(During quarantine my girlfriend and I are going through the Marvel movies chronologically. Surprisingly, she is really enjoying them, maybe even more than me. We are already a couple down and I’m gunna do write-ups for all of ‘em, the good and the bad.)
First off, two minutes in to watching Iron Man I realise I’ve not actually seen it since it first came out and I don’t really remember anything about it. The main thing I notice is, well, obviously it’s a high concept superhero movie, but it really does feel like an art film compared to the newer Marvel movies.
One reason it feels like this is because Iron Man actually has stakes. The first 40 mins especially is probably the most intense the MCU gets until the Avengers: Endgame. Locked up by terrorists in a cave – this is more Homeland than a film made to sell toys! The relationship between Stark and Yinsen is heart pumping. You know right from the get-go Yinsen’s gunna get pumped full of lead. The fact that a tertiary character isn’t comic-relief and has an emotional arc is refreshing… wait… has that happened in any other marvel movie?
It wasn’t until I researched it that I learnt Disney didn’t acquire Marvel until after Iron Man’s release. I was so confused at first as the movie goes deep with the war theme. I knew immediately Disney wouldn’t allow this. What is it that actually puts Disney off making a movie like this? God forbid they make a film with layers. Yeah just remake some fucking film about two dogs eating gourmet spaghetti and meatballs. Whatever
Jeff Bridges is one badass motherfucker, but it is a bit annoying that the end is just Iron Man vs. Bigger Bad Iron Man. It’s one of my most hated super hero movie tropes (and one of many reasons why imo Logan is completely overrated, but I’ll save that for another day)
The producers had great initiative throwing S.H.I.E.L.D. In the movie. setting up a potential franchise so early. This is another reason why it feels more like a stand alone movie, not just because it’s the OG and no franchise was announced yet, but because the set-up is so low-key and it serves the movie. The franchise set-up is invisible almost.
I really enjoyed this movie much more than I thought. The screenplay, the dialogue, the realism, everything is so immaculate. There are countless great scenes – the whole challenge of learning to control the suit and tweaking its power, hiding from military jets by clinging on to them, Downey immediately personifying the character from scene one. And playing the Black Sabbath track as the credits role, so fucking satisfying. Iron Man (2008) was and still is a stroke of genius.
(Also, if you don’t know the story about the Black Sabbath track you should read it, that would make a great movie.)