Movie: Iron Man (2008)

Jeff Bridges, Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and Terrence Howard in Iron Man (2008)

I wrote this blog early in April when I decided to watch ALL of the MCU movies prior to End Game.  A strong bout of depression kept me from writing the blogs even though I have notes on all of the movies.  I decided to go ahead and put together blogs because I put in all of the time viewing and noting…. So, here it is, a day late and a dollar short, the first of those two dozen blogs…

All the spoilers all the time.  You have been warned!  (At this point, if you have not seen the movie – then shame on you!)

My Thoughts While Watching:

The one where the rich guy overcompensates with a big red suit.

The guy who directed Elf directed this movie too.  I chuckle.

Alex laughed at me but then my prediction came to pass – the very first scene, showing us an Avenger for the very first time – Iron Man, opening scene, you see Tony Stark’s hand holding a glass.  I felt that THAT was our penultimate Easter Egg.  That hand would go on to snap its fingers and reverse engineer the damage done by Thanos.

“Don’t wanna see this on your MySpace page…”  HA HA HA HA HA

The surround sound experience is pretty amazing right now.

Obadiah….  What a great freaking name.  Also, I seriously LOVE Jeff Bridges.

Wait… totally forgot that Terrance Howard played Rhodey in this one!!  WHY the change?  In Howard’s own words:

In the background I hear Suicidal Tendancies’ “Institutionalized” – that used to be my jam BACK in the day.

This movie is a glamorization of military destruction… The realization that weapons you designed are in the hands of the bad guys without your realizing it – that is a horrible place to be in.  If only “real life” understood that.  “They are your loyal customers, sir.”

They are speaking in Hungarian… Bucket List Life Item: learn the language of my ancestors.

Yinsen = My Man Jeeves

The original concept reminds me of the 1970s features, maybe like a Godzilla.

Burger King product placement!  Disney product placement…

I forgot that the revised Iron Man was silver!  “Throw a little hotrod red in there…”

Classic misogynistic plot: pretty nerdy girl is overlooked until she gets made up and pretty too and THEN she becomes a potential love interest.  Fuck right off with that.

Tony Stark is so fucking arrogant. It irritates me.

“I shouldn’t be alive unless it was for a reason.  I’m not crazy, Pepper.  I just finally know what I have to do and I know in my heart that its right.”

Ugh. Did Gwyneth Paltrow fashion Pepper after Phoene Buffay?

Just call us “SHIELD”.

I will take a minute to note the significance of that very first end credit.  Nick Fury, Director of SHIELD just wanting to discuss the Avenger Initiative.  That one end credit changed the face of movies forever.  Now people sit through all the name scrolling just to catch a glimpse of a side story, to gain the insight for the next move.

For an article by Time, breaking down every end scene, click HERE.

I loved this movie but for reasons other than the acting, cinematography, direction, etc.  I loved it because it was an open door for every geek kid out there who loved comic books to understand that it is “OK” to love comic books.  It was the first movie in an industry changing regime. That they would be able to connect over twenty movies together, with a common thread, and tell a story over the span of a decade – I just find it difficult to believe that can be done again in the scope Marvel put forth. Mind you I loathe Tony Stark.  Just loathe.  Even after End Game.  But I love the universe he ushered in.

Kudos Marvel.


Some Interviews and Extra Video:

There was an Easter Egg on the DVD that let you to this video:

IMDB Synopsis: After being held captive in an Afghan cave, billionaire engineer Tony Stark creates a unique weaponized suit of armor to fight evil.


Robert Downey Jr. Robert Downey Jr. Tony Stark / Iron Man
Terrence Howard Terrence Howard Rhodey
Jeff Bridges Jeff Bridges Obadiah Stane
Gwyneth Paltrow Gwyneth Paltrow Pepper Potts
Leslie Bibb Leslie Bibb Christine Everhart
Shaun Toub Shaun Toub Yinsen
Faran Tahir Faran Tahir Raza
Clark Gregg Clark Gregg Agent Coulson
Bill Smitrovich Bill Smitrovich General Gabriel
Sayed Badreya Sayed Badreya Abu Bakaar
Paul Bettany Paul Bettany JARVIS (voice)
Jon Favreau Jon Favreau Hogan

Director: Jon Favreau


My ranking scores –

0-19 Levels of: Ugh

20-39 Levels of: Meh (aka I cannot reach the remote)

40-59 Levels of: I don’t hate it?

60-85 Levels of: That was solid.

86-100 Levels of: I Loved It!

I rank this movie a 90.000007!



