comic book movies

Iron Man (2008) Discussion: Still one of the best Marvel movies

iron man 2008 best marvel movie7 years and 10 movies later, the first Iron Man still remains one of the best Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Also simply one of the best superhero origin movies ever, let’s take a look back at the first Iron Man film, the movie that started it all for the MCU.

Iron Man is not my favourite Avenger (that spot goes to Captain America), however he is one of the most interesting characters on the roster. And the first Iron Man film really showcased that.

The opening of Iron Man introduced us to a care-free Tony Stark, who ends up getting hurt by his own creation. Yeah, this seems to be a recurring theme. Tony Stark is definitely a character of growth, but he still hasn’t found that line of technological exploitation he shouldn’t cross yet. In the first Iron Man movie, his creation, his weapons, were the ones that injured him, and in Age of Ultron, it’s his creation that ends up…well we’ll have to wait and see, but we can probably guess how that’s going to end.

What’s great about the first Iron Man movie was that it gave us a great contrast of his pre-Iron Man life, to his post-Iron Man life. At first he was already idolised as a hero, for his weapons creations. The film raised the question on what the true nature of the hero is. Tony’s idea of peace was having a bigger stick than the other guys, claiming it was an imperfect world, but the only one we got. He wasn’t interested in change, or justice, he just saw that the best we could do was build bigger weapons.

iron man 2008 movieThe first Iron Man overall was really well-directed by Jon Favreau, and is still one of the best directed Marvel movies. In his pre-Iron Man life scenes, the scenes are very short, fast upbeat and loud (with a little AC/DC). Then when it cuts to the scene of Tony Stark in capture, the scene is long and quiet.

One of the main criticisms about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is that the stakes never feel real. That it’s too light, and doesn’t really feel like there are any consequences. However there was some dark stuff in the first Iron Man movie. Tony Stark was tortured and made to really face the consequences of his weapon creations. The stakes do feel real, and there is a really great build up of tension to their escape. His captive friend dying in front of his eyes, sacrificing himself for Tony, was a great scene to really emphasise to Stark was his weapons cause.

After Tony Stark escapes we get to the press conference scene. It was interesting to hear Tony talk about his father in the movie, after we’ve witnessed Howard’s own adventures in Captain America and Agent Carter. Tony questioned whether his father questioned his own company’s actions, which we know now, he most definitely did.

iron man best marvel movieOne of the best things about the first Iron Man film, was that it was completely character focused on Tony Stark. Yes the film had the purpose of starting this Marvel Cinematic Universe, and we obviously got hints about that, but that was all it was, just hints. The Iron Man story wasn’t pushed to the side to make room for world-building, the movie really was to set-up this character, and his journey to becoming Iron Man.

The first time we see Iron Man really suit up, was one of the best scenes in the film. Tony goes back to the location of his captors and saves local citizens from being killed. He reunites a father back with his son, as he walks away like a badass. Then we get a great scene with him saving the pilot who couldn’t get his parachute to open. These scenes really build up to the growth of the hero that is Iron Man. His first saves aren’t an entire city, they are just a small group of people, that really starts testing the person Tony wants to be. 

iron man iron mongerThe first half of Iron Man was the best part of the movie, and obviously this film has weaknesses as well. The main villain of the movie was okay. The whole dad’s evil best friend wants to kill me to take over my company to become super rich, is good enough. He just wasn’t that interesting or memorable, however is probably one of the better Iron Man villains from the trilogy. Then you have Pepper Potts. Again there wasn’t anything really wrong with her, she just felt like less of a character, and more of a plot device to move the story along.

iron man pepper pottsBut even in a post-Avengers world, the first Iron Man movie can be looked back as one of the best Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. The first Iron Man film was the perfect launching pad to the MCU, and really teased us for the greatness that was about to begin in this universe.

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15 replies »

  1. Place five for me. GotG, Winter Soldier and The Avengers are the best, for different reasons, and on place 4 is for me The First Avenger, no matter what anyone else says, followed by Iron Man…but I guess it’s a matter of taste. I think that Steve is the more compelling character simply because he is good and just but nevertheless complex, while Tony is kind of a jerk and I am frankly tired of those “tortured and flawed” heroes which have been popular in the last years.

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    • Fair enough, yeah I love Steve a lot more than Tony, but I still find Tony to be an interesting character. I think Tony was written the best in the first Iron Man movie, and then they really started pushing the whole jerk angle a lot more.

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  2. The first Iron Man film is still my favourite, and I certainly think its one of the best Marvel films as well. It was a great origin story and got everything right about the characters right from the start, brilliant film!

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      • Personally i say winter soldier is the best marvel movie, but iron man started it all as you said. It’s a good origin story and a well made film. Batman begins is what started it all for dc as well, without nolan and that film, wb would be lost with their dc properties right now.
        A lot of people are coming out now and saying theyre tired of darker films, but im not sure batman or even superman in current times would work without a more serious or darker tone.

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      • Yeah winter soldier is definitely up there for me as well
        Exactly! Besides i didn’t find MOS to be that dark anyways, it was just darker than what we normally get from a superman movie, but that tone is what works now so i don’t see the problem

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  3. I haven’t yet reached Iron Man in my pre-Age of Ultron Marathon, but I’ll be watching it tomorrow. I’m going in chronological order, and I’m including the TV shows in that. Just finished re-watching Agent Carter. I’ll probably be doing a few lump posts where I talk about a bunch of movies at once later this month.

    But yes, Iron Man is among the best movies if only because it’s very focused on the title character. Most of the Phase 1 movies have the problem you mention about the stakes never feel real. I like the first Thor, but it’s probably the worst in this regard. But because Iron Man’s villains aren’t out of this world and so close to Tony, they feel real and dangerous as a result.

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    • Ooh that rewatch sounds fun
      Yeah the first iron man movie was pretty grounded compared to other mcu movies.i love the first thor movie as well, but it had that problem as well

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  4. In the comics, Iron Man to me is boring as hell. But on screen, Downey as Iron Man is my favourite marvel character. My sister and my mother both enjoyed the Iron Man films and Avengers. When I watched Iron Man 3 on Blu-ray (for about the third time) my mom and sis were excited to watch IM3 for a second time.

    I remember being in high school and people teasing me for reading Spider-Man and Tintin comics at school. I never thought I would see the day when members of my family were excited about super-hero characters.

    It just goes to show the strength of those characters and what can happen when you get talented S.O.B’s like Downer, Joss Whedon and Favreau (or Flavor Favreau as I call him, because he became the flavor of the month) on a flick and REAL MAGIC can happen baby.

    I wish they would make MORE Iron Man films, and a third Sherlock with Downey, he is endlessly charming and endearing.

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    • So true, all you need is the right creative team and you can really showcase the strengths of these characters. And of course RDJ is the reason why Iron Man is so popular now, he just knows how to work the audience. Also completely agree with you about Sherlock, would love to see another film from that series!

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