Revisiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 01 – Iron Man

Revisiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 01 – Iron Man

Captain America: Civil War is hitting theaters in around a month, and is being touted by Marvel Studios as the kick off for the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase III.

In the ramp up to that event, I figured I’d go back and check out Phase I and Phase II in order (the films only of course!).  If I’m going back and watching these, I might as well write about my experience, right?


I started this project with 2008’s Iron Man, because of course I would.  As the official first film in the now legendary Marvel Cinematic Universe, it had been a few years since I’d seen it, and I was looking forward to checking it out again.

I’m happy to say the film holds up, 100%.  Robert Downey, Jr. is just as excellent now in 2016 as he was back in 2008.  It’s quite interesting to remember how callous he was as a weaponsmith when he first appeared, and how drastically he’s changed since he first drove through the desert in that Humvee.

The Easter Egg tie in of the “10 Rings” organization was a neat connection point, that never really materialized in my opinion.  Sure, the Mandarin appeared (sort of) in Iron Man 3, and may play an important role going forward, but so far, not so much.


Jeff Bridges was spectacular as Obediah Stane, a truly malevolent gun monger who ate up every single scene he was in.  As much credit as the stars of these films get, the supporting cast of almost every one of them was just as impressive, to say nothing of Pepper Potts and John Favreau.  Speaking of supporting characters, it’s amazing just how different Terrance Howard and Don Cheadle are, and how flawlessly Cheadle picks up the mantle in future films.  I greatly prefer his interpretation of James Rhodes to Howard’s.

Iron Man in his Mark III armor in the movie "Iron Man." Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment Present A Marvel Studios Production in Association with Fairview Entertainment A Jon Favreau Film "Iron Man" starring Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Shaun Toub and Gwyneth Paltrow. The film is directed by Jon Favreau from a screenplay by Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway. The producers are Avi Arad and Kevin Feige. The executive producers are Louis D'Esposito, Peter Billingsley, Jon Favreau, Ari Arad, Stan Lee and David Maisel. This film has been rated PG–13 for some intense sequences of sci–fi action and violence and brief suggestive content. © 2008 MVLFFLLC. ® & © 2008 Marvel Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Watching this first MCU film gave me an innocent giddy joy, very reminiscent of reading the actual comics back in the day.  Those times when key characters made their first appearances, and you knew things would never be the same. Stark, Agent Coulson, the small snippet of Nick Fury…they’ve become cultural icons, all of them.  These days, everything is an event, and every new character is presented as the “next great thing” so that joy has been greatly diminished, but I found myself truly enjoying the process of the MCU being formed literally right as I watched.  A spectacular individual film, yet also the keystone to the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Already this little experiment is off to a fantastic start.

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