Additional Movie Info:

It received a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 93% Fresh.  It received a Rotten Tomato audience rating of 91% liking it.  Average Rating: not displayed with a number of User Ratings: 1,080,073.  Seriously, in the handful of years I have been referencing Rotten Tomatoes, I have never seen that high of a number of users rating a single film.  Impressive.

Movie Reviews:

Specs:  Release date: 2 May 2008 (USA) / Runtime: 126 minutes / Budget: $140M

IMDB Trivia:

  • The script was not completely finished when filming began, since the filmmakers were more focused on the story and the action, so the dialogue was mostly ad-libbed throughout filming. Director Jon Favreau acknowledged this made the film feel more natural. Some scenes were shot with two cameras, to capture lines improvised on the spot. Robert Downey, Jr. would ask for many takes of one scene, since he wanted to try something new. Gwyneth Paltrow, on the other hand, had a difficult time trying to match Downey with a suitable line, as she never knew what he would say.
  • Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) was originally a much smaller part. In fact, the character at first was only called “Agent”, but as filming went on, and Gregg’s chemistry with all the other cast members became apparent, they added more and more scenes. Agent Coulson would go on to appear in Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), The Avengers(2012), and would later star in the spin-off series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013).
  • Director Jon Favreau wanted Robert Downey, Jr. because he felt the actor’s past was right for the part. He commented: “The best and worst moments of Robert’s life have been in the public eye. He had to find an inner balance to overcome obstacles that went far beyond his career. That’s Tony Stark. Robert brings a depth that goes beyond a comic book character having trouble in high school, or can’t get the girl.” Favreau also felt Downey could make Stark “a likable asshole”, but also depict an authentic emotional journey once he won over the audience.
  • To avoid spoilers about the final press conference, the extras were told that it was a dream sequence.
  • This is Marvel Studios’ first self-financed movie.
  • Tony Stark’s computer system is called J.A.R.V.I.S. (Just A Rather Very Intelligent System). This is a tribute to Edwin Jarvis, Howard Stark’s butler. He was changed to an artificial intelligence to avoid comparisons to Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred Pennyworth.
  • In an interview with Britain’s Empire Magazine, Robert Downey, Jr. thanked Burger King for helping him get straight in 2003, with a car full of drugs. He had a burger that was so disgusting, it made him rethink his life, and dump the drugs in the ocean. He repeats this, with his impromptu sit-down session with the press, upon his return from captivity. Burger King also promoted the film with toys based on this movie, as well as the sequel.
  • Roughly four hundred fifty separate pieces make up the Iron Man suit.
  • According to Paul Bettany, he did not know on which film he was working. He merely did the job as a favor for Jon Favreau, with whom he worked, in Wimbledon (2004).
  • This is the last film special effects expert Stan Winston completed before his death.
  • Stan Lee, the creator of Iron Man, had originally based Tony Stark on Howard Hughes, who he felt was “one of the most colorful men of our time: an inventor, an adventurer, a multimillionaire, a ladies man, and finally, a nutcase.” Robert Downey, Jr. further described his portrayal of Stark as “a challenge of making a wealthy, establishmentarian, weapons-manufacturing, hard-drinking, womanizing prick, into a character who is likeable, and a hero.”
  • (At around one hour and fifty minutes) Just before the final press conference, Tony Stark is reading the newspaper with a grainy, amateur photograph of Iron Man on the cover. The picture is part of a video, shot by onlookers hiding in a bush during initial filming, that appeared on the Internet in 2007.
  • (At around forty-nine minutes) When Pepper helps Tony replace his arc reactor, was filmed using a prosthetic chest, joined to Robert Downey, Jr.’s own chest, and projecting out at an angle, while Robert was “in” the back of the seat, on which he was sitting. A bright light was positioned, shining on the area to hide any potential “edges” of the fake chest piece. A similar method was used in Star Trek: First Contact (1996) when the Borg Queen was introduced.
  • To prepare for his role as Obadiah Stane, Jeff Bridges read some of the “Iron Man” comic books that featured Stane. He also grew a beard and shaved his head, which he said was something he’d always wanted to do.
  • (At around one hour and twenty-five minutes) When Pepper discovers Tony removing the damaged Iron Man armor, Captain America’s shield can be seen sitting on a workbench. This same scene was shown in many trailers, but the image of the shield was edited out. Iron Man 2 (2010) and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) would later reveal that Howard Stark, Tony’s father, was responsible for the creation of Captain America’s shield, and the one in Tony’s home is an early prototype.
