About the Movie
Suit. It's funny looking back at your movie history sometimes. I had dismissed Iron Man for a long time, because it “being yet another Marvel Superhero”. I eventually give it a go and you know what?
I'd give you a free piece of advice, if you have a backlog of movies, don't hesitate to watch them, as one might turn into one of your favourite films of all time! Here is three reasons why Iron Man is a classic film:
Reason 1: The actor and the character in harmony.
When it was first announced that Robert Downing Jr. would be playing Tony Stark, the internet exploded – and not all in a good way. It was the insistence of the director that the decision was green lighted, as a lot of people were unsure, including Marvel themselves, that Downing could pull it off. Boy, were we wrong about him.
Iron Man follows the story of Tony Stark, one of the wealthiest people on the entire planet. Being able to buy anything, he has a great car collection, loads of art, and has developed a computer system called JARVIS, which is one of the most complex Artificial Intelligence systems in the world (KITT would be proud.) From this little description you can probably guess what kind of person Stark is – he's not very nice, quite a jerk if we are totally honest. He has a gambling and drinking problem, and erm has a lot of “relationships” too. So not a very likeable guy. But he gets kidnapped, and after Tony builds a suit of armour to escape, Iron Man is born. The rest of the film follows how he refines the initial concept and improves it dramatically.
I can't think of another actor so suited to a comic book role. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine or Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man are two popular choices as great performances from their comic book counterparts. But even they can't hold up against Downing. One of the main reasons for this is his character and himself are very similar, hence why his performance seems very natural.
The story of Tony's transformation in character, parallels what Robert Downing Jr. was going through in real life. He had spent years being in trouble with the wrong side of the law, and had Tony's drinking problems too. But since being involved with Iron Man, he turned his life around. Just as Tony did in the film, from a complete jerk, to a erm likeable jerk.
Reason 2: The Suit
Coming into Iron Man, I knew even less about it than I did about Sherlock Holmes. I didn't even know that Iron Man was a suit of high-tech armour! So I was watching the film for the first time as a newbie. And boy, I thought Optimus Prime was cool, Iron Man is cool too!
After creating his first prototype suit, Tony sets out creating the Mark II, a more refined suit, more akin of what we know from the comics. This super suit, (or the Iron Man suit as it would be known as) has unbelievable specs and features. It can fly for long periods of time at great altitude and incredible speeds similar to that of a fighter plane. It also has lots of weaponry too, including two laser cannons, connected to his hands, and also has missile capabilities. The suit is so powerful that Iron Man can stand on his own against the other Avengers!
Unfortunately, as Spiderman well knows, keeping a secret identity is difficult and having a dual life is hard work. He must keep his classified technology from falling into the wrong hands, and so this is where the villain comes in. The main villain I cannot name without spoilers, but the codename is the Iron Monger. He manages to gain access to the original suit built by Tony to escape, and transforms it into a bigger, stronger version of Tony's Suit. Tony must use everything he has learned from all his testing of his Mark III suit to defeat him.
Reason 3: Setting up the MCU
Like (almost) every other superhero film on the planet, Iron Man is the origin of Tony Stark. But unlike other films, this also served as the origin of the MCU. For those unfamiliar or new to the concept, the Marvel Cinematic Universe places all the Marvel made movies (basically everything except Fantastic Four, Spiderman before Tom Holland and the X-Men) into the same universe. So everything happening in the universe, has an impact on other characters.
Iron Man set the ground work for the series. It introduces us to many concepts, characters and techniques that would make future MCU movies a success. It has one of (or the?) main character in the MCU Iron Man. Agent Coulson is introduced, who goes on to play a major role in the film series, then onto the Agents of Shield TV show. There is a cameo from Nick Fury, teasing the Avengers. JARVIS, Tony's AI, plays an important part of the Avengers team. That's just some of the things that this film sets the groundwork for.
You know why Iron man is the perfect film to set up the MCU? Its simply one of the best superhero movies or all time and one of my all time favourite movies. It is not be as grand in scope as The Avengers, or action packed as Captain America: The Winter Soldier or as funny as Guardians of the Galaxy. It has heart, great dialogue, acting and more importantly – does the character of Iron Man justice. It doesn't end there, with Iron Man featuring extensively in The Avengers, in Iron Man 2 and 3 and in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War, this film is still Iron Man's final hour.
My One Big Highlight
Although it didn't have the iconic paint job, seeing the Mark II suit being assembled and taken for a test flight was a truly great moment. It signified that Iron Man was born, Tony Stark had been redeemed and the proper start of the MCU, all in one scene.
Elephant In the Room
It hasn't got any major issues, just small niggles. The end fight, in my opinion, wasn't quite long enough. I wasn't a big fan (through he wasn't bad) of Terrence Howard as Rhodey, and I wish that there were a bit more action with the final suit, but the Avengers fills that void nicely.