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I imagine a suit of armour around the world
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About the Movie
Minor Spoilers
Character
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.

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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.


Closing Thoughts
Classic Classic
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
Spiderman 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
elephantIt 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.
List
Timeline
Major Spoilers
As seen in the original film, one of the defining aspects of the character of Iron Man is how Tony Stark makes changes and upgrades his suit. Never content with what he has created, he is always striving to improve on his design. So let's have a look through all the suits that Tony Stark has created in the MCU. From the original Iron Man through to Civil War.
Mark I
Mark 1 Movie(s) used: Iron Man
Scenes used: Breaking out of the cave (1 Scene), pieces of Mark I seen later in film (3 scenes)

The suit that started it all. When Tony Stark is captured by terrorists, he uses the equipment and materials at his disposal to create his first prototype. Although not long-lasting, as it explodes on impact after a brief flight out of enemy territory. It's impressive that it manages to actually work, especially since: “Tony Stark was able to build this in a cave! With a box of scraps!” A good first effort, which laid the groundwork for what was to come.
Mark II
Mark 2 Movie(s) used: Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3
Scenes used: Constructing the Mark II (1 big scene), test-flight (1 scene), Rodney vs Tony (1 scene), Rodney takes the suit back to base (1 Scene), Rodney becomes War Machine (1 big scene), Rodney becomes Iron Patriot (5 Scenes)

When Tony Stark arrives back at his home at his Malibu mansion, he begins immediately on his idea for a proper version of the Iron Man suit, basing it on the Mark I. After lots of trail and error (and wall bashing!), he comes up with a fully functioning suit, in plain silver. He takes the suit for a successful “test drive”, which apart from an icing problem, goes without a hitch. I suspect that the weapons aren't functional in this version, but it does fly fine, so it's a good “prototype” and a big improvement in style and functionality from the Mark I suit. It later becomes the War Machine armour which Rodney makes good use of.
Mark III
Mark 3 Movie(s) used: Iron Man
Scenes used: Gulmira (1 big scene), clashing with planes (1 scene), Final Battle (1 big scene)

This is the suit all the movie goers were waiting for, the Mark III, arguably the first Iron Man suit! (Since you could count the others as prototypes) In it's full trademark look, it gets it's first test with a visit to Gulmira, and stopping the terrorists from terrorising the town. The Mark III is used for the rest of the film, and has it's functionality, weapons, strength, flight, speed and agility put to the test. It's fair to say that it came out with flying colours, and is still many peoples “favourite” suit from the films, because it made the biggest impact on Tony's life.
Mark IV
Mark 4 Movie(s) used: Iron Man 2
Scenes used: Entrance to the Stark Expo (1 Scene), Tony vs Rodney (1 Scene), Tony meets Nick Fury (1 Scene)

We don't see much of this armour, but we can probably assume that he used the mark IV (Tony most likely upgraded the Mark III after his battle with the Iron Monger) to improve world relations and achieve world peace, as he states in the court scene. What we see in the actual film, is arriving at he stark expo, a house party, and a fight with Rodney who wears the mark II. It's a not good representation of how the suit is, but if he has managed to gain world peace, it must a marked improvement, right?
Mark V
Mark 5 Movie(s) used: Iron Man 2
Scenes Used: Whiplash vs Iron Man (1 Scene)

If you thought the mark IV was underused, wait to you see the mark V. Used in only one scene, the mark V was used when whiplash decided to unleash mayhem at Monaco. One of the main problems with the Iron Man was the lack of portability, with Tony needed his clever machinery to get in and out of the suit. The mark V changes this, as he can suit up anywhere he likes, as you never know when trouble will follow you. Although it cannot fly, and has limited weapons, the portability is the key to this suit. Although great at the time, it is now totally outclassed by the mark XLII as featured in Iron Man 3.
Mark VI
Mark 6 Movie(s) used: Iron Man 2, The Avengers
Scenes used: Tony and Rodney vs the Army (1 big scene), plugging in Stark Tower (1 scene), assisting Cap with Loki (1 scene), Iron Man vs Thor (1 scene), Iron Man fixes Helicarrier. (1 big scene), flying back to Stark Tower (1 scene)

In terms of screen time, this has longest use of all the Iron Man suits so far in the series. After discovering a new element, and a new power source for himself, Tony upgrades his armour once more. Although we assume he just adjusts (try saying that quickly!) the inner workings of the suit to work with the power source. This isn't the case when we see a new red laser weapon attached, which he uses in the final battle against whiplash's drones, and when fixing the helicarrier. We then also discover that he has made lots of improvements to the durability of the suit, as it is able to fend off against Thor's lightening attacks. The best suit in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Maybe.
Mark VII
Mark 7 Movie(s) used: The Avengers, Iron Man 3
Scenes used: The battle of New York (1 big scene), Tony leaving the bar (1 scene)

When the mark VI is nearly crushed by the helicarrier, Tony orders JARVIS to start constructing the mark VII. After Tony threatens Loki and pushes him out of the tower, the mark VII is deployed and attaches to Tony in mid-air, before knocking Loki out. Although the portability is a giant leap for the suit, it also has other new features.

