It’s been 10 years, and what a ride it has been. Big things have small beginnings, and Iron Man was such a humble film. Iron Man is the second wind of comic book movies, and, almost, single-handedly redefined the modern blockbuster. How does it hold up, 18 films later? In a world where we have seen almost everything, can Iron Man 1 still be appreciated?
Iron Man is a film about a guy who learns that the world is much more than he perceives it to be, and selflessly chooses to save it. It is the most super-heroey plot. Guy thinks he’s great, gets put in peril, gets humbled, and seeks to rectify his mistakes. He even fights an evil version of himself. It is classic, comic book awesomeness, but it is anchored down, perfectly, by tremendous acting, especially, Robert Downey Jr. If not for the acting, there wouldn’t be much of note from this film, but it is some of the most believable and very organic performances in any movie. From the titular star, to his powerful leading lady, his concerned, yet professional best friend, and the dude as a scary angry man. It’s wonderful.
This film picked a heck of a time to come out. This film came out after a string of disappointments, like: X-Men 3, Spider-Man 3, Fantastic Four 2, Ghost Rider, and Elektra. Yes, there were some good films in the meantime (300, Batman Begins, Sin City), but there were more bad films than good ones from the comic book world. X-Men really got the ball rolling, as far as high concept, big budget comic book films go, even though plenty of (and very good) comic book films that came before it. Iron Man had the luxury of coming out when anticipation was low. These days, people speak of comic book movie fatigue, because every blockbuster is a comic book movie, but a decade ago, every blockbuster was a comic book movie, and a lot of them were not good films. I say keep them coming, as long as they are good, and, so far, they have been.
So we have been to space, other dimensions, other realities, talked to ants, so is Iron Man as good as when we first saw it? So, I like this film, but I think it is not only the weakest Iron Man, but one of the weakest Marvel films in general. Credit where it’s due, it was the spark that started the great Marvel Cinematic Universe fire, but that’s about it, for me. I honestly think it is in the bottom 5 Marvel films. The third act is anti climactic, the story pales compared to other stories in the MCU, but being the worst graduating doctor, is still a doctor.
It’s been 10 years, but it has been 10 years. Even though Iron Man is quaint, these days, it was once the hottest and most fresh blockbuster of the season. It utilized top of the line visual effects to tell a story of redemption, and it was rounded out with fantastic performances, and dynamic dialogue.