A new era of comic book movies & paradigmatic shift in blockbuster history, the MCU was born a retro-futuristic blockbuster as lustrous, smooth, hot rod, & AC/DC as its once-a-generation perfection of casting: Robert Downey Jr. as the wry, idiosyncratic, x-factor, sarcastic genius/billionaire/playboy/philanthropist – the Malibu cliff-bedrock and shining exemplification of what the franchise could’ve [& should’ve] taken as zenith blueprint/diagram, balancing A+ CGI & big fun action scenes with (mechanized) heart and IQ by advanced capitalism x warfare x technology x responsibility themes crux to the 21st Century. 9.2/10.
Plot Synopsis: A billionaire industrialist and genius inventor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), is conducting weapons tests overseas, but terrorists kidnap him to force him to build a devastating weapon. Instead, he builds an armored suit and upends his captors. Returning to America, Stark refines the suit and uses it to combat crime and terrorism.
Official CLC Review
Pros: RDJ – a once-in-a-lifetime casting as whose wry, efficacious, zealous, AC/DC swagger and sarcasm matches the genius/billionaire/playboy/philanthropist persona of Tony Stark to absolute perfection /// Paltrow’s Potts is a nice counterbalance of soft feminine innocence with a twinge of love interest, Favreau a director/cameo of comedic proportions, Terrence Howard sensational as duty-driven Col. Rhodes antithesizing everything Stark stands for pre-trip to the desert – the best version of the character it’s an absolute travesty got replaced by Don Cheadle in 2-onward, and Obadiah chilling enough to make for an engaging antagonist and Wall Street ruthless businessman underhandedly double-dealing with treason all in the pursuit of $ and ambition unabridged without the slightest of ethics as an American Dream gone wrong/too far /// both suits absolutely gorgeous and comic accurate at first parlayed into the perfect breathtaking on-screen version of the classic iron man suit – with beautiful CGI and all the modern tech/bells-and-whistles the age of 21st century moviemaking allows /// legacy – started the MCU and a proto-formula that was fresh before it got stale and overdone of humor, action, finely-tuned CGI, and heart /// the film’s biggest achievement and what cements it not only as one of the Top 5 Marvel movies ever but also one of the best comic book movies ever is the responsibility/weapons arc and how it’s used as a crux for magnificent character development: Stark is a playboy who doesn’t care about anything enough to miss awards banquets thrown in his honor playing craps gambling in Vegas and his own assistant’s birthday and fine war-profiteering off the death and suffering of others (one of many war-critics’ biggest indictments being a hyper-violent cycle of carnage and corpses weapons manufacturers are at the forefront of in responsibility) – through a blockbuster lens for tangible relatability/universality, the film immaculately dissects this complex discussion on ethics and how people in these corporations sleep at night – coming to the conclusion that anyone with a reasonable conscience would recognize the plausibility, nay probability, of their weapons being used against their promised direction or allies and that there has to be a better way – this one merging classic old-world American fears/ideologies with sleek modern technology perfect for the New Age of Tech booms and AI/Social Media/Cyber-advancement for one of the smartest blockbusters of recent times – as memorable as its MIT-cum laude protagonist and inspiring a look at the ethic of our legacy and work while having a great one of its own. Tony learns a new way and symbolism mocking peace sign picture at first comedic jokes second to none but then does it himself when rescued and rid world of weapons but gave it best one ever in suit if got into wrong hands and Ob’s suit a bigger giant version of prototype old Tony behemoth of unethical monstrosity versus new red-and-gold hot-rod americana heroism accountability /// Legacy – perhaps the most (and really.. only with Batman) realistic superhero movie not being at all dependent on superpowers or fantastical abilities but pure technology and science. pure fantasy of flying and power of superheroics but in tangible way I’m sure there are engineers and MIT grads already in the early stages of development combines best of sci-fi, also started the biggest movie franchise ever in the MCU for better or worse showcasing an impressive ability to scale and still keep its fanbase happy with all the series major tenets here, a showpiece as impressive as cyber-heart and culminating to, of course, that brilliant cliffhanger ending psychoanalyzing comic book media pointing out he’s by far the opposite character type while exploiting his egocentrism and lust for attention/celebrity status and throwing all preconceptions and conventions to the wind by revealing his secret identity in the ultimate reveal/segway into a franchise (along with perhaps the best post-credits scene ever teasing Avengers-ambition in Movie 1): ‘I Am Iron Man’
Cons: Final showdown while epic overall ends stereotypically being taken out by a tiresome-growing-and-overlong monologue, Obadiah as a villain is ~underwhelming, soundtrack is a bit stock/generic except for the AC/DC & Black Sabbath twinges it could’ve leaned more into to spice
Official CLC Score: 9.2/10