One you might have missed is the suit can now fly without the use of the arm stabilises, so Tony can use the arm blasters, while still flying. His red laser can now be used more than once per charge, and he now has loads of rockets installed in the “backpack” of the suit, which he puts to great use against the Chitauri army. A great suit, a suit that maybe can now be called “a great weapon”, since he fends off an army with it.
Mark XLII
Mark 42 Movie(s) used: Iron Man 3
Scenes used: Testing the self-assembly feature (1 scene), Malibu mansion attack (1 scene), arriving at Tennessee (1 scene), rebooting the suit (2 scenes), escaping custody (1 scene), travelling to air force one (1 scene), saving air force one (1 scene), “the prodigal son returns” (1 scene)

After Tony fends off the alien army with his last suit, he has some downtime and comes up with loads of different designs for suits. After experimenting with different designs, colours and shapes, he comes up with the mark XLII (Mark 42 for those that aren't fluent with Roman numerals) With portability still a little issue, this is now fixed with the unique and brilliant feature of the mark 42. The suit can now assemble to Tony remotely, when he does certain hand actions. It's also remote control able too, something Tony puts to good use.

However, because this is an early prototype, some things aren't quite right. Because of the individual pieces, it's prone to breaking up, but it's something that Tony could fix in the final version of the Mark 42. I personally like the new colour scheme of the suit, but I can see why some people would prefer the classic looking one. Overall a mixed bag.
Mark XLIII
Mark 43 Movie(s) used: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Scenes used: Attacking HYDRA base (1 big scene), battling Ultron (1 scene), battling Hulk (1 scene), defending Ultron against Cap (1 scene)

This suit, for all intents and purposes, is a final version of the Mark 42, with a couple of new features. Still having the feature to assemble on command, this also applies to only single parts of the suit, such as the arm. The suit also has two new features. One is called the Sentry Mode, which makes the suit act like a bodyguard while Tony is out of the suit investigating. The other is a new Infra-Red scanner, which Tony makes good use of when infiltrating the HYDRA base.

This suit also has a great party piece – this joins on the Hulkbuster armour. (the Mark VLIV) As extra accessories go, that's pretty nifty isn't it? The Hulkbuster armour is much larger than any other of Tony Suits. With increased strength, and a stronger arm pulser, it worked well in fighting against the hulk. A floating platform (out of the reach of the Hulk) can deploy new parts for the Hulkbuster if needed.
Mark XLV
Mark 44 Movie(s) used: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Scenes used: Saving Sokovia (1 big scene)

Not much is known about this particular suit. It has all the features of previous suits, along with a new paint job. Tony uses many functions of the suit in the final battle, but nothing we haven't seen before. The biggest difference is the AI. With JARVIS now in vision, Tony uses a new AI called F.R.I.D.A.Y. in the suits from now on.
Mark XLVI
Mark 45 Movie(s) used: Captain America: Civil War
Scenes used: The Big Battle (1 big scene) Travelling via plane (1 big scene)

While not much time has passed since Age of Ultron, Tony has still managed to upgrade his suit even further, with lots of new features. While not too important, Tony's helmet now completely collapses when not needed, rather than just his face plate. He also has a new IEM projectile, which neutralizes electric systems. He also uses a powered clamp against Captain America, another new feature. This suit is definitely the strongest yet, since he manages to stand toe to toe with Cap and Bucky with hand to hand combat.
My Thoughts
So which suit is best? Well what is my favourite and what is the best are two different things entirely. My personal favourite is the mark V. Although now defunct because of the mark 42, it's still really cool to see Tony transform into it and then whip Ivan Vanko's butt is one of the best scenes in the Iron Man films.

I reckon the best suit must go to the mark VI. It manages to fend off an entire drone army, made up of copycat Iron Man suits. It then also manages to fend off against Thor, something that is a feat in itself. But I might be wrong. The awesome Mark VII might be the best because of it's weapons capabilities. Or the Mark III which manages to stand off against the Iron Monger, even with low power. Or what about Mark XLIII which can be used with the Hulkbuster armour.

Regardless of which is the best, or definitive, or the most improved, it's fascinating to see Tony upgrade his suit from film to film. From breaking out of a cave, battling a bigger version of the suit, fending off an alien army and battling Cap in battle, the suits have made their mark on the MCU, and for the better. How will Tony upgrade his suit for the Infinity Wars? Who knows, but it will kick butt!