Iron Man: How It All Began

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Ten years ago, Iron Man set the tone for all Marvel hits to come. Watch our take on what makes Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark such a unique superhero. Support ScreenPrism on Patreon:
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Man there's kind of catchy it's kind of . measuring to them given how huge the . marvel cinematic universe has become you. might forget at times that it all . started with a wisecracking guy named . tony stark and his cool metal suit if . you'd ask me again and i'm not on fire . i'm donating you to a city college today . we're gonna talk about the marvel . formula and that formula comes from iron . man we had no idea this would it would . turn out like this we were just hoping . that people would see that movie . everybody was saying superhero movies . are over director jon favreau even . defined the winning recipe for a marvel . movie when he said quote we ended up . landing a tone with iron man that became . the formula moving forward you want to . mix great casting stay true to the . characters a combined universe that . would allow cross-pollination and having . humor and adherence to canon sometimes . you got a run before you can walk . iron man also kicked off traditions like . marvel's trademark mid and post credits . scenes with an epic cameo by samuel . l. jackson i'm here to talk to you about . the avenger initiative iron man turns 10 . this year and it's clearer than ever how . pivotal the movie was in shaping our . current blockbuster landscape pepper . i've been called many things to tell . jake is not long so what made this film . the golden ticket why was it such a . momentous entry in superhero movie. history. [music]. coolest thing i've ever seen not bad . before i go on if you're new here be . sure to subscribe and click the bell to . get notified about all of our new videos . part of ironman success is that it was . the right film for the right time it was . released in may 2008 just a few months . before another movie that raised the bar . for the superhero genre christopher . nolan's the dark knight the dark knight . became the highest grossing movie of . 2008 with iron man in second place and . there's a clear separation in superhero . movie quality before and after these . films ironman came out at a time when . improving technology and visual effects. made a believable superhero movie . possible in a way it hadn't been before . five years ago you couldn't make a movie . ironman that showed the suit doing . everything i could do in the books it . would have been it just wouldn't look . fake and it was taking out the movie at . the same time avro use cgi in a . relatively sparing tasteful way he also . included a lot of real practical effects . and this magic balance made it so that . the cgi that is in the movie is all the . more convincing of course this is . another thing it has in common with the . dark knight as nolan is famous for. relying on practical effects / cgi . significantly iron man again like the . dark knight was infused with social . commentary it felt like the movie was . saying something about its post 9/11 war . on terror era we all share a certain . common frame of reference in the last . few years and i wanted to really show . the anxiety of the time and set it . against a real backdrop tony is a . weapons developer and he's captured by. an afghani terrorist group who want his. expertise so tony starts to question the . ethics of his business and whether it's . really just war profiteering instead of . serving his country like he's been . telling himself i saw young americans . killed by the very weapons i created to . defend them and protect them . so ironman spoke to its times raising . questions about the morality of military . might arms and the long-standing . after-effects of . global conflict in later movies tony's . moral conundrums get even more. complicated especially in civil war . where his conflict with captain america . represents a debate over the role of . government regulation what if there's . somewhere we need to go and they don't . let us we may not be perfect but the . safest hands are still our own if we . don't do this now it's gonna be done to . us later and we can see iron man's . influence on a more recent hit like. black panther which continues these . kinds of questions for a new decade like . these other superhero movies have gone . for more extreme or surreal villains but . iron man's villains are true to life. types a middle eastern terrorist group . and an aging greedy american businessman . obadiah the to illustrate that there are . villains on both sides of the conflict. obadiah is obviously in the wrong and . conspiring with terrorists to kill tony . to kill him when you were supposed to . you'd still have a face but his . character has nuance because he honestly . believes weapons manufacturing is . essential to protecting the world your . father he helped give us the atomic this. was the first of many mcu movies in . which the villain is a dark mirror of . the protagonist the villain has a lot in . common with the heroic lead but unlike . the hero he uses his abilities for evil. an iron man created the marvel trope of. a superheroes potential to . unintentionally do harm intelligence . suggests that the device is seen in . these photos are in fact attempts at . making manned copies of mr. starks suit . obadiah makes his own iron man suit . based on tony's and he uses it for evil . in later marvel movies we see other . heroes grappling with this question of . whether what they're doing is really . helping or hurting. who's going to avenge my son stark he's . dead and i blame you and this is getting . at the difficulty of doing good in a . complex world where well-intentioned . actions can frequently make things worse . and just add to the chaos . ironman hinged on a superhero who wasn't . already an icon . unlike dc heroes like batman and . superman who have been household names. as far back as we can remember many of . marvel's leaves were more obscure before . their recent silver screen fame ironman . had first appeared in the marvel comics . in the 60s but he wasn't necessarily a . household name casting robert downey jr. as tony stark was a bold move that paid . off what's great for people who aren't . fans as they see robert they bring a set . of expectations to the movie based on . who he is and what his whole history has. been and