Introducing my Marvel movie marathon quest. The first film up in the Marvel movie marathon: Iron Man.
Despite really enjoying the Marvel movies and seeing most of the ones in the past 5 or 6 years, I have some gaps in my viewing history that needed to be filled. And why just watch the movies I hadn’t seen when I could go back and watch every single one? Especially since my memory of many of the films is a bit fuzzy, and with all the new stuff coming out it seems more important than ever to stay up to date.
Luckily I’m not tackling this brave venture alone, as I have a companion who is much better versed in all things MCU joining me for this adventure. Which is very handy considering how many questions I have, the amount of random comments I want to make, and jokes I wish to crack (and generally I prefer having someone to at least pretend to laugh at them, though there’s always Twitter).
And bonus for my blog readers – since I’m watching all of these films with my new Marvel correspondent (he doesn’t know he has this title yet), you actually get two different perspectives on the movies. Tony (not Stark) has seen all of the films multiples times and knows a lot of the behind the scenes info and comic book origins. I, up until this point, have been a casual Marvel fan and have seen most of the movies once, though some of the early ones not at all.
I know some people suggest doing a Marvel movie marathon in chronological or timeline order (the order the events in the movie take place), but we both decided it would be better to do it in release order. Which means we start with…
Release date: May 2, 2008
MCU phase: Phase One
Run time: 126 minutes
Box office: $585.8 million
Rotten tomatoes audience score: 91%
“A billionaire industrialist and genius inventor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), is conducting weapons tests overseas, but terrorists kidnap him to force him to build a devastating weapon. Instead, he builds an armored suit and upends his captors. Returning to America, Stark refines the suit and uses it to combat crime and terrorism.”
Becky’s knowledge prior to watching: I had seen Iron Man once before but my memory of it was extremely fuzzy. I don’t even know if I watched the whole thing through or just caught bits and pieces before. I know I’d seen the Avengers first and then went back and watched this one at some point. I knew the basic story but none of the details, so in many ways it was like I was watching this movie for the first time.
The Hero: Iron Man
Anyone who has watched a movie with me knows it’s no secret that I am not a fan of Tony Stark. Seeing his backstory again was certainly interesting, but I still wouldn’t necessarily say I find him a sympathetic character at this point. He’s very ballsy, though I do appreciate that he’s able to use that trait in a positive way sometimes. He had no problem just saying what he thought was right even when it might destroy his entire company (not to mention potentially tons of lives of his employees?). Yet he’s still continually pushing too much and thinks he’s too good at everything.
Even though we do see some progress and character development here, and he tries to change his ways a little, he’s still ultimately hindered by his ego. Given what he went through he must have some serious PTSD (yes, I’ve heard we see some of that later but I haven’t gotten to that movie yet!), but it’s not really addressed other than making it seem like the experience opened his eyes.
The villain: Obadiah Stane
After watching all 6 films in phase one over the course of one weekend, I have to say the villain here doesn’t stand out too much at all. I had to think for a moment to even remember who it is in this film! Obadiah Stane is kind of the obvious villain even from the beginning. He also doesn’t have any interesting motivation for being the villain here other than “money” and “power.” At least Marvel gets better at this. And of course he has to put on his own Iron Man suit so we can have a classic “good Iron Man vs. bad Iron Man” scene.
The romance: Pepper Potts
First of all, I really like Gwyneth Paltrow and I think she’s very talented. However, the inclusion of her character and the way she was treated in this film really rubbed me the wrong way. It is possible that I am “overly sensitive to this sort of thing. However – I think they are going for the “cute always bickering couple who finally realizes their feelings for each other” vibe. And portraying that sort of relationship in this way can be really dangerous. The whole boss/employee dynamic made me a bit uncomfortable. Tony admits he doesn’t really have anyone else in his life. Pepper feels the same way… but is that because she’s always working and he’s the only person who is even present in her life at all? She goes out on her birthday and that’s kinda a big deal so how often does she see other people? Knowing that she’s around Tony all the time and falls for him despite the fact that he does not treat her well actually felt a little Stockholm Syndrome to me.
I know some might think this is extreme. But as a female this sort of thing matters. As a woman who has had past relationships where I felt treated like that and it was not healthy at all, I have a hard time being on board.
Overall I found the story engaging and interesting. It definitely held my interest enough (more than I thought it would given that I’m not a huge fan of Tony Stark!). Of course there is a lot of action and excitement and cool superhero stuff happening. But I also really enjoyed a lot of the other storylines and interactions Tony had with other characters. His relationship with Rhodes and the military in general, for one, and definitely his whole time in Afghanistan.
One theme in the plot that really stood out to me was Tony taking a stand against his own company after seeing the damage that his weapons can do. Once he sees the truth, to him, it’s an easy decision. But this is actually a complicated situation that is very, very real and in our world. Tony sees how many innocent people are caught in the crossfire of war, and he wants that to stop. But questions linger – do we need weapons to protect our country? To help those less fortunate in other countries where war rages? And just because we can – should we? I was surprised and impressed to see the first MCU film actually addressed an issue like this.
Tony (not Stark) says:
“It’s a good story first and foremost. It’s not just a set-up for another movie. It’s the first movie I saw in the MCU and my opinion on it hasn’t changed much – it was great then and it’s great now. Definitely in my top 5 of the MCU and top 10 superhero films of all time.”
10 random thoughts I had while watching Iron Man:
- I have never liked Tony Stark and I don’t plan to now.
- Ooh, I do not like the dynamic between him and Pepper, especially knowing what happens in later films. He is not nice to her.
- How does Tony Stark spend so much time at the gym to get those muscles when it seems like his life is mostly bossing people around, doing science-y stuff, and partying?
- Okay I can totally understand wanting a burger after all that but really, Burger King?
- I will begrudgingly give kudos to him here for actually taking a stand and speaking his mind against his own business.
- Is anyone gonna talk to him about that experience he just went through? That was some pretty major and life-changing stuff and he probably has all sorts of PTSD… wouldn’t you be getting this guy into therapy?
- How can robots be so adorable?
- Every conversation between Tony Stark and Pepper Potts makes me comfortable because I think I’m supposed to want them to be a couple but it feels very wrong. I can’t help but have thoughts of Stockholm Syndrome and that she’s falling for him because she has no life outside of work.
- I am SO HAPPY to see Phil Coulson!!
- I’m glad Tony Stark wants to do something good but it’s still hard not to feel like he’s doing it for attention. He’s getting all of this hero glory, but I’m not sure getting into a tech heavy suit and punching a bunch of people is going to solve World Peace?
Becky: 7 out of 10
Tony (not Stark): 8 out of 10
What do you think of my Marvel Movie Marathon Iron Man thoughts?