Iron Man: New Marvel Universe
– A Hero Corner Catch-Up Review by David 2

In 2008, Marvel Comics took a huge risk that would pay off big-time.  Rather than continuing to sell the movie rights of their characters to big movie studios and then hoping those big studios would do them justice, Marvel decided to create their own movie studio and launch their own major motion pictures of their in-house heroes… or, those that they still retained the full rights to.

The problem for them was that all of their really big characters were sold out to the other studios.  20th Century Fox had the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, and all of their characters including Wolverine, Sony had Spider-Man, and Columbia had Ghost-Rider, which, at that time, just released their first movie.

But Marvel still had the Avengers, including The Hulk, which they got from Universal Pictures after they screwed up with the 2003 Ang Lee flop.  So the Mighty Marvel launched an ambitious plan.  They weren’t going to just do their own superhero movie.  They were going to do a whole string of them, leading up to the big crescendo…. “The Avengers”.

The first movie in this grand plan was “Iron Man”, launched in 2008 by Marvel Studio and starring Robert Downey Jr, Terrance Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jeff Bridges and directed (and co-starred) by Jon Favreau.  Oh, and Iron Man creator Stan Lee makes one of his famed cameos.

The story is a modernized version of the original story in the 1960’s.  Spoiled billionaire Tony Stark (Downey), the orphaned son of a weapons manufacturer, is kidnapped in the Middle East by terrorists.  He is injured but is saved by one of the doctors also held hostage by the terrorists.  He sees the horrors of his weapons, and he decides he needs to do something to stop it.  He uses parts of his weapons to create a device that keeps the unique shrapnel inside him from killing him, and then builds a suit of armor to force his way out of his cell and away to freedom.

Returning to civilization, he immediately suspends all weapons projects and focuses all of his efforts into a new project, which is to perfect the “Iron Man” armor that he originally used to liberate himself from the terrorists.  But he keeps all of this a secret, which confuses everyone, including his assistant, Pepper Potts (Paltrow), his best friend and Air Force officer (Howard), and his business partner, Obediah Stane (Bridges).  His secret project, though, also reveals the truth behind his abduction, and the real villain of the story is soon exposed.

I’d go further into this, but I’ll leave the rest for you to figure out if you haven’t seen it already.  If you haven’t, though, I strongly suggest that you wait until the whole movie is finished, because this is the movie that started off the trend of having post-credit scenes that you really do not want to miss.

In terms of movies, this was one of the best for Marvel and still so.  The casting was almost perfect, with Robert Downey Jr. being the perfect one to lead the franchise as Tony Stark.  While some people complained that Gwenyth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts was too much of a “useless” character, her role in the whole dynamic was pretty much realistic.  This movie was about Tony Stark and about Iron Man, and to that end it did exceedingly well.

And it’s the after-credit scene that let us know that this was just the beginning…

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