Release date: May 2, 2008 (USA)
Director: Jon Favreau
Featured song: Driving With the Top Down
Box office: 585.2 million USD
Budget: 140 million USD
Iron Man is a 2008 action movie based on the Marvel comic book of the same title. It’s regarded as the first film in the modern Marvel Universe. It was directed by Jon Favreau and produced by Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures. Robert Downey Jr. takes up the lead role as billionaire playboy, Tony Stark. He is supported by a great cast; Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges and Terrence Howard all play pretty big roles. Even Director Jon Favreau steps in front of the camera in a comedy role, as Tony Stark’s bodyguard.
Tony Stark, the multi-billionaire head of Stark Industries, had been kidnapped by terrorists following the test of his companies new “Jericho” missile. However, while held captive, Tony tricked his captors and told them he was working on a missile for their use, but instead he creates armor he can use to break out. Successful and back in the public eye, Stark vows to stop producing weapons and plans on starting his new life as the incredible Iron Man. While he was away, business partner Obadiah Stane had taken the reigns of the company. Stane had been getting very wealthy with Stark producing weapons. Especially with the double-dealings he had been making. This led to Stane taking up the mantle of Iron Monger and planning on the utter destruction of Stark.
Jon Favreau approached this movie like any other independent feature. He didn’t look at it as a big-budget blockbuster, but a smaller, more contained picture. That type of heart shows through and comes across as a passionate telling of this classic comic series. It was a gamble for studio executives, but it was a home-run for the burgeoning Marvel Studios. The visual element was jaw-dropping for the late 2000’s. I guess that isn’t surprising considering Industrial Light & Magic was involved in the effects.
The acting is amazing. Robert Downey Jr. turns in a performance that changes his entire career. He is Tony Stark now. I have been watching nearly all of these movies in the theater since this one, and I couldn’t picture anyone else more perfect for the role of a womanizing, alcoholic, rich socialite. It’s a shame that Terrence Howard only played Rhodes once. I really liked his performance in this. Don Cheadle is amazing and does a much better job, but Howard has the coolness that goes side-by-side with Robert Downey Jr. They are a good team.
I really liked Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane. He was silently terrifying. The lead-up to him becoming the big bad shows a great deal of good storytelling. He is manipulative and conniving. His scenes with Gwyneth Paltrow are tense. It’s was a good idea to keep this villain quieter and more subtle. It actually added to the mystery and stayed true to the comics. Stane’s first appearance in the comic books was as a shadowy figure that was working behind the scenes against Stark Industries. I liked that touch.
Iron Man is an action-packed adventure that sets the tone for the entire Marvel franchise going forward. It isn’t going to have a villain that everyone knows, but it is definitely going to entertain you on many different levels. It’s hilarious, the characters are natural and full of that signature Marvel humor. It’s beautiful, the shots are amazing and the visual effects of the Iron Man suits and battles are on point. I highly recommend it to anyone that hasn’t seen it yet. If you liked Spider-Man or X-Men then this is right up your alley.