The darkest times are upon us in an otherwise fun, event-filled, and growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. To celebrate the coming release of Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War," where two ideals will come to a head, let's reflect on the "marvellous" films that this studio has put together. I will be going in order from 2008 - 2015, ending with thoughts and predictions for "Captain America: Civil War." These will be minor reviews, but more of a re-evaluation of my thoughts on these films, how they hold up now, and how well they connect/impact the films that came after. Here we go.
WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS THROUGHOUT!!
Part 1: Iron Man (2008)
Kicking off the Marvel Cinematic Universe back in 2008, most average moviegoers sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed this wonderful film, which reinforced love for superhero films in general. With the fatigue of films like "Spider-Man 3" or "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" (both in 2007), viewers were growing wearing to ever having a great superhero film again. Flash forward to a year later and audiences around the world were falling in love with Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of the Billionaire/Playboy/Philanthropist known as Tony Stark/Iron Man. Starting off small and spending half of a movie in a cave while he creates his first suit, this film really does feel like it's own thing and that it is not building to anything bigger. Sure, there are some easter eggs for hardcore fans here and there, but truthfully, this was just another origin story like any other.
The villain was not the greatest, as "Iron Man" had to face off essentially against a bigger "Iron Man" suit, but that was not the main focus, as that come much later in the film. This is more of a character study on the mind of Tony Stark and how his life is not all sunshine and rainbows, even though it appears to be. Like many superheroes, there is much more to them than meets the eye. Having Jon Favreau at the helm as director, this film had just the right amount of seriousness and fun. That is what every superhero movie needs in my opinion. Having a loveable leading actor taking on a great character, with witty dialogue, a very fun premise, all while hinting at bigger things to come, there was no way this film could have been hated on.
Known as one of the best films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and one of the best superhero films in general to date, "Iron Man" was always a force to be reckoned with for it's competitors. Making a huge splash in the box office with over 585 million dollars at the worldwide (which was fantastic at the time for this type of film), it was apparent that Marvel Studios would be around for many years to come, and as we all know, they have been, and it has been some of the best times at the movies every year. The character of "Iron Man" is one of the best in Marvel's wheelhouse.
What this film did most cleverly was hint at new characters in the future, without getting the hopes too high. When the character of James Rhodes (Tony's best friend) looks at a previous instalment of Tony's suit and mutters the words, "next time baby," it is just a subtle hint at the character of War Machine to come in the future. Played very well by Terrence Howard and later portrayed even better by Don Cheadle in my opinion, this one side character you will come to love and welcome onto the screen in each scene he is called upon.
The moment Marvel fans obviously geeked out about after the credits rolled, was the first appearance by Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Say what you will about his quotable and witty portrayal as the character, but I really enjoy his performance as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. He shows up in Tony Stark's house to solely let the audience know that there will be some world building happening and that this is only the beginning. This worked very well, as audiences have been in for the ride ever since.
To conclude, I will say again that this film easily one of the best in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe to date, and one of my favourite superhero films of all time. Having everything that a live action superhero film needs, "Iron Man" is a brilliant film. If you have not yet viewed this film (which would shock me), I highly recommend checking it out, and following through with every film in chronological order as well. Great start to a fantastical universe to come.
Review By: KJ Proulx