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Iron Man
Ironmanposter
Theatrical release poster
Film information

Directed by

Jon Favreau

Language

English

Budget

$140 million

Gross Revenue

$585,174,222

Followed by

Iron Man 2

Iron Man is a 2008 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is the first installment to be released in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directed by Jon Favreau, the film stars Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark, an industrialist and master engineer who builds a powered exoskeleton and becomes the technologically advanced superhero Iron Man. Gwyneth Paltrow plays his personal assistant Pepper Potts, Terrence Howard plays military liaison James Rhodes, and Jeff Bridges plays Stark Industries executive Obadiah Stane.

PlotEdit

Playboy and genius Tony Stark, who has inherited the defense contractor Stark Industries from his father, is in Afghanistan with his friend and military liaison, Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes to demonstrate the new "Jericho" missile. Stark is critically wounded in an ambush and imprisoned in a cave by the terrorist group the Ten Rings. An electromagnet grafted into Stark's chest by fellow captive Yinsen keeps the shrapnel that wounded him from reaching his heart and killing him. Ten Rings leader Raza offers places the prisoners into a workshop, promising Stark freedom in exchange for building a Jericho missile for the group, but Tony and Yinsen agree Raza will not keep his word.

Stark and Yinsen secretly build a powerful electric generator called an arc reactor, to power Stark's electromagnet, and then begin to build a suit of armor to escape. The Ten Rings attack the workshop when they discover what Stark is doing. Yinsen sacrifices himself to divert them while Stark's suit powers up. The armored Stark eliminates the terrorists, then returns to the cave to rescue Yinsen. However, Yinsen is mortally wounded; as he dies he implores Stark not to continue wasting his life. An enraged Stark burns the terrorist's munitions and flies away, only to crash in the desert, destroying the suit. After being rescued by Rhodes, Stark returns home and announces that he has suspended production on his company until they can make peaceful technology; thus no more weapons will be made. In his home workshop, Stark builds an improved version of his suit, as well as a more powerful arc reactor for his chest. At the Stark Industries building, Tony works on a larger version of the arc reactor which he believes may be able to supply tremendous amounts of clean energy, but Obadiah Stane, his father's old partner and the company's manager, advises Stark that this may bankrupt Stark Industries and ruin his father's legacy.

At Stark's first public appearance after his return, reporter Christine Everhart informs him that Stark Industries weapons, including the Jericho, were recently delivered to the Ten Rings and are being used to attack Yinsen's home village, Gulmira. Stark also learns that Stane is trying to replace him as head of the company. Enraged, Stark dons his new armor and flies to Afghanistan, where he saves Yinsen's village and delivers a devastating blow to the Ten Rings. While flying home, Stark is shot at by two F-22 Raptor fighter jets. He phones Rhodes and reveals his secret identity in an attempt to end the attack. Meanwhile, the Ten Rings gather the pieces of Stark's prototype suit and meet with Stane, who subdues Raza with a sonic device and has the rest of the group eliminated. He has a new suit reverse engineered from the wreckage. Seeking to find any other weapons delivered to the Ten Rings, Stark sends assistant Virginia "Pepper" Potts to hack into the company computer system from Stane's office. She discovers Stane has been supplying the terrorists and hired the Ten Rings to kill Stark, but the group reneged. Potts later meets with agent Phil Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, a counter-terrorism agency, to inform him of Stane's activities.

Stane's scientists cannot duplicate Stark's arc reactor, so Stane ambushes Stark at home, using his sonic device to paralyze him and take his arc reactor. Left to die, Stark manages to crawl to his lab and plug in his original reactor. Potts and several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents attempt to arrest Stane, but he dons his suit and attacks them. Stark fights Stane, but is overmatched without his new reactor to run his suit at full capacity. Stark lures Stane atop the Stark Industries building and instructs Potts to overload the large arc reactor there. This unleashes a massive electrical surge that knocks Stane unconscious, causing him and his armor to fall into the exploding reactor, killing him.

The next day, the press has dubbed the armored hero "Iron Man". Agent Coulson gives Stark a cover story to explain the events of the night and Stane's death. At a press conference, Stark begins giving the cover story, but then announces that he is Iron Man, prompting the reporters to swarm the stage and ask more questions.

In a post-credits scene, S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury visits Stark at home, and, noting that Iron Man is not "the only superhero in the world", says he wants to discuss the "Avengers Initiative".

CastEdit

  • Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man
    An industrialist, genius inventor, and consummate playboy, he is CEO of Stark Industries, a chief weapons manufacturer for the U.S. military. The son of a Manhattan Project engineer, Howard Stark, he is an engineering prodigy, having built a circuit board at four years old and an engine at six, as well as graduating summa cum laude from Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the age of 17. He takes charge of Stark Industries at the age of 21 from Stane, who had been in control of the company since Howard's death. Favreau had planned to cast a newcomer in the role, but ultimately chose Downey (a fan of the comic)}} because he felt the actor's past made him an appropriate choice for the part. "The best and worst moments of Robert's life have been in the public eye," the director explained. "He had to find an inner balance to overcome obstacles that went far beyond his career. That's Tony Stark. Robert brings a depth that goes beyond a comic book character who is having trouble in high school, or can't get the girl." Favreau also felt Downey could make Stark a "likable asshole", but also depict an authentic emotional journey once he won over the audience. Downey had an office next to Favreau during pre-production, which allowed him greater involvement in the screenwriting process. He explained,

{{bquote|What I usually hate about these [superhero] movies [is] when suddenly the guy that you were digging turns into Dudley Do-Right, and then you're supposed to buy into all his 'Let's go do some good!' That Eliot Ness-in-a-cape-type thing. What was really important to me was to not have him change so much that he's unrecognizable. When someone used to be a schmuck and they're not anymore, hopefully they still have a sense of humor.

