“I Am Iron Man” <Insert Guitar Riff Here>

From wallpapers

So I have been challenged by a very good friend of mine to watch all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) before watching Avengers: Infinity War because, well, according to him, for the movie to really impact you the way it should or the way the writers want it to impact you, you have to have seen them all.

I haven’t seen them all. In fact, I’ve only seen a handful of them. So…, I’ve accepted the challenge starting with…

SPOILER ALERT (but isn’t that really a given?)

Dear V,

Iron Man (2008)

This was a rather fun movie. I enjoyed watching Stark go from weapons industrialist to realizing that the weapons his company made were used by the “enemy” and then to destroying the weapons his company created with Iron Man.

Part of this push was his relationship with the man in the cave with him, Yinsen. Being together, day by day, moment by moment, Stark came to care about him. It’s Yinsen that delivers one of the most powerful lines in the movie: “So you’re a man who has everything… and nothing.” The nothing obviously stands for a family. During the escape when Yinsen dies, saying, “This was always the plan,” I think Tony felt that loss stronger than he had ever felt a loss before. Yinsen’s sacrifice was what gave Tony the time he needed to get the suit charged in order to escape. Besides Rhodey, a military official, at this point, Tony’s never really had a friend who didn’t want anything or who would sacrifice themselves for him.

Once he developed the suit while kidnapped in the caves, it was over. He knew what he wanted to do. And you could see it. Everything he did, pushed his character to do more and more to create this invincible powered suit of armor that he could use to help defeat the “bad guys.” (And I’m putting “bad guys” in quotations here because it was quite clear that they weren’t the main antagonist in the film.)

In “The Hero’s Journey,” typically you’ll see the hero refuse the call to action. Not here. Tony embraces it with everything that he is and everything that he has. And nearly everyone in his life is fighting him as, it seems, for the first time, Stark has decided to BE the hero that the city is looking for.

And for a while, it seems that perhaps Tony Stark, loveable, hateable, playboy, philanthropist, has changed into a better version of himself. One that doesn’t care as much about his material and physical needs as he did before.

But, at the end, Tony Stark can’t help but to be himself after all.

“I am Iron Man.”

It didn’t matter what the alibi from S.H.I.E.L.D was. With those four words, we learn that Tony Stark really hasn’t changed all that much. He’s achieved his goal of being able to protect the people he cares about and the rest of the city — which actually extends when you reach Iron Man II, when he’s ensuring peace for the entire world.

The only issue I really had here was that I knew exactly who the real villain was before he revealed himself. This part of the script was familiar because it was one we’ve all seen a thousand times.

Iron Man II

Iron Man II simply extended the first story to exactly what would happen if this movie was to be real. The U.S. government would have its say as there would be senators and representatives on both sides of the aisle, both fighting to keep Tony Stark being Iron Man and wanting the technology for themselves. We’ve seen this type of behavior in other movies and television shows where aliens come to Earth and the U.S. government decides to dissect them rather than to talk to them and find out anything about them.

Garry Shandling plays the senator heading the committee wanting Iron Man’s suit for the technology pretty well. Here we see him as a greedy government bureaucrat… but there was also a part of me that stepped back from the movie and said, “I can completely understand what is going on and why it’s going on.” With a suit like Iron Man’s, the U.S. military would be defenseless.

Which plays directly into the antagonist’s hands.

Here, I think Mickey Rourke’s character, Ivan Venko, symbolizes what would happen if the government got their way and received the Iron Man suit from Stark. But it’s Justin Hammer who does everything in his power to get in Stark’s way, even going so far as to fake Venko’s death in a prison cell and kidnap him to get something that even resembled Stark’s Iron Man technology.

Stark’s best friend, Rhodey, is thrust into the spotlight a bit more in this movie also. It turns out Stark has a secret: using the Iron Man suit is killing him. He keeps an eye on the amount of paladium (used to create the power node in Tony that keeps him alive and the suit powered) in his blood and at one point, seriously thinks he is going to die.

So he sinks back down into the hole he’s used to climbing in at the low times in his life, only this time, he has a suit that could destroy everything he’s got… and then some, to say it mildly.

Rhodey sees this and, in a moment of panic, he steals one of the previous Iron Man suit prototypes and suits up to face Stark, trying to point out what he’s doing. They destroy a part of the house that I’d love to live in and Rhodey realizes Iron Man has no equal and therefore there’s no way to contain him, should he get out of control. And Rhodey takes the suit to the military. He’s uncomfortable with it — it’s his best friend’s technology that he stole, after all — but he gives it to them and lets Hammer completely weaponize the suit. This doesn’t exactly explain the “demonstration” that Hammer was putting on at the Stark Expo… but I can let that slide, I suppose. Maybe he didn’t want anyone else to learn to use it? (It is kinda interesting that anyone could use the suits, regardless of who they were, as long as they could get to them. Meaning ANYONE could have been Iron Man, right?

Other Thoughts

I think they could have built up the sexual tension between Pepper and Tony. In the first movie, it’s all about her buying herself gifts with Tony’s money because she knew Tony wouldn’t remember or do it himself. In the second movie, she’s promoted to CEO of Stark Enterprises (because Tony’s trying to prepare everything for the future without him) and has a huge ton of responsibility on her. I’m not sure what the flirting there was other than her continuing to worry about Tony on top of the other responsibilities she was handling for him anyway.

The kiss on the roof? Well, by that time, it was to be expected. The hero gets the girl in the end.

And, of course, he’s approached by S.H.I.E.L.D. I have to admit, I didn’t get the acronym until Coulson says it at the end.

There was a lot more action in Iron Man II than in Iron Man, but then I think Iron Man was filled with the montages of Tony creating the suit.

One could keep going on forever, couldn’t they? Anyway, the next chapter will be on the movie Thor. Yes, chronological order, I know. :)

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