I love Robert Downey Jr. as much as the next person, or anyone who appreciates an actor’s actor. His performance in Chaplin is still vastly underrated, in my opinion. So, back in 2007 when it was announced he would be playing Tony Stark, the brilliant but troubled playboy industrialist who becomes Iron Man, talk about a perfect choice. I thought Patrick Stewart as Professor X was the crème de la crème of spot on superhero casting, but this took the title. And as much as I love Chris Pratt in this year’s number one movie [Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073), Star-Lord was nowhere nearly as recognized as Iron Man. So there was more pressure for Downey to deliver, and did he. RDJ’s real life mirrored that of Stark’s and his persona and charisma was the driving force of the film. Thanks in large part to RDJ’s portrayal of Tony, Iron Man became a huge global hit and jump started Marvel Studios and their Phase 1 of movies, leading up to the glorious-ness known as the Avengers.
RDJ returned to play the Armored Avenger 3 more times in Iron Man 2 and 3, and the aforementioned The Avengers, with each movie grossing more than the previous. And even though at the end of [Iron Man 3](movie:24391) where he (SPOILER ALERT, even though if you’re reading this, you’ve should’ve already seen the film) destroyed his armor, seemingly coming off as both Stark and Downey were retiring from the superhero business, the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron says otherwise. The difference now than in previous years is that Marvel Studios has built a money-making juggernaut (see what I did there?!) and a reputation that they take their characters extremely seriously. You have Oscar-nominated actors playing gods and Shield agents. They can take B and C-list superheroes and turn them into multi-million dollar profits. GOTG is the biggest example of this. Marvel is so far ahead of the curve, DC is playing a serious case of catch-up. Good luck, Ben Affleck.
So, this past Tuesday, while appearing on Ellen promoting his new movie The Judge, RDJ was asked if an Iron Man 4 was in the works, and he confirmed yes. Then, on David Letterman, he backtracked and said “there’s no script for Iron Man 4.” Huh? First off, it sounds like somebody from Marvel watched Ellen, contacted a certain actor’s publicist and said “mums the word.” Plus, with the success of Guardians, is it really necessary to keep retreading another Iron Man solo story? We already have three, and even though each Iron Man movie made more money than its predecessor, the sequels have progressively gotten worse. Iron Man 2 fell into the trap of DTM - “Doin’ Too Much.” War Machine was cool, but Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash/Crimson Dynamo mashup was a big mistake, and the movie itself only served as an Avengers setup. Black Widow’s introduction, Tony against the government, Howard Stark and his involvement with Shield’s inception; Tony himself got lost in all of these jumbled plot points.
Iron Man 3 had a golden opportunity with the Extremis storyline, but screwed everything up with how they portrayed the Mandarin. Like WTF??!! It was criminal and unforgivable to anyone who was a true Iron Man fan. I can somewhat forgive what Fox did to Dr. Doom in the Fantastic Four movies, but Marvel Studios allowed that travesty to happen to one of their biggest villains and Iron Man’s main arch-nemesis?! I went to see it when it came out with a friend who never followed Marvel, but she loves RDJ. When Sir Ben Kingsley had his reveal, she laughed her butt off. I sat there, jaw opened in disbelief, and after the initial shock, proceeded to make up cusswords to describe what I just saw. She couldn’t understand what the big deal was and that’s fair. But again, Marvel Studios has a rep for taking their characters and their history very seriously, and that hurt. Regardless, the movie ended up being the second highest-grossing Marvel film ever, so it didn’t hurt too much.
What other solo Stark story is there to tell outside of the Avengers’ films? Captain America has unfinished business with the Winter Soldier. Thor gave up being “Thor” to live a normal life with Jane Foster. Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk deserves his own film, and according to the Phase 3 slate of films, we’re getting one with Planet Hulk (that will be EPIC!). Peter Quill and his father need to reconnect, and man…Thanos better be the greatest villain we’ve ever seen because his couple of cameos so far have been magnificent. Iron Man is obviously the center of the cinematic Marvel universe, but just like Sony wore out Spider-Man’s welcome by unnecessarily rebooting the series, Marvel doesn’t need to do the same. Except for Spidey, the X-Men franchise, and Fantastic Four, they still own the rights to all of their characters. Guardians proved they can make a profit out of any of their heroes as long as they stick to the source material. Marvel has over 60 years of stories to tell. Another Iron Man isn’t needed. I would still go see it though. It’s RDJ. He played Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder. I will forever be a fan off that alone.
What do you think? Should Marvel make an Iron Man 4? Vote below.