Iron Man | Marvel Cinematic Universe Lookback

       Ever since I watched Black Panther back in March I've been itching to catch up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here's the thing, the current amount of media content the Marvel Cinematic Universe has produced (as of August 19, 2018) is at 59. Yes, you read that right 59. 59 movies, one-shots, and tv-show seasons. I don't know about you but that's a little much and not to mention a very overwhelming mountain to climb. Although I will keep applauding them for producing that sheer amount of  ~good~ media content in only ten years.
         So to make my dreams possible I decided to solely take on the movies whilst splitting them into phases but also starting in chronological order of when they take place within their universe not ~our~ order of when they were released. That means the second of this series is none other than the man who started it all! IRON MAN!

             Obviously, there's going to be major spoilers for Iron Man if you haven't seen it.
Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub: You mentioned that Iron Man is a unique hero in a way because he’s kind of a guy like Batman in a way but who creates himself, creates his own superpowers. Can you talk about what the story is about for you and the character?

Jon Favreau: Well, the story for me is about a guy who’s…I think in every movie there’s something rotten in Denmark. You know, you have to sort of start off with something’s out of balance in the world. In Marvel movies especially you look at the personal life of the character in the microcosm and then you sort of look at the macrocosm of the climate of the world. There’s a super villain doing something. There is a problem in the world that has to be fixed otherwise life as we know it will not exist. But then also in the character’s personal life, there is that sort of thing that happens too and what’s nice about Tony Stark is that he’s a guy that you have all the flash and glamour of Tony Stark, billionaire, inventor, genius and playboy and you get to play the fun of that but then you also get to explore what that might leave to be desired. How is he flawed? How does he grow and change through his captivity and when he comes back, how does he become Iron Man? What are those steps in the journey that gets us to the point where we understand who he is, what he stands for and how he’s changed?
         Oh, what interesting questions you arise 2008 director Jon Favreau in your Collider interview. Seems once again I will have to use the director's commentary on their work as the thesis of this 'review' and what I will be judging this movie on. To wholly conduct this lookback with as much fairness as possible I will be critiquing this movie (and the rest of the MCU movies) into five categories;

            Now that the rules have been set let's get into this!

