Directed By: Jon Favreau
Written By: Mark Fergus, Hawk Otsby, Art Macrum, Matt Holloway
Release Date: May 2nd, 2008
Run Time: 2h 6m
Link to IMDb
Now that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in the end game of their battle with Thanos, and with Captain Marvel just around the corner, I figured it’d be a fun time to go back and revisit all the films that lead us here. All… Jesus Christ, nineteen of them! And people complain that there are thirty Godzilla movies. At least those took sixty years! Marvel did it in ten!
Anyways, I’m gonna go through all nineteen of the MCU movies leading up to Captain Marvel. I may review that one when it comes out, but I’m not entirely sure yet. For know, let’s focus on the movie that started it all: Iron Man.
This movie… is still pretty good. It’s far from great, and that third act is really bad, but it’s not a bad movie. In fact, going back to watch it again with the current context of the MCU is pretty fun!
In the new movies, Tony feels nigh unstoppable (unless he’s fighting a giant nut sack chinned Grimace with a golden oven mitt, but he hardly counts). He’s got robots all over the place, tons of AI companions like Vision and Friday, and he doesn’t even need to put his suit on anymore! It’s grafted onto him and takes shape thanks to nanomachines, like it is in the comics. Don’t get me wrong, I think that all of that stuff is rad as hell, but there’s something charming about going back to where it started.
Remember when he didn’t know how to make an Iron Man suit properly and he had to try again and again? Or how he could barely fly? Or how it took a while to even put the suit on? How about how he had to actually practice with the suit to use it properly? It’s fun to see where he came from, especially when you know where he’s going to go later in his story.
On the subject, the story in this movie is pretty good. The first act tells a pretty intense and interesting story of Tony breaking out of his captivity, which changes him for the better. The second tells the story of him perfecting the Iron Man suit and taking his revenge in the middle east, all while transforming his company from the weapon’s empire it was into something new. And the third act…
Has evil Jeff Bridges in a giant robot. For the two of you who haven’t seen this movie, that may sound awesome. I assure you: it’s not. It kind of ruins the whole thing.
This is where we get into a problem that plagues practically every Marvel movie before Phase 3. Each movie has a big dumb villain that’s about as interesting as the mud I wipe off of my shoes after a hike on a rainy day. They’re not relatable, interesting, and you don’t feel for them in any way. They’re just big dumb evil machines that exist just to try and kill the hero. They aren’t characters; they are an antagonistic force.
Jeff Bridges’ character does have the motivation for hating and wanting to kill Tony. He wants Stark Industries for himself. So why does he get in a giant robot suit and go on a rampage? He even picks up a family inside a car and nearly kills them too! With his fucking helmet down!! This won’t get you the company, this will make you a wanted domestic terrorist!
This movie also suffers from the same problem that almost every MCU film has: flat cinematography. None of the shots are anything truly special or interesting to look at. They serve the sole purpose of relaying the visual information to you. None of these movies do anything truly creative with the composition of their shots.
Except Guardians of the Galaxy. But that’s not for another eight or nine movies.
Still, this movie is really fun to watch. Each actor is clearly giving it their all, and the script is incredibly solid. If the third act didn’t fall apart, this could’ve been a truly fantastic super hero origin story. But as it stands, it’s just a pretty good one. It’s not bad, nor is it great.
The same can be said for the action. It’s pretty forgettable, but not without it’s merits. The scene where Tony takes his revenge in the middle east is downright savage and I kind of love it. Aside from that, I can’t remember anything noteworthy. And it clearly wasn’t, because that revenge scene is the only thing in my notes on the subject.
I also really love this movie’s ending. Mainly because they play “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath. They didn’t need to do that. But they did it anyways.
And then there’s the after credits scene. We all know it! That one shot of Nick Fury standing silhouetted at the window isn’t just the best shot in the whole movie, but it changed the landscape of cinema as we know it. His simple introduction to Tony Stark and the mere mention of the ‘Avengers Initiative’ was enough to make the whole world pay attention. If it weren’t for that one scene, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
All in all, this movie is a good time that stands the test of it. Yes, the direction is flat and the third act sucks. But it’s still entertaining, and it laid down the ground work for the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the entire foundation of Hollywood as we know it today, what with everyone trying to start a big cinematic universe.
For better or for worse…
So that was a fun trip down nostalgia lane! What have we got next? Surely Marvel only improved from- oh. Right.