For some reason, probably because of the fact that Comic-Con just passed and Avengers: Infinity War was showcased and is only one year away, I’ve had the strong desire to marathon every Marvel Cinematic Universe entry to date. I haven’t really revisited the earlier films in quite some time so I thought it would be a really cool and nostalgic experience since the MCU started 9 years ago. Just saying that sentence is crazy. The fact that it’s been 9 years since Tony Stark first donned the Iron Man suit and this connected universe thing seemed far fetch. So I went into rewatching the first Iron Man with this mentality and looked at how far we’ve come and my goodness is it super weird to see Tony Stark back then to where he is now. No wonder the MCU has worked out so well because this film is truly brilliant.
Iron Man is the origin story of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), a billionaire playboy who owns Stark Industries, a weapons manufacturing company. When he is in Afghanistan displaying a new form of missile for the U.S. Army, his convoy is ambushed by a mysterious group of terrorists known as the Ten Rings and is forced to make the very same missile he was showing off for these terrorists. He is forced to use his smarts and wits about him to escape and by doing this, he begins to have a change of heart about what his company is doing and his weapons getting into the wrong hands and begins to work on a different kind of weapon, one that can help more than hurt people and thus, the Iron Man is born.
Robert Downey Jr is Tony Stark. I can’t picture anyone else in this role because he’s just that amazing. Back in 2008, RDJ was just getting his life back on track after a few drug related problems and between this and Zodiac, the man really picked some quality projects to help enter back into the acting landscape and especially with this role as Tony Stark, he inhabits this role in a way that will define him for a lifetime. He’s as charismatic and sarcastic as they come but there’s a brokenness in his eyes and heart that is absolutely perfect. Jeff Bridges as Stane, Tony’s lifelong friend and work partner is is great even if his character is slightly underwritten. Bridges easily breathes life into this character and honestly, every character besides Stark in this film is slightly underwritten but cast so perfectly and brilliantly that you are interested in every character in the film. My only thing with the casting is that while I enjoy Terrence Howard as James Rhodes, Don Cheadle’s future performances are much better. Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts is also really fantastic and the chemistry between her and Tony Stark is absolute dynamite.
Revisiting this film, I was really surprised to realize just how minimal the action in the film is. There’s really only three action sequences in the film and they’re badass and awesome. It’s just such a surprise at how little action the film has yet it’s so exciting because you become so invested in Tony Stark as a character and his journey into becoming the Iron Man. The only flaw I really have with the film is the MCU villain issue. I won’t say who the villain is because you don’t learn until the latter half of the film but I understand their motivations and they’re most certainly not a bad villain. Just an underwhelming one when compared to Tony Stark’s character and there wasn’t as much of a threat as I hoped. However, this is Tony Stark’s story and that story is so investing that I’m willing to overlook the villain issue.
Rewatching Iron Man, it’s crazy what 9 years worth of connected films do to a franchise. Seeing this very grounded opening the MCU was a fantastic treat and I’m ready to begin my journey back through the Marvel’s brilliant and game changing franchise. What a way to kick off this franchise and this original Iron Man will always hold a place deep in my heart.
The Incredible Hulk (2008)