Iron Man was the first movie to kick off what Marvel refers to as Phase I. You might not remember that, when Iron Man was debuting, anyone who didn’t read comic books was like, Iron Man? Who’s that? Now, of course, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know Iron Man, and that Robert Downey, Jr. plays him. Even though it was the first one on the Marvel movie timeline, Iron Man brought in $318 million.
Iron Man is an origin story. Tony Stark is living large on the profits from the sales of the weapons that Stark Industries manufactures. In the Middle East, he’s in a ride-along that goes bad and winds up a captive of a terrorist organization. Guess whose weapons they’re using? Yep, Stark Industries. The terrorists want Stark to make weapons for them. Meanwhile, Tony, and his roommate, realize he’s got shrapnel that’s headed toward his heart. With the parts and tools they’re given, they come up with the arc reactor, and a very primitive Iron Man suit.
Iron Man is a really, really good movie.
Its grounded style and character-driven story is a far cry from the slick action of Iron Man 3. While both movies work well, Iron Man shows Tony’s evolution from a playboy to a hero in a realistic and touching way. Iron Man put critics on notice that Marvel wasn’t making shlocky superhero movies anymore. They had a new formula, and it worked. Iron Man was a critical success, earning 94% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes.
Iron Man is also an unusual superhero film because it explores the darker aspects of the human psyche. Tony Stark doesn’t come lightly to the decision to stop being an arms dealer. His actions are a result of some serious soul-searching, and, well, imprisonment.
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