his level of talent his sense . of humor back in 2008 downey was known . as a very talented actor but he was just . as well known for his hard-partying and . for being kind of a wild card . looking back we can see that downey was . perfect for the role of tony because he . was a celebrity trying to turn his image. around so ironman played on downey's . suave charming bad-boy public persona a . slight correction is not the number one . movie in america the number one movie . worldwide. self-deprecating and added complexity to . that persona hired man also set the bar . for character driven marvel movies the . intrigue comes less from the plot then. from the protagonist himself tony was a . departure from the standard solemn or . serious superhero personality he's a . wise guy i'm just not the hero type . clearly with this laundry list of . character defects all the mistakes i . made largely public fox's deadpool later . played on this sarcastic persona with . great success my hero . tony embodied the playful sense of humor . that later marvel heroes and the mcu . itself is now known for he's everything . a joke to you funny things he'd be far . more fun to meet in real life than a . bruce wayne or a clark kent. yes it's very cool downey actually took . inspiration from elon musk for his . performance electric jet you do then . we'll make it work at the end of the . first film. tony famously breaks with the tradition . of superheroes keeping their identities . secret i am iron man this ending was the . metaphorical mic drop announcing how . different iron man would be from other . superhero franchises which are so often . about wrestling between public and . private identity the movie was saying . tony was such a charismatic hero he . didn't need that default conflict in . order to stay interesting big man in a . suit of armor take that off what are you . genius billionaire playboy. philanthropist and almost all of the . later mcu heroes followed in tony's. footsteps not even trying to keep their . identities a secret. favreau has described iron man as a . story about a man who transforms himself . so tony is essentially a self-made . superhero when did you become an expert . in thermonuclear astrophysics last night . there's something classically american . about this kind of self invention tony . doesn't mutate or develop superhuman. abilities your laboratory experiment . rogers everything special about you . bottle. tony's superpowers are really just . technology that he makes so iron man . emphasizes the hero's intelligence and . ingenuity over brute strength and that's . yet another way we can see the movies . influence on black panther where the . hero's abilities come primarily from. technology and natural sources the other . part of tony's transformation is how. hard he works to better himself there's . a double meaning to the ironman name of . course on one level it refers to tony's . suit but tony is also presented as a . kind of metal man without a heart or . strong emotional bonds so you're a man . who has everything this makes us think . of the tin man from the wizard of oz . [music]. after the attack in afghanistan. tony's left with a literal hole in his . chest symbolizing this emptiness in his . life but as he turns away from his . weapons business and finds his purpose . we see that tony has a heart after all . the arc reactor in his chest symbolizes . this renewed strength and light inside . him on this campus by the third iron man . movie tony has to save the day largely . without his suit so the takeaway is the . tony stark the person is what makes iron . man special not the suit or fancy . gadgets that he has tony evolves from . relying on his suit to realizing that . his true power is himself and the heart . he puts into everything. i just finally know what i have to do . and i know in my heart that it's right . speaking of tony's heart his. relationship with pepper established . marvel's formula for romance their . attraction to each other grows out of . friendship the two don't even kiss in . the first ironman and by the end of the . movie they still aren't officially a . couple so this set a precedent for . relationships and mcu movies developing . slowly and being as much about . friendship and compatibility as physical . chemistry pepper was also the first of. many marvel female love interests who . are smart and can hold their own you . know that i would help you with anything . but i cannot help you if you're gonna . start all of this again but who . unfortunately end up having a pretty . limited supporting role i'm not even . sure what country jane's in her work and. the convergence is made of the world's . foremost astronomer and the company that . pepper runs is the largest tech . conglomerate on earth it's pretty . exciting. a lot of superhero movies are about . learning to be a hero but tony learns . how to be a regular person . despite his charms he starts off as a . bit of a superficial jerk and he has to . figure out how to be decent and do the . right thing so with iron man marvel . started the tradition of making . superhero arcs about universal human . rights of passage we can especially see . how the movie shaped doctor strange . which is about another successful . overconfident man who's forced to . reconsider his values and learn . selflessness. ironman hasn't aged perfectly i don't . want to see this on your myspace page . there's also the issue of how tony . treats women black panther co-writer joe . robert cole has said he believes tony's . behavior early in the iron man franchise. wouldn't fly with audiences today . that's probably why later marvel movies. have added the character away from that . original womanizer persona and more . towards becoming a leader and a father. figure to peter parker i just want to be . like you and i wanted you to be better . but in spite of iron man's small flaws . the movie's laid the groundwork for . everything that came after so as we look . back at iron man a decade later it's . striking that almost every blockbuster . we see today has been shaped by this . movie mr. stark you've become part of a . bigger universe you just don't know it . yet it's debra and susannah and you're . watching screen prism thanks guys so . much for watching we post videos every . saturday and sunday and during the week . so hit that subscribe button and you'll . get access to all of our videos we can't . thank you enough for your support . 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