Marvelous Monday is a new series I’m starting this week. Every Monday, leading up to the release of Captain America: Civil War, I’m going to be reviewing the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, starting this week with the first one, Iron Man.
Iron Man, the one that started it all. The first of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) was Iron Man back in 2008 and it was awesome. Jon Favreau directed and it stars Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges and Terrence Howard. Tony Stark is captured in Afghanistan and has to create a weaponized suit to escape his captors.
The first thing you have to talk about when discussing Iron Man, is Robert Downey Jr. He embodied this role and brought it to life. All the charisma and wit that Tony Stark has, comes from Downey, to the point that no one else could have played this role. Tom Cruise was up for the role originally and even a great actor like Cruise, is unimaginable as Tony Stark because of how much Robert Downey Jr. made the character his own. His performance is outstanding and still to this day I think his portrayal of Stark, is the best superhero performance ever.
Gwyneth Paltrow plays Tony’s love interest, Pepper Potts. Pepper Potts is great and stands out as the best non-superhero female character in the whole MCU. She’s not just the damsel in distress, she gets involved in the action and puts herself at risk to help Tony. Paltrow is perfect in this role and her chemistry with Downey creates a very rare, pleasant romance in a comic book film. I liked Terrence Howard in the role of Rhodey but I have to admit I prefer Don Cheadle, who replaced him in the later films. Howard was good, he just never stood out in this film to me but at the same time didn’t detract from the film either. Iron Man was also the first appearance of Agent Coulson played by Clark Gregg and I just love Clark Gregg.
In my opinion Jon Favreau is the main reason Iron Man worked and kicked off this whole universe at Marvel. He created the tone of this film and the tone Marvel now uses in all of their films. That tone being pure fun. The film has so much humor throughout but can still pullback and have serious moments, when they’re needed. The scenes in Afghanistan get very intense at times but when Iron Man kicks ass and throws out those funny quips, it keeps a wonderful balance of popcorn and sophisticated entertainment. The flight sequences are thrilling and still hold up eight years later. The Iron Man suit design is my favourite out of all the MCU heroes and when that baby’s in action, it never get old watching it. The suit testing scenes in Tony’s house create some laugh out loud moments. Favreau had a lot to do in this film and he achieved it all. The origin story of Iron Man was really well told and the character of Tony Stark was fleshed out, well realised and setup for future films.
The only part of Iron Man that isn’t completely perfect is the villain. The only thing Marvel are struggling with right now, is creating memorable villain other than Loki. Jeff Bridges was really good but there wasn’t much to the character. He was bad because he was just bad. He worked fine in this film but isn’t remembered outside of it. This of course could be accepted if in the sequels they created unique, interesting new villains….
So the first one out the gate for the MCU, hit it out the park. Marvel created one of the most popular characters in the last 10 years, a unique romantic lead, some awesome action scenes and one badass suit. Also the end credit scene is probably one of the best ones Marvel has ever done. Iron Man is a must see for all comic book fans and you may see it tomorrow on my Top Ten Comic Book Films list.
Next Week – The Incredible Hulk