Marvel Cinematic Universe - Iron Man (2008)

by mahargen on March 17, 2015

The world was a different place when I stopped exiting the theater as Sam Jackson magically showed up as Nick Fury in the end credits scene of Iron Man. But, I suppose I'm getting ahead of myself.

It's 2015 and we're 10 films deep into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, witih the second capstone film, Avengers - Age of Ultron, due to be released in a little over a month.  (Yes, I know Ant-Man is technically Phase 2, but, c'mon.)  This is meant to be the first installment of a 10-piece series ranking the films and rambling about them to you, my adoring fans.  There isn't going to be anything terribly long or in depth, just some random thoughts about the individual pieces and how they make up the whole.  So, sit back and take a trip with me.  There's a lot to cover.

Comic movies by 2008 weren't really something to write home about.  Generally uninspired, they missed key beats and went for the easy marks.  I expected nothing less from Iron Man, even though I wanted more.  Robert Downey Jr. wasn't just a perfect candidate for Tony Stark, he WAS Tony Stark.  Playboy, in trouble with booze and drugs, looking to reclaim his former glory?  Sound like someone we know?  This is where the Marvel Cinematic Universe films have really nailed it, their casting.  You won't be hearing many gripes about characterization in these entries because I genuinely don't have many issues.  Iron Man started everything off on the right foot.  While in and of itself, Iron Man works very well as a self-contained story, looking back I can see that it served its purpose as the start of something much bigger as well.

The main aspect I feel set Iron Man apart from other comic book films was how real it seemed.  There is a certain amount of suspension of disbelief that one needs to have when watching films such as these, but Iron Man was presented in a manner that wasn't immediately discounted as being wholly unbelievable.  This connection between the unbelievable and the believable is the second greatest thing about the Marvel films.  Ask around.  You'll met a lot of folks outside of the comic book world who absolutely love these movies.  Bringing that degree of attention onto something most people would normally write off (see X-Men, Raimi's Spider-Man, etc.) is probably the reason the film universe was able to expand so quickly.  They are able to balance a great deal of fan service and mainstream accessibility.  Marvel didn't hesitate to draw deep with the characters for Iron Man.  The staples of Tony Stark's life were there, of course.  But the inclusion of Iron Monger was great, as well as the subtle nods to The Mandarin with the terrorist group Ten Rings.

And you can't talk about Iron Man without talking about the post-credit scene we touched on earlier.  They're now a staple of the Marvel films.  People get upset if it isn't earth-shattering.  Back in 2008 I really didn't follow the news on comic films as much as I do now.  I barely even knew an Iron Man film was in production when I saw trailers for it.  Iron Man was the beginning of an adventure for all of us, whether we knew it or not at the time.

See you next time for The Incredible Hulk (2008)!


The Standings

First film automatically gets the top spot.

1.  Iron Man (2008)


Matthew can be found on Twitter as @mahargen.  He just started a new job, so he's been conspicuously quiet as of late.  Go demand he be more active.



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