Iron Man follows our rich, genius billionaire playboy as he gains scruples after seeing his own weapons tech used by the people it was supposed to be fighting. Unfortunately, this demonstration of his stolen weaponry also results in him getting captured by insurgents, where he’s subsequently forced to recreate further tech for them. Cue a dramatic escape using a jury-rigged suit of mechanical armour…
The updating of Stark’s story to the present-day conflict in the Middle East evolves the character past his Cold War origins, though it ultimately ditches the alter-ego ‘problem’, deciding instead to explore the possibility of a superhero whose identity is not only known, but openly shared from the get-go.
Cast-wise, this is near to impeccable – Robert Downey Jr. brings a witty showmanship to the role of Tony Stark, while Gwyneth Paltrow gets elegantly infuriated with him as the ridiculously monikered Pepper Potts and Jeff Bridges rocks an excellent beard in the villain role of Obadiah Stane.
The donning of the Mark II suit is fairly spectacular, but the best sequence has to be when Tony takes the fight to the insurgents, and the subsequent dog-fight with two F-22s. But there’s also great character moments, particularly any time Tony is interacting with JARVIS.
The best lines here come from the mouth of the man himself…
“Yeah… I can fly.”
“Let’s face it, this is not the worst thing you’ve caught me doing.”
“Give me a scotch. I’m starving.”
“It’s funny… I thought… with it being my plane and all…it would just wait for me.”
“If I were Iron Man, I’d have this girlfriend who knew my true identity. She’d be a wreck. She’d always be worrying I was going to die, yet so proud of the man I’ve become. She’d be wildly conflicted, which would only make her more crazy about me…”
The Avengers assemble:
In Marvel’s first self-produced film and the first film to establish the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we’re introduced to Howard Stark and an innocuous man presenting himself as “Agent Phil Coulson with the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.” All that’s said on it is “that’s quite a mouthful…” – apparently he gets that all the time.
But then, those of us patient enough to see out the credits get treated to a teaser of what was to come, with Samuel L Jackson’s debut as Nick Fury and a fleeting mention of ‘The Avengers Initiative’: “Mr. Stark, you’ve become part of a bigger universe. You just don’t know it yet.”
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