This is part of a series of blog posts, discussing my rewatch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe FOLLOWING my viewing Avengers: Endgame on opening weekend. If you HAVE NOT seen Endgame, I suggest you wait to read these posts as I will be mentioning and referencing plot points from the most recent film(s) including Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame.
1. Iron Man (2008)
RDJ looks great in this, although Tony Stark is the biggest version of his a-hole self in this one. There are so many things here that Feig clearly put in place purposefully, knowing they'd return to.
I was struck by something Favreau said in the Director's Roundtable this is in the special features for Infinity War, "...the work you all (Russo's, Coogler, Gunn, Whedon, Reed etc) have done has made Iron Man timeless and it's actually grown in cultural relevance."
He's 1000% right. This movie has tons of moments that mean so much more to me now, most importantly anything with Pepper, mentions of Howard Stark and especially the Model 1 mini Arc reactor that Pepper turns into the memorial piece.
"What do you want me to do with this?" "Destroy it." Tony says.
"You don't wanna keep it?" Pepper asks, and of course because she does anyway, he is able to save the day later using this original as a backup. The same original that they put on the lake at the end of Endgame.
I know the Sam Jackson cameo was done last minute, but the SHIELD references (and the importance of Howard Stark to the history of this universe) were not. That's long range (at least four or five movies deep) planning from day one, and Kevin Feige is MOSTLY to thank for it.
There is one really bad Trans joke from Tony when he first goes to tell Rhodey about the suit idea that would never fly today with Disney (it's the kind of thing that Lucas would have edited out by now, probably if this was Star Wars).
I LOVE Jeff Bridges, but the complexity of modern Marvel villians is so much better than Stane that it's hard to get too excited about this performance in retrospect.
I'd still love to see this character used in the future somehow. Maybe there's a future Ant Man movie involving flashbacks with Stane and Howard?
The one thing in the action sequences that struck me is the way that Iron Man (and then later Iron Monger are both framed as monsters. When Tony first exits the cave in the Mach 1 suit, the whole scene plays VERY similarly to the introduction of the Hulk (at least as I remember it) in the 2008 movie I'm about to watch next. Then when Iron Monger first suits up as SHIELD and Pepper rush into the Stark building, after his first reveal, he chases Pepper down a hallway in a scene that Whedon copies wholecloth in The Avengers.
I know well the praise that CA: Winter Soldier has received for being the first Marvel movie that was a genre film first and superhero movie second, but this strikes me that the idea of playing with established film genres (other than Superhero movie) was embedded in Marvel Studios from the start.
It's BIZARRE to me today that after this it took them two years to get the next wave of films out (Incredible Hulk was in production at the same time as this one, but actually occurs simultaneously with the events of Thor and Iron Man 2), HOWEVER, it is interesting to think about whether or not the next wave would have actually happened at all if Iron Man (2008) wasn't the hit with fans and critics that it was.