Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Terrance Howard
Have I Seen it Before: Oh, so many times. That first time feels like a million years ago. Then there are times when it feels like it was just yesterday. Sorry. I may still be working through some Avengers: Endgame (2019) feelings, as at the time of this writing, I only saw that film for the first time this weekend.
Did I Like It: Of course. The thing that Marvel did—and may have only lucked into—where DC’s larger universe has failed, is that they made a highly watchable first movie.
Some people might say that Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger (Jeff Bridges) is a lackluster villain, and that the third act looks a lot like many of the other superhero films in the decade or so that preceded it. These are all valid concerns, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe proved from its infant days that a weak villain wouldn’t keep these movies down. This film converted verifiably great film actor Robert Downey Jr. to unassailable film star, Robert Downey Jr. Few people can pull off both. In fact, he might be the only one.
It’s also a fairly engaging story about the creative process. I’ve never created a mechanical suit of armor, but I have written a few books and engaged in other creative endeavors, so the process of suitmaking resonates with me. The Mark I is like a first draft. Lurching, awkward, and only if your lucky will it work in fits and starts. The Mark II is a good revision. All of the obvious problems have been fixed, but you only discover all new problems you hadn’t yet considered. By the time the suit is hotrod red and gold in its Mark III iteration, it has finally started to sing, much like later polishes. And yet, still you want to make refinements to your design.
I want to be Tony Stark in my own way. Figuring things out. Always funny regardless of what’s going on. And now? Well, go read my Endgame review. But, as I’ll soon try to make the point in another venue, every story has to end, but there’s always charm in going back to the beginning and revisiting old friends.