Review: MCU Week: Iron Man

We review the first entry in the MCU universe

April 25 2015

By Tyler Hall


Well, here we are. Finally, a year late, Late Title Card finally reveals their Marvel Cinematic Universe series of reviews. I'm sure we may have even lost some readers over this. Fear not. Yes, this was originally supposed to appear on the site in the run-up to Guardians of the Galaxy last summer. However, after we crunched the numbers on the site we decided it obviously made more sense to do it in preparation for our upcoming review of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. In each installment we will be examining an individual film from the MCU, in order of release. Keep in mind these are reviews done after a great length of time since my first in-theater viewing; these are thoughts on movies I have most likely seen a number of times. Without further ado, let us turn our attention to our first ever glimpse of the MCU. Iron Man was very anticipated when the film debuted in 2008; notably, a couple months before the Dark Knight released.

Iron Man might be the best superhero movie I have ever seen. The first film in the franchise, directed by Jon Favreau, has always been a favorite of mine. Now, everything great about the film seems to resonate even more with me, in part due to the failings of many of the other MCU movies. What Iron Man definitely gets right is the teasing of it's titular character: it takes a large portion of the film's runtime before the audience witnesses an Iron Man suit, even one made of spare parts. This may actually be pretty common today, but back then it was fairly novel to the superhero genre back then. Anyways, the first act is entirely devoted to teaching us about Tony Stark's character and how he may be the best human ever. Robert Downey's portrayal of the billionaire, metal-clad superhero was absolutely perfect, and kicked off a feature that has become a hallmark of Marvel productions, nailing the personification of their lead characters.

The visuals of the film, surprisingly, holds up very well. Time will possibly correct this one day, but to my 2015-adjusted eyes Iron Man still features action about as good as the rest of the Marvel films. Not that I would say it is a particularly beautiful film but I do appreciate slick, shiny superhero movies with glossy lighting. The colors aren't muted either; like they will be in future installments: Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor. However, many of the fight scenes, or metal on metal action, are pretty slow paced and rely more on clever humor than intricate disastergasms. I would also say the fight at the end against Jeff Bridges' character is also a low point for the film. I do believe Jeff Bridges' portrayal of Obediah Stane is incredible, he is nothing like his everyday self/usual on-screen persona. The rest of the cast also measures up strong: Terrance Howard manages to steal some scenes and injects top notch acting into the film, much better than Don Cheadle's turn as Rodie in future installments and Gwyneth Paltrow felt like the perfect Pepper Potts since day one.