge on his captors while getting caught by Pepper Pots (Gwyneth Paltrow) In the process of figuring out a better way to get out of the suit citing “let’s face it, this isn’t the worst thing you’ve ever caught me doing”. While Tony still figures out his new shiny suit, Tony’s right hand at Stark Industries Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) tried to back track all of Tony’s movements to where he was captured to learn how he built the arc reactor in a cave. Little does tony know, it was Obadiah who plotted to have Tony captured and in the first place to push him out of the company. Tony’s first test at being a hero comes as the Iron Monger is born, and yes, it can fly. With the aid of Pepper, agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Rhodey (Terrance Howard) Tony is able to stop Obadiah by destroying the larger arc reactor that powers Stark Industries.
This is the one, the one that kicked us off on a journey that we never expected. A larger world that would become the epicenter of our lives. Now, I’m going on the assumption that literally everyone and their mother has see this (if you haven’t, what have you been doing this last decade) once that post credit scene starts and Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) walks out of the shadows, my inner geek was awoken. I didn’t know much about superheroes or comic books before this, yes there were the Tobey Spider-Man films (we don’t talk about 3) The Tim Burton & Chris Nolan Batman’s, Fantastic Fo… let me stop there. Iron Man is special, it made casual fans more hardcore and created fans that once didn’t know anything at all. What did this mean “Mr. Stark, you’ve become part of a bigger universe. You just don’t know it yet.” Once Fury uttered the word, we all knew what was coming… The mighty Avengers. Our lord and savior Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios had a plan and we were just waiting with bated breath to see it all play out. There was no way an Avengers film could work right? But it does and it kicks so much ass.
Who could leave out the people who made this possible, Happy Hogan, Tony’s driver (John Favreau, our second lord and savior; thank you for The Mandalorian) The late great Stan “The Man” Lee and Jack Kirby. Favreau and RDJ gave us the perfect vision of Tony Stark and despite the rumors that RDJ almost didn’t get the role, I can’t picture anyone more suited (had to get one pun in here) to play this role. It’s a role that changed his life and gave him the second opportunity he deserved. Iron man is absolutely without question in my top 5 MCU films, don’t worry, after I review all 23, I will give my final (well not so final, things can change) ranking of all 23 films before Phase 4 kicks off. It sucks we have to wait till November to see Black Widow but, fear not Falcon and The Winter Soldier should be dropping in August. Man, I cannot wait for that show. I’m pumped I’m going to be doing all of the MCU films for you guys, I’m a nerd at heart and this genre has some awesome films. One thing marvel does best is dropping a ton of Easter eggs in their movies. Only going into the most notable ones and they are the 10 Rings terrorist organization that captured Stark in the beginning (Obadiah was clearly a member) which comes back into play in later films. The second is the trophy arc reactor Pepper gives Tony. It was such a great moment in the film because you can see he really changed his ways.
The story, acting, plot, and pacing of this first Iron Man is pretty solid throughout the film. Everyone just fit their roles. The one complaint I have with this film is the villain, Iron Monger is just a bigger carbon copy of Iron Man. He’s a weak villain with no real motivation other than to kill Tony. But why? Is he bitter that he’s always coming in second place to a Stark? It appears so by his irrational actions. The MCU has a general problem with their villains but there are some really bad ones and some that are perfect. I love the one shot when Obadiah gets in the suit for the first time and powers it up, it’s a scene out of Jurassic Park. Another shot(s) that I love is when the camera is looking into the mask of Tony and we get a peek at the HUD (heads up display). If one thing is evident throughout the entire MCU, it’s that Robert Downey Jr. was born to be Tony Stark. He is the living embodiment of this character and I literally don’t know a single actor who could play Tony better. One thing I appreciate about this film is the modernization of the times. In the comics, the setting is the 60’s, I love how Favreau, Feige and Marvel made Iron Man work in today’s world. Also, the cameo by Stan Lee is but the first in the MCU as we as the audience use our best eyes to spot when and where Stan will pop up next. A nothing thing the MCU does well are the scores and soundtracks, especially in this film with “Back in Black” by AC DC and Ghostface Killah (who has an alias of Ironman and Tony Stark). If I were to rank the first Iron Man, I’d rate it a 4.4 out of 5.
So, tell me guys, have you seen Iron Man and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
Iron Man is directed by John Favreau is Rated PG-13 and has a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. Iron Man was released on May 2nd, 2008 and has a runtime of 2 hours and 6 minutes.
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