MCU Walkthrough | Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr. made a MySpace joke in Iron Man…
He called Terrance Howard and Jeff Bridges on a slide-up Verizon flip-phone…
This is when all was right in the world.
Our very first film on the MCU walkthrough is the movie that officially started it all in 2008, almost 10 years ago to the month. Iron Man, directed by Jon Favreau (aka Happy Hogan) with oversight by Kevin Feige, is the foundational building block of the expanding universe we see before us today. With a budget of $140 million dollars, Iron Man went on to gain over $585 million at the box office and was nominated for 2 Academy Awards. (Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects.)
Who is Iron Man?
Tony Stark is a master engineer, billionaire, playboy, chauvinist, philanthropist… you’re starting to get the idea. A rich son of an even richer father who uses the financial success of his company, particularly his weapons and development division. Throughout the course of 2008’s Iron Man, Tony Stark discovers his company’s hidden agenda: the mass production and sale of WMD’s to both sides of warring countries.
Tony travels overseas and is ambushed after testing a new WMD for the military. Stark is seriously injured and escapes captivity using his wit and ingenuity. He then makes it his new purpose to clean out the weapons division of Stark Enterprises and begins to change his outlook on the company, much to the chagrin of executives within Stark Enterprises. This movie reaches its climax when Tony Stark has to fight an executive from his own company that has copied and even perfected one of his Iron Man suits. At the end, Tony Stark embraces the press and reveals to the world that he is in fact, Iron Man.
Iron Man (2008) loosely used comic inspiration from Iron Man #163 – 200, by Warren Ellis and Adi Granov, which introduces Obadiah Stane as well as Iron Man Extremis.
As the star of this movie, Robert Downey Jr’s life has been nothing but complicated. During Robert’s childhood, he was around drugs, whether he wanted to be or not. From 1996 – 2001 Downey Jr. was arrested multiple times on drug-related charges. After cleaning and sobering up after 2001, Downey enjoyed a meteoric rise with roles in films such as Gothika, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Zodiac, Tropic Thunder and then Iron Man.
Why Iron Man?
This is a question that I often find myself asking. Marvel Studios struck gold, PURE GOLD, with the success of Iron Man in 2008. In 2005, Marvel Studios went through almost 30 writers that passed on the project due to the obscurity of the Iron Man character. Marvel even conducted focus groups to remove the perception that Tony Stark and Iron Man were one in the same. They were afraid that at that time, Iron Man was nowhere near the same level of popularity as the Hulk or Spider-Man, and they were right. When they announced Iron Man, many fans thought, why?
Dr. Strange, Black Panther, Spider-Man, Hulk, Captain America, all are characters that in 2008 were more popular than Iron Man. Yet Favreau insisted on Iron Man, and he insisted that it must be Robert Downey Jr.
Marvel really should chalk their commercial success on Iron Man to John Favreau’s more grounded take on the character. Shying away from Iron Man’s villains such as The Mandarin, Whiplash, and the Crimson Dynamo, but still retaining “fan service nuggets”, helped Marvel Studios begin to mold their MCU movies. In 2008, superhero movies were not the normal blockbusters that they are today, and were often ripped to shreds for being “light on content, heavy on imagination”. In steps Iron Man, earning over $300 million domestically and effectively waking up the box office to the flute that was coming.
There was a scene after the credits?!
Holy Crap. I Missed the extra scene! I remember going to the bathroom and waiting for my father, only for him to exit the theatre 10 minutes later with the biggest smile on his face. The anger in my chest when I went home and my friends told me that I not only missed an extra scene but:
1. It starred Samuel L Jackson…
2. He said the word “Avengers”
Marvel really created a generation of movie watchers who will sit through credits just to watch an extra scene. Through the lead actors, through the boom mic operators, through all of the special effects animators, so we can get our fix of a puzzle-piece movie scene that helps to connect the movies to one another. Samuel Jackson mentioning the Avengers Initiative allowed me to connect the dots that later on down the line would blow my expectations away.
Marvel’s Iron Man is quite close to the purest quintessential MCU movie in the entire extended universe. Iron Man reveals a piece of the franchise, as well as a sneak peek at the front cover of the puzzle and what the finished picture would look like.
I mean, who could forget that tank shot in the first trailer?!
Cool guys don’t look at explosions.