 Are they relatable? 
         Not at first, no. He's this super-genius, billionaire, playboy, all with a personality to match. He disregards his one (one! read it 1!) friend. (The only one he didn't build, mind you.) However, this doesn't deter from liking to watch Tony Stark in action. It isn't until he's in the cave with Yinsen do we get to see chips of Tony's heart, literally and figuratively, that we see the rest of who Tony Stark is. He's more than his likable-asshole self. Not to say that he isn't still an asshole but he's more than that. 
           Just like with Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger Tony's most relatable moments come out of his health condition (for me) and how he deals and does not deal with his new heart.
14/10 Proof that Tony Stark has a Heart scene ❤
What kind/ type are they? 
           In many ways, Tony's the anti-hero type but with the addition of somewhat becoming the hero type at the end. He does this by going through the rest of his arc. The beginning as an inconsiderate playboy who only thinks for himself, to watching his own weapons kill soldiers and almost himself, to being tortured and kept in a cave for three months, to building his (and what he thinks) Yinsen's escape, to coming home. All of that in just the first act as his anti-hero type. 
           Due to the first act and everything Tony went through within it he has understandably changed and no longer wants to manufacture weapons (much to the surprise of everyone). This change of heart along with his new heart makes Rhodey, Pepper, and even Obadiah very suspect of anything that Tony tries to accomplish in the second half of the film. So he struggles right up to the climax of being the anti-hero with a twist of  'no one will accept that I've changed or believe me when I want to do this.' so he does it himself.
12/10 "It's me" scene with Rhodey.
The scene we all waited for since we were five
Are they actually needed for the plot? 
         Absolutely. Without Tony Stark and everything he is, there wouldn't be an Iron Man. From his daddy issues to his philanthropy and every issue in-between, they're all needed to make Iron Man be the hero he becomes at the end of the film. The way Tony is, also dictates how the rest of the characters act around him thus affecting the plot further, the most important of these being how Obadiah acts in the second and third act.
10/10 Ten years down the road and I'm not fully convinced that RDJ isn't just Tony Stark in disguise. 
Were they, as a character outside of their powers, memorable?
         Yep! In Iron Man, I would say that Iron Man is the least interesting part of Tony Stark. Just as in Captain America: The First Avenger and many other origin stories for superheroes we spend the majority of the story focused on who the person behind the mask is rather than the mask itself. The fun of Iron Man is that we get to see Tony physically and mentally build up who Iron Man is and will be in the future. 
12/10 (GRAVITY! DON'T MEAN TOO MUCH TO ME!) I guess this is the series go-to meme now if were keep Tony falling at various points.
48/40 for the Hero Category
Were they efficient for the plot?
           As a villain, Obadiah Stane really sweeps you off your feet as you come to realize that he's the real villain in Iron Man. Not that there weren't hints of his corruption in the first act (of what we saw of him in the first act) but the contrast between Tony and him truly begins after the press conference in which Tony declares he's shutting down his weapons manufacturing. As Iron Man is a character-driven plot the strife between Tony and Obadiah makes both of their characters crucial for the plot to 1) start and 2) conclude. 
11/10 Phenomenal casting. Go Sarah Finn and Randi Hiller!
          Obadiah is your I-will-do-anything-for-capitalism type via a vis the end scene in Monsters Inc. where Mr. Waternoose claims, "I'll kidnap a thousand children before I let this company die!" In many ways, Obadiah is everything Tony was at the beginning of Iron Man except without the daddy issues (that we know of) and choosing to embrace the deaths that Stark Enterprises supplies rather than living in denial about what a weapons manufacturer actually does. (Tony does and doesn't do this. It's very weird, to say the least. In the first act, before the change of heart, h likes the title Merchant of Death until it's his death they're talking about.) But more on that in the next question.
12/10 The scariest of Marvel villains thus far because he's just too real. Congrats you beat out Red Skull.
Does the plot work with them? 
         Yes. In many ways, because of Tony's loose lifestyle and by hiring people like Obadiah who care about profit over anything, the plot was near inevitable. Not that I wholly blame Tony for getting kidnapped and his life being auctioned off to the highest bidder but playing fast and his carefree attitude about his company gave way for people like Obadiah to take advantage. SO! In conclusion for this question, if it wasn't Obadiah to do it, sadly, someone like him would have.
14/10 That damn paralyzer! I! Hate! That! Thing! The veins popping are the worst and grossest visual in this movie. I Hate! Congrats!
Were they memorable?
         To be honest, I forgot that Obadiah was the bad guy when I started watching the movie but that may be due to not having seen the film in the last five years. Will he be rememberable going forward? I definitely believe so. Mostly due to the ying/yang repertoire he had with Tony. How we got to see just what Tony could have been and could still be if he wanted. Also, for me, Obadiah and his end goal of company-over-humanity is far more realistic in the long term then say Red Skull's ultimate power! was.
9/10 so you're the assholes that started the beam in the sky thing... Cool... That's just... Cool
46/40 for the Villain Category!

Side Characters
Were they efficient? Memorable? What was their story?
~What Might've Been Ours~
         James "Rhodey" Rhodes- In being the Gus to Tony's Spencer, but Terrence Howard, where did you come from? And more importantly, where did you go? 10/3 "Next time" Scene. HA! Not for you Terrence but good foreshadowing either way.
         Yinsen- In being our Obi-won, our Dr. Erskine, the one character you want to give the whole world to but you know he's playing the mentor trope out till the very end. 14/3 "Speak Hungarian" scene
         Pepper Potts- In being the subtle love-interest that doesn't actually have a final kiss scene in this movie and is basically Tony's mother at this point? Hell yeah. 12/3 "There's puss."
          Raza- This man literally looks like the lovechild of the 1999 Mummy and Ardeth Bay. For that alone I mean, BRAVO SIR! BRAVO! As a villain, eh, you were a coward and a front for Obadiah so, eh. 3/3 You Tried Kazoo.
          J.A.R.V.I.S- In being Tony but with reason how can't we love you? You are adorable and I don't think that you're Just Another Random Very Intelligent System you are THE VERY INTELLIGENT SYSTEM. 6/3 #T.V.I.S is the new J.A.R.V.I.S
          Christine Everhart- You went from "You're a mass-murder" to "Let's bang!" very quickly and honestly same. 2/3 Your name is pretty dope not gonna lie. What's an Everhart? Do we know? 
          Phil Coulson- My poor baby agent just wants to get his appointment. That's all. And does he? We don't know, we didn't get to see it. But he tried to get Tony to goalong with the bodyguard thing but both Christine and Tony ruined that for him so.... 10/3 uwu bby Coulson

57/21 for our Side Characters Category!

