Review – Iron Man (2008)
Director: Jon Favreau
Release date: 2008
Iron Man is the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and begins phase one of its film franchise. It is based on the comic book character of the same name. Iron Man had huge success at the box office on its opening and proved it had the staying power making over $300 million in just 2 months! Not only that, it has garnered favourable reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes, still sitting at a 94% approval rating! I remember sitting in the cinema and thinking wow, a superhero that’s not a goody, goody but an actual, multicoloured persona that, therefore, reflects human nature. With some decent music in the soundtrack and a storyline, I can get behind.
Iron Man: Plot
Warning contains spoilers!
Iron Man focuses on Tony Stark played by Robert Downey Jr, a billionaire engineer and industrialist who inherited his fathers, Stark Industries, a defence contractor that builds weapons. Blah blah same superhero droll rich kid yarda yarda…
On a trip to Afghanistan with Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes, played by Terrance Howard, to showcase the company, Jericho Missile Tony is ambushed and captured by the terrorist group the Ten Rings. They used one of his own weapons to target him,
Stark is critically wounded. Fellow captive and scientist Dr Ho Yinsen, played by Shaun Toub, managed to fix an electromagnet to Stark’s chest. This prevents the shrapnel from burying deeper into his heart and killing him.
The Ten Rings tell the captives they will be released if they build a Jericho Missile.
Instead, the two come up with a plan to build a weaponised suit to help them escape. Ok, so he is actually quite a hands-on, inventive chap and can build stuff… Good stuff!
Eventually, the terrorists cotton on and launch an attack on them. Yinsen sacrifices himself, allowing Tony time to power the suit up.
Tony manages to blast his way out kills the baddies and finds his friend, Yinsen, dying. Stark burns the Ten rings weapons and cave. He flys off and crashes in the desert destroying the suit. He is discovered by Rhodes and taken home.
Plot thickens back to home…
After seeing the damage his own missiles could do in the wrong hands, he publicly announces Stark industries would no longer be making weapons. Nice one chap! Instead, he goes about building a more advanced suit.
Unbeknown to Tony, the company manager and his fathers business partner, Obadiah Stane, played by Jeff Bridges, had been deviously selling weapons to The Ten Rings. It was only at a charity event that journalist Christine Everhart discussed this with Stark and also tells him of their plans to attack Yinsens village.
The plot thickens again!
Stark then suits up and flies to Afghanistan in order to save the villagers. On his return home he is intercepted by two F-22 raptors, he has to call Rhodes to reveal his secret identity and to put a stop to the attack.
Stane and the Ten rings stage a coup to get rid of Stark as Stane wants the company for himself. They recover parts of the original suit. Stane manages to get his hands on it and reverse engineers himself a suit.
Though, no matter how hard he tries he cannot replicate the power unit. He, therefore, instead, steals it from Stark’s chest. Stark’s assistant, Pepper Potts. Who is played by Gwyneth Paltrow had placed the original in a display case with the words: “Proof That Tony Stark has a Heart.” written on the front.
A stroke of luck really, as Stark manages to grab this before he died to replace the one taken by Stane. Pepper Potts was told to hack into Stanes computer finding evidence of his betrayal and weapon deals with terrorists. She forwards this onto S.H.I.E.L.D agent Phil Coulson, portrayed by Clark Gregg. S.H.I.E.L.D attempts to arrest Stane, however, he dons his own suit and attacks them.
Ensue a massive fight scene between Stark and Stane, the classic good vs bad battle. The action takes them to the top of the Stark industries building. Though ultimately Pepper Potts wins. She overloads the Arc reactor that powers the building, causing a huge power surge.
Stane and his suit fall into the reactor killing him. Shame really it had to get to that stage but hey ho, needs must. I guess bonus, as it saves the cost of keeping him in prison I guess.
During a press conference the next day, Stark announces himself to be the superhero, dubbed by the press as “Iron Man.”
In the end credits, Nick Fury invites Stark to be part of a bigger group of hero’s, The Avengers… Opening the door to the Future MCU that we know and love today!
Iron Man Casting and Production
The film was Marvel’s first self-financed film. It hired Jon Favreau as a director who immediately stirred friction with Marvel over his casting of Downey Jr. Stating his past was exactly right for the character, making him a “likeable asshole,” apparently Downey Jr had an office next to the director so they could closely collaborate on the script. Downey adding humour to the character and making him more believable.
Despite the tensions with Marvel, Downey turned out to be the best fit for the character. Becoming one of the MCU fans favourites. It’s also been a great role for Downey Jr, helping his career again after some personal trouble with drugs and a stint in prison. As well as aiding him in becoming the highest-paid Hollywood actor in 2015.
Iron Man Characters
It’s not just the Downey Jr show, you have a great baddie in Jeff Bridges character. I personally feel he could have had much more screen time but that’s probably just me being a big fan! But these two with Paltrow’s, Pepper Potts have a good working relationship. It is believable that they have been colleagues for years. Stane has worked and worked in the background for Stark industries. Ok, his backhand deals with terrorists clearly mark him as an immoral person.
But Stark also creates the vindictive side of Stane. Stark gives him no heads up about what he was going to say in the press conference. Telling the press the company was ceasing weapons manufacturing without discussing it first with Stane, you could see it stung! You can see the cogs turning and how he felt totally unheard and undervalued. Showing Stark isn’t the best boss in the world, you can see why the board kicked him off in the coup.
Our hero isn’t all good, this film is one of the first superhero films to really showcase the multicoloured persona of human nature. Therefore, probably why the MCU is so believable and liked and has been the success it is!
The start of the MCU
Obviously, this film is the start of something much bigger.
Not only the first film released by the MCU but also it opens up for not only a sequel but also kick starts us into the Avengers. The clues in the end Credits with ole Nick Fury rocking up. Saying hey come be part of something bigger than yourself, you know like the “Avengers Initiative.”
It’s a pretty good start, I think most Marvel fans would agree, to this new era of Marvel. It was the start of the huge success that the MCU has become and looks to continue to build upon these “Iron” foundations… Yeah I know I am pushing my luck now with these puns. In all seriousness, it’s a cracking little film, there is a reason it’s so well thought of.
Not only does it appeal to pure Marvel fans but it’s accessible to everyone. Thanks to its believable characters and a great storyline that keeps moving forward and doesn’t drag. It gets the thumbs up from this idiot! X
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