“… you can’t deny that Marvel was way ahead of the curve with Iron Man in terms of what it sets up.”
Iron Man is a very special movie for many reasons, a big one being that it completely revolutionized comic book films by introducing the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For the rest of April, until the release of Captain America: Civil War, I will be celebrating the Marvel Cinematic Universe by re-watching and reviewing every MCU film. As you guessed by the first sentenced, I kicked this event off with Iron Man. Like I said, Iron man is special, and it is hard to imagine what comic book films would be like without it. Iron Man is movie about, well it’s about Iron Man. Specifically the billionaire Tony Stark, who after being captured by terrorists decides to devote his life to saving people by becoming Iron Man. Iron Man is a movie that I hold close for personal reasons, but I’m sure that many executives at Marvel (and now Disney) hold it close for reasons that are completely different. Regardless, you can’t deny that Marvel was way ahead of the curve with Iron Man in terms of what it sets up.
Before Iron Man, my favourite superhero movies were the Sam Raimi Spiderman films. I remember liking Spiderman when I was little, and then deciding to read some comics about the character. I quickly realized that the Sam Raimi Spiderman films weren’t much like the comics. Sure there were characters in each, but the feeling was different. Where I’m going with this is that when I saw Iron Man, I felt (and still feel) that it incapsulates the comic experience. It’s hard for me to believe that the film was directed by Jon Favreau because it is so devoid of any stylistic “Favreau” elements, which makes it more accessible in a weird way. Of course, this also set up a darker side of Marvel where instead of hiring directors with visions, they would much rather hire directors that don’t stray too far from the established “feel” of the MCU. Anyway, Iron Man is a great movie because it is like reading a comic book. It has action, it has drama, it has humour, it really has it all. Iron Man also did something that a lot of films seem to have trouble with: it integrated the origin story seamlessly with the rest of the narrative. It seems to me that more movies have hard dividing lines where the beginning is the origin story, and the character becomes the superhero at exactly the halfway point. Iron Man did it well by starting the story essentially right before he became Iron Man, then doing a quick flashback to give you a sense of his character, then back to the action. Tony Stark then spends the rest of the film honing his craft as Iron Man, never really perfecting it. I do feel, however, that a big reason Iron Man was so successful in the origin story department is because the origin story of Iron Man was not as well known as say Superman or Spiderman. Either way, Iron Man was a great start for the character. One thing that worried me about watching Iron Man was the realization that the movie relies heavily on special effects. Of course the movie is from eight years ago, so you would think the special effects would be garbage no, but you would be wrong. Apart from a few hiccups here and there, I had absolutely no problem believing what I was seeing. That is impressive for a film as old as Iron Man. The camera work helped a little with that because it followed the action well, but didn’t show more than it needed to. Also, there was this really cool dutch angle shot that came out of nowhere toward the end of the movie that I loved. Another thing that really puts this movie on the map is phenomenal acting. Everyone agrees that Robert Downey Jr. was born to play Tony Stark, but it’s not just him that is great. Jeff Bridges did a good job as Tony’s mentor, Gwyneth Paltrow did a great job as Pepper Potts, and who could forget Terrance Howard* (*soon to be replaced by Don Cheadle) as Rhodey. Finally, I have to mention the fact that Iron Man also started the after credits sequence in Marvel films. That has become a staple in pop culture, and what better of a way to kick it off than with a kick ass scene with Samuel L. Jackson introducing the Avengers. Man, this movie is fucking cool.
Overall I love Iron Man. It’s a great movie all around. If you haven’t seen Iron Man (come on, who hasn’t seen Iron Man), do yourself a favour and watch it.
I give Iron Man an A