Iron Man – The Road to Endgame

Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man. Photo by Paramount Pictures.

Thanks to Robert Downey Jr.’s charismatic performance, Iron Man provides a fresh change to the superhero genre in a way nobody could have predicted.

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) took over Stark Industries from his late father, Howard Stark.  We only see the elder Stark in photos where he looks nothing like John Slattery or Dominic Cooper.  It’s quite possible that Marvel didn’t complete casting yet for the future films so they use another person instead.  But I digress.  The younger Stark doesn’t fall far from the tree.  He’s in Afghanistan with good friend and Lt. Col. James Rhodes (Terrence Howard before being replaced by Don Cheadle) to test the Jericho missile.  However, it isn’t long before their ambushed.  This leads to Stark being wounded and imprisoned with Yinson (Shaun Toub).

The two of them work together to build an Iron Man prototype.  It’s not long before the Ten Rings discover what the duo are really doing and start to attack.  Yinson buys some time but sacrifices his life in doing so.  Meanwhile, after laying low for a while upon returning, Tony learns disturbing news from reporter Christine Everhart (Leslie Bibb).  It turns out that Stark Industries is selling weapons to the Ten Rings.  This is where Stark begins to realize that Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) is betraying him.  Start being Stark, he returns to the village to attack the attackers.

Back in the States, Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) keeps trying to set up a meeting.  Unfortunately, he’s not quite able to get through to Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).  It’s going to take some time before this happens.  At the same time, I’m surprised that Tony isn’t familiar with Coulson’s work as a SHIELD agent.  Is Tony so far removed from his parents’ deaths that he wiped SHIELD out of his mind?  It’s food for thought.  Meanwhile, the SHIELD agents alone are not able to prevent Stane from causing more damage.  Tony hatches a plan but it comes with a some risks.  Pepper is going to have to be the person to execute it. The question is–will she?

This is the film that started it all during a point that feels like forever ago!  At the same time, it’s the film that changed the game for everyone.  Marvel knows their fans better than any so when the credits stopped rolling, Iron Man would change cinema for the next decade with the bonus scene that changed everything we knew.  Stark is in his house when he sees Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).  With the release of Captain Marvel, we now have more insight into this scene.

“I am Iron Man”. You think you’re the only superhero in the world? Mr. Stark, you’ve become part of a bigger universe. You just don’t know it yet.

All it took were a few simple words from the mouth of Fury: “I’m here to talk to you about the Avenger Initiative.”

This is when everyone knew that Marvel would be paving the way for The Avengers.  Of course, it was easier said than done at the time because The Incredible Hulk was licensed at Universal Pictures.  This didn’t stop Marvel from tying the two 2008 releases together.  More on this when I discuss the Hulk film later.

Iron Man may just be one adventure but the film is a lot more than that because it has the main responsibility of launching an entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.

DIRECTOR:  Jon Favreau
SCREENWRITERS:  Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway
CAST:  Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Shaun Toub, and Gwyneth Paltrow

Paramount Pictures opened Iron Man in theaters on May 2, 2008. The film is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital. Grade: 5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.