In a cinematic world of aliens, robots and gods, does the original Iron man really hold up? In this review, I’ll go over why, even after nearly 10 years, Iron man is still one of the greatest comic book movies out there.
**SPOILERS FOR A NEARLY 10 YEAR OLD MOVIE**
Iron man follows a very simple story, arrogant billionaire has life changing event and he has to over come demons from his old life in order to move on. Robert Downey Jr. plays a fantastic Tony Stark. He is funny and charismatic but also portrays this cocky playboy perfectly. At the beginning of the film while Tony is living the playboy lifestyle, you feel as the audience that this is a guy who you are not going to like. How is this guy a super hero? Tony has made his million by building and selling weapons. But after he is captured and has to use his genius to escape, you see the kind a person who has realised, that there was more to life than money and women. With the death of his fellow captive, Yinsen, you see that this callus billionaire has a caring side. Something that shapes him the rest of the movie.
When he gets back to the real world, he uses his new found compassion to help those he has seen suffering. To “help those he’s put in harms way” as Tony says. He does this by building an updated version of the suit that he used for his escape. The montage of the suit building is great and it made me feel like this was something that could actually exist. He then uses the new suit to go back to where he was captured and save the village. This fight scene was amazing. Seeing the suit work with its rockets and boosters was great. The integration of Tony’s AI butler, Jarvis, into the suit also allowed for some great moments and meant that Tony never felt alone when he was out helping others. Tony’s interaction with the other characters after this scene is also great and really help to shape the character. His phone call with his best friend and head of US defence, Rhodey, really shows the comradery these two have. And when he is taking the suit off and his assistant, Pepper Potts, walks in to see the bullet hole riddled suit, the back and forth these two have shows that they care about each, it feels like they have known each other for years.
We then find out the main villain, Obadiah Stane, the old friend of Tony’s dad who took over the company when Tony was captured, was the one who had Tony captured so he could steal the company from Tony. He has since, built a suit similar to Tony’s Iron man armour in order to try and sell it off. Tony then has to stop him using his own suit. While it is common today within Marvel movies to have the villain have the same powers as the hero, this was new in Ironman and felt fresh and great to see. The fight between them felt grounded while also being exciting. When Tony uses knowledge he learnt from his prototypes to stop Stane, it felt earned. We had been on this journey of suit design with Tony, so with him using his earlier flaws to his advantage, it felt natural and smart! Tony’s selflessness to sacrifice himself at the end of fight really rounded out his character’s arc throughout the movie. He was willing to give up his own life to ensure that this technology didn’t fall into the wrong hands, something earlier Tony Stark wouldn’t have cared about.
Up until now in superhero movies, we had seen secret identities and low profiles, this was all thrown on its head when the film ends with Tony stark declaring to a room full of reporters that he is Iron man. This helped show that even though this character had been through so much, he was still cocky and wanted a bit of the spotlight. This is then thrown back at him in, what would become a marvel staple, the post credit scene with Nick Fury, played by an eye patch wearing Samuel L Jackson. When he turns round to Tony and says “I’m hear to speak to you about the Avengers initiative”, I think most comic book fans got goosebumps, and non fans were left with questions they wanted answers to. This, even to this day, is still one of the best post credits scenes marvel has done.
Iron man is packed full of humour, character and fun. It felt grounded while at the same time different. The relationships between the characters felt great and the visuals were fantastic. As I said at the beginning, Iron man, to this day, is still one of the best Marvel movies released!