So here is where it all started…
What is now known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (the basis of the April 2016 theme month) all started with the 2008 Iron Man.
Based on the character from comics, the film is directed by Jon Favreau (previously having directed Swingers, Made, Elf and Zathura) with a script written by a combination of 4 different individuals (and verbal acknowledgement of actor created dialogue as well).
The film follows the adventures of billionaire-genius-playboy Tony Stark, son of weapons magnate Howard Stark who founded Stark Industries – a company built on weapon development and sales.
After his injury and kidnapping by a militia in Afghanistan, Stark builds a weaponised armoured suit rather than the ‘Jericho missile’ that they are demanding from him. He uses the suit to escape his captors and on his return sets about building from the original suit into a more powerful suit that allows him to become Iron Man.
He is welcomed home by Pepper Potts – his long suffering personal assistant (Gwyneth Paltrow), Obadiah Stane – Stark’s second in command at Stark Enterprises (played by Jeff Bridges), and Colonel James Rhodes (Terence Howard) – the military liaison to Stark.
As Stark deals with the consequences of his time in capture (effectively the first act of the film), and the development of the Iron Man suit, he also finds that his plans to move his company away from weaponry are not welcomed by all.
The film operates with a similar sense of character emergence as Batman Begins – we slowly see the lead character shaping his superhero suit and weaponry, piece by piece contracting the suit and learning his trade.
This is a rip roaring action flick with a real sense of wit and charm. The film rests heavily on Downey Jnr’s performance, and he certainly delivers in the role. The casting of him initially was met with some surprise given his age, however his well known real life problems that have played out in the public eye seem to help establish him in the role.
**Additional thoughts that include spoilers**
There’s clearly a sense here even with the first film of the broader plans at work – For example, the regular appearances by Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) who continues to struggle to get meeting time with Stark.
The post credit scene which includes the cameo from Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, which was filmed in near secrecy, is the most famous moment in which the studios gave us a glimpse of the true plans that it had.