  • During the final battle, there was originally going to be a sequence where Tony, in the Iron Man suit, drives an Audi R8 that would crash into Iron Monger’s legs then flip over, after which Iron Man would split the car in half and jump out. However, the Audi R8 was so well-built, that it refused to flip, despite repeated crashes and the roof wouldn’t split the way director Jon Favreau wanted it to, because the car’s frame was so tough. As a result, the whole final fight sequence was re-written. The filmmakers were so impressed by the toughness of the car, that it was decided that the convertible version was to be featured in Iron Man 2 (2010).
  • There are about five sets of armor in the film, all inspired from the “Iron Man” comics: Mark I armor, Stark’s first suit, is a simple suit constructed of iron. Mark II armor is a silver suit, the prototype Stark develops (this can also be counted as the War Machine armor, as Rhodes looks speculatively at it). Mark III armor is the final red and gold armor. J.A.R.V.I.S. first presents the Mark III armor in full gold, the look pays tribute to the all-gold “Golden Avenger” armor Iron Man wore early in his career. J.A.R.V.I.S. later presents the armor in silver and red, making it look almost identical to Iron Man’s “Silver Centurion” armor that he wore in the 1980s.
  • In the comics, Obadiah Stane ran his own company (Stane International), and was actually a business rival to Tony Stark, rather than being part of Stark Enterprises.
  • (At around one hour and forty-five minutes) During the highway battle with Iron Monger, a building can be seen in the background with a Roxxon logo. In the Marvel Universe, Roxxon is a notorious conglomerate known for illegal activities, agents of which were responsible for the deaths of Stark’s parents.
  • According to Jon Favreau, when making this film, there was a lot of pressure for it to succeed. This was particularly due to Marvel using their characters as collateral when they received a five hundred twenty-five million dollar, seven year deal, called a non-recourse debt facility, allowing them to make original films based on their properties. Marvel wanted to have complete creative control over their characters, build a film library, and greater profit potential than the deals they’ve inked with other studios owning the film rights to their characters. Marvel also changed its name to Marvel Entertainment, Incorporated, to establish a Hollywood presence. If the film didn’t succeed, Marvel would’ve lost the intellectual property rights to their library. However, the wager paid off, as Iron Man’s box office success enabled Marvel to kick off an entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) consisting of interconnecting films and series.
  • Chapter One of Phase One in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • “I am Iron Man” was ad-libbed by Robert Downey, Jr. Producer Kevin Feige approved using it in the final cut of the film, and credits this with his decision to largely do away with secret identities in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Only Spider-Man conceals his identity, while Thor’s alter ego, Donald Blake, is similarly not used.
  • In the comics, the chauffeur, Harold “Happy” Hogan, is a confidante of Tony Stark, who later marries Virginia “Pepper” Potts, after a tragedy draws them closer, though they later divorce. Additionally, the origin of Happy’s nickname in the comics, is that he was a former professional boxer who earned that nickname, due to his reputation of never fighting back.
  • (At around forty-seven minutes) Obadiah Stane tells Tony Stark “We’re iron mongers, we make weapons.” Stane’s supervillain moniker is the Iron Monger, and thus foreshadows Stane’s own transition in the film to an armor-clad antagonist.
  • The sound used during a target lock-on in Iron Man’s Head Up Display (HUD) is the sound of the laser cannon firing in Space Invaders (1978) video game.
  • (At around fifty-eight minutes) Obadiah brings Tony a pizza from New York City in a box marked “Ray’s”. Ray’s is a famous chain of pizza places in New York City. It also marks the second Favreau-directed film to refer to Ray’s Pizza. In Elf (2003), it is the pizza recommended by Santa Claus to Buddy the Elf.
  • When Pepper Potts is downloading a set of secret files, the authorization on one document is listed as “Lebowski”. Jeff Bridges, who plays Stane in this film, played “The Dude” in The Big Lebowski (1998).
  • (At around one hour and twenty minutes) Stark and Rhodes graduated from M.I.T. together. When Rhodes calls Iron Man, who is flying with the F-22s, a big gold ring is on the hand that he’s using to hold the phone. This is MIT’s class ring, the “brass rat”.
  • (At around one hour and twenty-four minutes) When Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) watches Rhodey (Terrence Howard) on television, an expensive chess set is visible on the table in front of him. In the comics, Obadiah Stane was fond of playing chess, and also created a group called “The Chessmen” to attack Stark Industries.
  • Yinsen (Shaun Toub) mentions a meeting between himself and Tony Stark at a tech conference (which Tony can’t remember because he was too drunk). This would later become the opening scene of Iron Man 3 (2013).
  • Part of the closing credits are seen against computer-graphic renders of armoured suits. One of the renders is an armour with a Gatling gun attached – the War Machine suit, which would appear in Iron Man 2 (2010).

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