7 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.
The 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.
One 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.
The 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.
But 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.
Categories: comic book movies