Road to Avengers Infinity War: Iron Man (2008) Review
Between now and the release of Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War in May I will be attempting to review the majority of the MCU films that will lead up to this land mark film. I originally planned to review every single MCU however I don’t have enough time to as I am currently in my third year of university which unfortunately occupies a lot of my spare time right now. So I decided I would review the major films of the MCU not necessarily each one. But I felt like it was only right to begin with the film that started it all. Iron Man released way back in 2008, who knew how important this film would be and where it would lead us to today. Part of me actually wanted to review this film for personal reasons, honestly I’m not really the biggest fan of Iron Man as a character. I’m more of a Captain America guy. Prior to watching this film last night I believe I’ve only watched this film like twice. Every time I see Iron Man in someone’s top 5 list I say in my head “Was that film really that good?” Not that I thought it was bad it’s just that I didn’t really remember anything from it. Well it’s safe to say after watching it last night for the first time in years I totally understand why people hold this film in such high regard, It’s so great!
What makes this film so great? Robert Downey Jr! Having watched all of his MCU performances I believe this one is his best, he makes it look so easy. You believe that he’s actually tony stark in real life. It’s funny to see how the character of Tony Stark hasn’t changed at all since this film. He’s still that snarky, self-confident, arrogant billionaire that we see in the recent MCU movies. Robert Downey Jr. does a great job at portraying the Tony who care about nothing but himself, to the more emotional Tony as we see after he escapes from the cave and he realises that he was saved for a reason. He sees what his weapons are doing in the Middle East in the hands of the wrong people and chooses to shut down his Stark manufacturing programme and hunt these people down. I also really like Tony’s relationship with Pepper Potts in this film which also brings the emotional side out of Tony, she almost acts like an anchor that constantly pulls Tony back to reality.
As for the story of this film I really found it compelling and a strong aspect of the film. Given the time of its release the issues brought up in this film were very relevant at the time and even today with the subject of war and terrorism. Although Tony is seen as a hero to many with his manufacturing of war weapons he is also seen as a war criminal. What happens when the weapons you built get into the hands of the enemy and is used to kill innocents and your own people? This movie tackles this issue brilliantly. The scenes set in the cave after the explosion which lodges shrapnel into Tony’s chest are some of my favourite scenes. You get to see how much of a genius tony really is in creating this early suit who is stripped down to nothing. The creation of the first suit provides for some great action scenes that are spread throughout the movie, for example with the breakout from the cave. Let me just say for a film that was released 10 years ago these visual effects hold up really well they’re great!
Now I’m not going to go into every single detail of the film but I would like to share my favourite scenes with you guys. The first being when Tony takes the Mark II suit on it’s first flight test, I love this scene! It looked, sounded and was acted out perfectly. This flight scene almost encapsulates what Tony is all about. In his first flight he straightaway wants to push the suit to the limit by going above 85,000 feet. You get to see the joy an relief on his face when he is able to save himself from the suit freezing over. Again this scene is accompanied by great visual effects. The second scene that stood out to me is where he introduces himself to the military by accident… well kind of. I love how Tony is just having an on going conversation with James Rhodes while his life is in danger. It just shows the strength of Robert Downey Jr. as an actor being someone that can pull this off and making it seem believable.
As for the main villain Obadiah well… he was average at best, you saw it coming a mile off that he was going to betray Tony and he was behind it all. I mean he wasn’t terrible but there’s a reason why people don’t mention him at all when it comes to the best comic book villains ever. What he did provide for was another favourite scene of mine which is where Obadiah extracts the arc reactor from Tony’s chest, it was just brutal to watch. That one scene kind of encapsulates what I love most about this film in how they dealt with the tone. There was a good mix of both light and dark moments which I feel has been a real struggle for recent MCU films.
Overall I really enjoyed revisiting this movie and I have to admit I didn’t realise how great this movie really is. This may have sneaked into my top 5 comic book films ever. I think I’m turning into a huge Iron Man fan now, I can’t wait to re-watch the sequels which from what I remember aren’t the best but Robert Downey Jr has me exited to revisit them.
Let me know what you think of Iron Man? Does it rank high amongst your top comic book films?