Movie Review — Iron Man (2008)

I am a huge fan of Marvel, however that wasn’t the case in 2008. DC heroes were the ones I grew up with over the course of my childhood. I waited in the afternoons for Justice League Unlimited and Teen Titans to show. I’d always wanted to be either Superman or Batman. The year Iron Man came out was also the same year Christopher Nolan’s second Batman movie was released in theaters. Now, I wasn’t looking forward to Jon Favreau’s movie nearly as much as Nolan’s, but upon viewing the movie that introduced Robert Downey Jr. to me for the first time, Marvel earned themselves a fan.

Iron Man was directed by Jon Favreau and stars Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jeff Bridges. The movie revolves around Tony Stark, an egocentric weapons manufacturer. Barely escaping with his life from a terrorist kidnapping, the glimpse he takes into the destruction his line of work causes creates a change within himself. He takes it upon himself to remedy his wrongdoings by using his technological gifts to end the destruction he’s caused—thus giving birth to the Iron Man.

I’m aware of the implications of Iron Man on cinema; it gave birth to what we know today as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and set a high bar for what superhero movies could be. However, I don’t want to talk about how we know the movie today. I want to make an honest movie review of the MCU’s first film, without regard to how people perceive it and without taking into account how it ties in to whatever Marvel movie is being released at this time.

Iron Man is a movie that captivated me as a kid, and still captivates me nowadays. On my first viewing, it was the action and the gorgeous suit that made the movie special to me. Now, the movie is much more than that. While the suit still looks as fantastic as ever, I’m able to recognize it as a clever movie, with underlying social commentary about the cutthroat world of business, and what it means to be held accountable for your doings. It’s a movie that is clever, all while being a grand spectacle, with a killer soundtrack, and a tone that works perfectly with the character.

The casting of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark was an immensely inspired decision. I cannot imagine anyone else playing the billionaire, playboy philanthropist. He brought an arrogance and swagger to the character that no other actor could emulate. He was quippy and blunt, but at the same time retained a charm to his character that really endears him to the audience.

Terrence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow were also very good as supporting actors. They were a good foil for RDJ to work with, and the back-and-forth banter and chemistry between the characters worked well on screen. Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane was good too. His character was intimidating and, like the supporting characters, really complimented Tony in the movie. Overall, the chemistry amongst the cast members in the movie was very good, and I believe most of that has to do with Robert Downey Jr. After watching every Marvel movie he’s been in to this point, plus having seen him take other roles such as his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, and his role in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, I can honestly say that he is a top notch actor with the ability to enhance the quality of everyone around him all while relishing the limelight. This quality of his is most obvious whenever the Avengers have had to come together on screen, but it’s also evident in the movie’s where he is the only superhero around, such as this one.

Beyond the casting and characters, the soundtrack to this movie is golden. The movie’s main theme, Driving with the Top Down by Ramin Djawadi, is a song that I have on my phone to this day. Listening to it allows me to live the scenes of the movie out in my mind and places me in Tony’s shoes as he builds the second version of his suit. To me, song captures experience of a genius, working tediously on something he’s very passionate about, and then the feeling of satisfaction when everything comes together. The song is iconic to me, and apart from that, it sounds badass as well—further capturing the essence of the movie’s main character.

The story, at the time, was fresh and original. Iron Man had a significantly different tone from the other movies at the time, and exuded a sort of quality that we’ve now come to expect from Marvel films and comic book films alike. This movie is just so fun. I’ve watched it quite a few times now, and I would so gladly watch it again. When it comes to Iron Man, what does it for me really is the suit, which looks oh-so-gorgeous on screen, and the man in it, who looks oh-so-gorgeous on screen as well, but also has a charm to himself that makes him so likable and fun.

I kind of want to make a rating scale for how I rate my movies. I’m going to do it in the way I used to think Rotten Tomatoes did their rating systems; I used to think that if a movie got 100% it was a perfect movie (for those who may not know, the percentage score given to a movie by Rotten Tomatoes reflects the percentage of critics who liked the movie). So if I use the scale I used to attribute to Rotten Tomatoes, I’d give Iron Man a score of 94 out of 100. Perhaps I would’ve given it higher in 2008, but I’ve seen many many good movies in between then and now, and I’ve had to adjust how I feel about this movie based on those.

So this is my first ever movie review on here. I really do enjoy reviewing movies like this, and I plan on making many many more reviews. This is also my first review of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. I plan to complete reviews of all the movies in this franchise ASAP because I just really really enjoy these movies.

Thank you so much for having taken the time to read my opinion on this film. Next up is probably going to be The Incredible Hulk, which is the next installment in he MCU.

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