Effects, do they hold up? 
           I was so shocked to see that the CGI in this film holds up so well! Ten years later with CGI technology improving every day and that for the most part the scenes where Tony is in the suit and Obadiah is in his suit still hold up. There are times where they look iffier and you start to go "eehhh" as your sense of disbelief wears off but like I said ten years and the fact that it can still hold a candle or even a wick of disbelief is damn impressive! I mean look at the Star Wars prequels! They have not held up at all, outside of a few outliers, most of those movies tend to look like an early 2000's video game rather than a movie. The practical effects, of course, are a staple in making Iron Man, Iron Man.
*Tony in front of the explosion*
Was it used as its own storyteller? 
          Yes! Many, many, many times in my first viewing I commented on how great the editting was. Their fast-paced cuts for instance between Rhodey and Tony in the scene where Tony is spotted by the US military as a UFO and they cut back between those two and then at the very end where Rhodey asks what he's supoosed to say to the public. That scene alone was so funny, terrifying, and supensful even though I knew Tony was going to make it out alive. Superb storytelling between the characters that the editing and cinematography just take to that sweet, sweet level.
10/10 Shout out to the editor Dan Lebental!
Does it set the tone of the movie right?
         Most definatly. In every setting that we were thrusted into we were given gorgeous shots that made you feel that you were there. In the opening scene out in the deserts of Afgahastan to the dark and gritty caves, to the busiling and bright casino, to Tony's spectacular and futuristic home, to the frightening flight scenes we were taken on a journey. 
12/10 Seriously those cave shots were filmed so beautifully and they were actually bright and you were able to see what was happening. Shout out to cinematographer Matthew Libatique!
32/30 for the Cinematography Category. 
Does it hold up vs when it was released to today? 
          I would have to say yes. When I first saw this in June of 2008 in the theaters of Grand Junction, Colorado, I thought that this was a real story. The first act of the felt so real to me. That we had gone to the theater and they had started playing the news instead of the movie. I remember how scary I thought it was and how real it felt. Speed along to today and we still have the problems depicted in this story. We still have terrorist, we still have mass weapons of destruction, we still have people having their lives and families ripped apart for these material possessions. I would like to visit Iron Man in 2028 and see how well it holds up then and if we (the world) has changed all that much.
*Shakes head* idk man This is terrifying.
10/10 That kidnap video was too real, man. Ten year old me was shaking in my seat. 
What were they going for?
           They were going for the story of Tony Stark the man behind the mask of Iron Man. At the time, I believe they were trying to turn the tables on how superhero movies were received (remember this was before The Dark Knight dropped that same year). I don't think when they were in production that they thought this would be the movie that kicked off a massive movie franchise that would dominate the public, box offices, and critics. However, Iron Man did just that. We fell in love with Tony's plight to becoming an anti-hero who comes to care beyond his personal wealth and see past a bit of the mystic surrounding his father and the company that Howard Stark had built. We got to see the man behind the iron mask and instead of Leonardo De Caprio we got Robert Downey Jr. Thank God for that!
This is the last GIF you see when you die
12/10 Can you believe that Nicholas Cage was almost Iron Man? Can you image that? Wouldn't that just be EVERYTHING?!

22/20 for the Story Category

Rank within MCU
Based on above and my personal taste
           That being said and with all my ratings, Iron Man the movie gets a total of *drumroll*
Simple, yet, stylistic
            That means I loved this movie 135.8%. So a bit more than Captain America: The First Avenger who held my love at 109.9%. Which I'm so surprised at I love CATFA so much and every time I think about it I fall in love with the story all over again but the same can go to the man who started it all.
            So for now Iron Man kicks The First Avenger out of it's number one spot on my Lookback at Marvel's Cinematic Universe!
  1. Iron Man (2008)
  2. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

            Next time we'll be diving back into Tony Stark's journey with IRON MAN 2!
          In the meantime, let me know what your favorite parts of the movie was and would you have ranked Iron Man differently? Let me know!


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