In commemoration of the upcoming CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019) as well as AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019), I’ve decided to take a trip down memory lane and revisit ALL of the films relating to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). In addition, for my reviews of the other films from the MCU, click the following links:
- THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008)
- IRON MAN 2 (2010)
- THOR (2011)
- CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011)
- THE AVENGERS (2012)
Click the following links for:
Cast: Robert Downey Jr. (SHERLOCK HOLMES  and 2 , and upcoming films SHERLOCK HOLMES 3  and THE VOYAGE OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE ), Terrence Howard (THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG , and the upcoming GULLY ), Jeff Bridges (EL ROYALE , ONLY THE BRAVE , HELL OR HIGH , and BIG LEBOWSKI ), Gwyneth Paltrow (SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW  and SE7EN ), and Shaun Toub (WAR DOGS )
Director: Jon Favreau (THE JUNGLE BOOK , and the upcoming THE LION KING )
Writers: Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (COWBOYS & ALIENS  and CHILDREN OF MEN ), Art Marcum and Matt Holloway (TRANSFORMERS 5 , and the upcoming MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL )
Composer: Ramin Djawadi (SLENDER MAN , MOUNTAIN BETWEEN , WARCRAFT , and the upcoming THE QUEEN’S CORGI )
Cinematographer: Matthew Libatique (VENOM , THE CIRCLE , MONEY MONSTER , STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON , and the upcoming THE NATIVE SON )
Editor: Dan Lebental (CHIPS )
This is my honest opinion of: IRON MAN
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is the owner of Stark Industries, the leading manufacturer of weapons development and technology in America. However, after a demonstration of his latest weapon in Afghanistan, he and his military convoy is attacked, and is severely injured by a shrapnel blast by his own weapons, and held captive for three months. Though he escapes, he returns to dismantle the weapons division of his company and vows to do something else. However, the decision is met with resistance when his business partner and long-time family friend Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) has to jump in for damage control and turn this recent stunt into a positive thing. Meanwhile, Tony invents a super-powered suit that will enable him to destroy the weapons that are now in the hands of America’s enemies.
Damn, I forgot how much I like this movie.
Let’s start easy with the man himself, Tony Stark. His character is so great. It’s so odd to see where he started out. By God is he an asshole. But I gotta say that he has always been a charming and likable kind of asshole. He enjoys profiting off of war and sticks by his guns with an almost disgusting amount of pride. And yet, he’s so much fun to watch. What’s so great about him is that he overcomes all of this when he realizes that his own weapons are being used to hurt those that were meant to be protected. He finally has time to sit down and talk with a man who has been on the receiving end of the conflict that he’s been making a fortune on in the form of Yinsen (Shaun Toub), who has his own brand of charisma and has an instrumental hand in changing Tony’s perspective on what he should be doing. As the story progresses, it’s clear that Tony doesn’t want to give up making weapons, but just not for the military. He wants to invest in other things, develop safer technology like the arc reactor, which has other applications. We already know that Tony’s miniature one that he created in a cave with a box of scraps is powerful enough to run a heart for fifty lifetimes. There’s some significant uses for something like that in the medical field. Having him face-down in the dirt ended up doing wonders for him, taught him some humility. But he doesn’t do a complete 180 in his personality. He’s still a wise-cracker, he’s still sarcastic, making light of every situation, and even occasionally still treats people with a level of disrespect. “Hey, Tony! Remember me?” “Sure don’t.” I’d say that he’s an asshole, but let’s face it, the women he’s bedded probably didn’t have a plethora of self-respect. In any case, he feels deep down in his soul that weapons manufacturing is no longer what he wants to do. You feel his inner conflict and see it in his eyes when he’s watching a news reel about a Middle Eastern village being attacked by the 10 Rings and cheer when he finally puts on that Iron Man suit to kick ass.
While I may not be a huge fan of Paltrow, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t immensely enjoy her in this movie. She puts on an incredible cute performance as a woman who is way too forgiving of the man that she’s been employed under for as long as she has. I even love her snarky comment to Christine Everhart (Leslie Bibb). “I do anything and everything Mr. Stark requires. Including occasionally taking out the trash.” Loved it. So he’s clearly rubbed off on her. She’s just as capable of keeping up with him and his fast-talking, she has no problems with bad-mouthing him right to his face, but he’s always a good sport about it. Downey and Paltrow have such great back and forth that you’d swear they were good friends in real life for how well they bounced off of each other. Or maybe the material was that good. Who knows, but I loved them together and their “will-they-won’t-they” banter.
And let’s not forget Terrence Howard. Don’t get me wrong, Don Cheadle is the man, and he’s certainly owned the War Machine persona like a boss since he took over the role of Rhodey, but I wonder how many people remember how much fun Howard was. Once again, a military man through and through, but he isn’t a big ole stick in the mud. He certainly tries to but even he isn’t above drinking while on the job when he’s around Tony. Much as he never approves of his methods and attitude, there is still a clear bond and loyalty between the men and it’s actually kind of sweet for what it is. In short, he’s a good dude and he’s a lot of fun to watch in his own right. It really is too bad we never got to see him as War Machine, but… you know, changes happen. Can’t be helped sometimes.
Oh, and I love the score. Revisited it while I was writing this, I saved some of the tracks. Particularly anything with the guitars.
Well, it’s about time to talk about the only real problem that I have with this movie. It’s a spoiler, so you’ve been warned.
<<<SPOILERS>>> [ While I think the character is saved thanks to a charismatic performance from Jeff Bridges, but Obadiah Stane is a pretty thin, and even confusing character. Why does he put the hit out on Tony in the first place? I feel like this was just a standard power grab, but there was no reason for it. Prior to Tony’s abduction, he was very much on board with war-profiteering and making the company billions, including Stane. This motivation would make sense post-rescue from the 10 Rings, as he’s dismantling the money-maker division of Stark Industries, but not beforehand. In retrospect, the problems that he’s faced with later on were caused by him in the first place. I think with this knowledge in mind, Stane is actually one of the dumbest villains in the MCU. ] <<<END SPOILERS>>>
Overall, this movie holds up pretty damn well. Though comparing it to the much bigger movies that would follow, it feels so much smaller. Still, highly entertaining, wonderful characters and acting, great action, awesome score, it’s a blast to revisit this. I certainly think the villains don’t hold up, but for the most part, I’m glad I watched this again.
My honest rating for IRON MAN: a strong 4/5