As we gear up for the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War and the 19th film in the #MCU, it is time to look back and reflect on what kickstarted #Marvel's live-action universe. Way back in 2008, #RobertDowneyJr slipped on the mantle of #IronMan and set the wheels in motion for the highest grossing movie franchise in the history of Hollywood.
As the unofficial grandfather of the MCU, we are quick to forget #JonFavreau's role in the creation of the #superhero legacy, and arguably, under someone else's reign, we could be looking at a very different landscape.
Feeling Happy Hogan
Speaking at the The Tribeca Film Festival, frequent Favreau collaborator #ScarlettJohannson got a chance to interview the director as they both reflected on the era of Iron Man. Favreau in particular seemed to shy away from his own praise and instead bigged up Downey. Jr's titular contribution to the film:
"As I thought of the character and idea of Robert, that’s when it all clicked, and I got him as that and what the whole thing would be. That’s why I worked very hard to make sure he was in it,"
"Once he came on board, it changed the nature... people didn’t know what to expect...A lot of people wanted to be a part of it because it felt like an independent film cast except with these set pieces and then there was humor and spontaneity, some came from me, a lot from Downey."
He also went on to talk about the film's stellar use of CGI, which took us away from a time of dodgy visual effects and lackluster greenscreen in superhero films — here's looking at you again, Joel Schumacher:
"We found that personality and then also tried to deliver some really cool visual FX as well that were believable. That combo I felt passion for.”
"They were doing some really cool stuff [in] Transformers with hard surfaces, and I started to really believe that was real. The surfaces didn’t look fake to me in the same way. One thing is what you’re asking it to do and the other thing is what it’s capable of, and hard surfaces is sort of the first thing that you get to look convincing because of the way the light hits it, whereas flesh or hair, those are harder things to do."
"Hard surfaces like metal, like a robot or an Iron Man suit, it hit the point where you could actually do that in a convincing way if you shot it right and if you conceived of it properly.”
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Back To The Source
Favreau — who also played Happy Hogan in all three Iron Man standalones — discussed the importance of looking back over Iron Man's #comicbook history to find inspiration for the film:
“When it came to Iron Man, I thought ‘what do I know about Iron Man? People know the [Black Sabbath] song - not diehard Marvel fans but people who read it growing up like me, I remember the suit, I remember him escaping from the cave. There were certain things I remember. I remember he was sort of a James Bond type but he was rich and he was a bachelor."
"Those personality traits I tried to maintain that and then look at the source material and get inspired. And then try to update it for our time. The first one was definitely set in our world - they were in Afghanistan, it was at that time in our history, just like it was set in Vietnam when the comic first came out. I tried to keep it on the edge of being real, too, then we kind of discovered from there.”
First introduced in 1963, Tony Stark has battled physical and personal demons over the years and has been a part of some of Marvel's most influential storylines. While Iron Man's life can stray into some pretty dark territory, Favreau and Downey Jr. kept the character treading the comedy line for his first and second outings.
As Iron Man was one of the most successful films of the past decade, spawning two sequels, and persistent rumors of a fourth, who knows what the future holds for the character. Knowing how much longer Robert Downey Jr. will remain in the role, or whether or not we are queuing up his eventual demise, there is no denying that the MCU comes from some superpowered roots.
Check out the trailer for Iron Man and don't forget our poll below!
Does 'Iron Man' deserve the credit it gets?
(Source: Den of Geek)
[Poll Image Credit: Paramount Pictures]