Thursday, 4 April 2019

Marvel Movie Marathon: 'Iron Man' (2008)

*This post contains spoilers for Iron Man (2008). You have been warned!*


The one that started it all. I believe that this was the first Marvel movie that I ever saw (fittingly enough, as it IS the first instalment in the MCU), but it's not one of the films that stands out to me all that much. However, it's definitely one that I appreciate a lot more when I watch it years later in the context of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. As I rewatched this film again to start this little series, I found myself wincing at certain moments that hurt in hindsight after watching The Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018), so I suppose that's a sign of consistency in this cinematic universe that has been running for ten years now. After watching the other films and seeing how many evolutions the Iron Man suit has gone through, and how Tony Stark himself has evolved over the course of all these films, it gives me an odd sense of nostalgia, and the unpleasant feeling that, if Tony dies in Avengers: Endgame, I will probably cry quite a lot.

Is it any wonder that the most memorable part of this film is Tony Stark himself? He's arguably the best character in the entire MCU, although I feel that I may be saying that a lot about many characters as we get into the rest of the movies. With that being said, anybody who doesn't instantly like Tony Stark is clearly someone who isn't worth bothering with. Tony is one of those 'lovable asshole' characters who are flawed yet absolutely adored nevertheless. He's impulsive, he's sarcastic, he's borderline misogynistic, he's out of control, he's late to meetings and arrives whenever it suits him...the list goes on. But there's more to him than that. He's courageous, he makes decisions for the greater good, he cares about those close to him, and he ultimately does what's right. A whole subplot of the film is basically him attempting to shut down his father's weapon-manufacturing company because he knows that the world does not need any more bad guys getting hold of weapons. Underneath the 'I'm a billionaire and I can do whatever I want' facade, he has a big heart. And yeah, that's not exactly a groundbreaking observation on my part considering the fact that Pepper Potts acknowledges this fact by gifting him with 'proof that Tony Stark has a heart', but it needs to be reiterated.

Tony and Pepper's developing relationship throughout the film kind of says it all, because Tony spends so much time alone and without many real friends that the only times we see the real him is when he's around Pepper. Their relationship is different from the usual tired 'boy meets girl and they fall in love and live happily ever after' subplot. They are just two people who do not have anyone else, who are always in very close proximity to each other and have therefore seen each other at their highest and lowest moments, and they help to balance each other out. It's a relationship that doesn't evolve into anything officially romantic in this film, but it's one that we root for nonetheless. Typical of me to talk about the romance in this movie as opposed to anything of real substance, but the MCU characters are so interesting that I barely feel like talking about anything else. After you watch this film, chances are you'll remember the characters and their interactions before you remember any of the action.

One thing that I will say is that the way that this film begins and ends makes it feel like this movie is ridiculously important, like it's worthy of starting the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It begins by blasting AC/DC at you and gifting you with the scene of Tony in an army truck, bantering with the soldiers, and it ends with Tony disobeying orders in very characteristic fashion to tell a crowd of eager journalists 'I am Iron Man.' If we're counting the post-credits scene, the film actually ends with the appearance of Nick Fury, and the teasing of The Avengers (2012). It's a film that leaves you feeling like something big is coming, and like it's the start of some sort of new era. And it is. Phase One of the MCU might not be my favourite of the phases, but there's no denying that it sets everything up brilliantly, and there's no better character to start off with than Iron Man, in my opinion.

Since I'm going to be adding each Marvel movie to the ranking as and when I review them, the table currently only looks like this:

  1. Iron Man (2008)

It's simultaneously the best and worst movie at the moment, but as the list fills out, it'll find its true place. At least, it'll find its place on the list according to my opinion...
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