To prepare, Downey spent five days a week weight training and practiced martial arts to get into shape, which he said benefited him because "it's hard not to have a personality meltdown [...] after about several hours in that suit. I'm calling up every therapeutic moment I can think of to just get through the day."
Terrence Howard, USAF

Howard preparing for the role by riding an F-16 flight simulator

  • Terrence Howard as Lt. Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes
    A friend of Stark's, and the liaison between Stark Industries and the U.S. Air Force in the department of acquisitions, specifically weapons development. Favreau cast Howard because he felt he could play War Machine in a sequel. Howard prepared for the role by visiting Nellis Air Force Base on March 16, 2007, where he ate with the pilots and observed HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue helicopters and F-22 Raptors. While Rhodes is roguish in the comics after he met Stark, his earlier disciplinarian character forms a dynamic with Stark, and he is unsure whether or not Stark's actions are acceptable. "Rhodey is completely disgusted with the way Tony has lived his life, but at a certain point he realizes that perhaps there is a different way," Howard said. "Whose life is the right way; is it the strict military life, or the life of an independent?" Howard and his father are Iron Man fans, partly because Rhodes was one of the few black superheroes when he was a child. He was a Downey fan since he saw him in Weird Science, and they competed physically on set: "Robert and his competitive ass almost tore my shoulder trying to keep up with him. Because I'm 40 or 50 pounds heavier than him, so I'm in there lifting and I pushed up about 225 pounds [102 kg] and knocked it out 10 times. Robert wanted to go about 235 [106 kg], and he did it. So I'm going to push it up to about 245 [111 kg]. I took him out running and gave him some nice cramps. He couldn't walk after a couple of days."
  • Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane
    Stark's business second-in-command and eventual antagonist. Bridges read the comics as a boy and liked Favreau's modern, realistic approach. He shaved his head and grew a gray beard for the role, which was something he had wanted to do for some time. Bridges googled the Book of Obadiah, and he was surprised to learn retribution is a major theme in that particular book of the Bible, something which Stane represents. Many of Stane's scenes were cut out to focus more on Stark, but the writers felt Bridges's performance allowed the application of "less is more".
  • Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts
    Stark's personal assistant and budding love interest. Paltrow asked Marvel to send her any comics that they would consider relevant to her understanding of the character, who she considered to be very smart, levelheaded, and grounded. She said she liked "the fact that there's a sexuality that's not blatant." Favreau wanted Potts' and Stark's relationship to be reminiscent of a 1940s comedy, something which Paltrow considered to be fun in a sexy, yet innocent way.
  • Shaun Toub as Yinsen
    Stark's fellow captive. In the comics, Yinsen is a Chinese physicist, but in the film, he comes from an Afghan village called Gulmira, which is one of the aspects of the modernization of the Iron Man mythos for the movie.
  • Faran Tahir as Raza
    The leader of the Ten Rings. Tahir is a fan of the comics, and wanted to bring humanity to the henchman. "I tried to find ways to show that although he may be the bad guy, there might be a moment or just a hint of vulnerability at times, where he hasn't made the right calculations or there's a certain amount of doubt. Jon was very receptive to that kind of layering."
  • Paul Bettany voices JARVIS
    Stark's personal Artificial Intelligence computer program, which assists him in the construction and programming of the Iron Man suit. The name of the character is a reference to the comic book character Edwin Jarvis, Stark's butler. In Peter David's novelization of the film, Jarvis is revealed as an acronym for "Just A Rather Very Intelligent System". Bettany did the part as a favor to Favreau (having worked with him on Wimbledon) and said he did not know what film he was recording the lines for during his two-hour recording session.

Clark Gregg appears as Agent Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Samuel L. Jackson appears as the agency's head, Nick Fury, following the credits. Jackson's face was used, with his permission, as the model for that of the version of Nick Fury in Marvel's Ultimate Marvel imprint. Other cameos include Iron Man co-creator Stan Lee (whom Stark mistakes for Hugh Hefner at a party), and director Jon Favreau as Stark's bodyguard and chauffeur, Happy Hogan. Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello, who provides additional guitar music for the film, has a brief cameo as a terrorist guard. Jim Cramer, star of CNBC's Mad Money appears as himself, commenting on the investment opportunities ("Sell, sell, sell") of Stark Industries.Rapper Ghostface Killah had had a cameo in a scene where Stark briefly stays in Dubai while returning to Afghanistan, but it was cut from the theatrical release for pacing reasons. FrontlineTemplate:'s Will Lyman provides the voiceover backstory of Stark in the film's opening award ceremony.

MusicEdit

Composer Ramin Djawadi is an Iron Man fan, and still has issues of the comic from the late 1970s. Through his older brother, Amir, he is also into heavy metal music since the early 1990s. While he normally composes after watching an assembly cut, Djawadi began work after seeing the teaser trailer. Favreau clearly envisioned a focus on "heavy" guitar in the score, and Djawadi composed the music on that instrument before arranging it for orchestra. The composer said Downey's performance inspired the several Iron Man themes (for his different moods), as well as Stark's playboy leitmotif. Djawadi's favorite of the Iron Man themes is the "kickass" because of its "rhythmic pattern that is a hook on its own. Very much like a machine." The other themes are "not so much character based, but rather plot based that carry you through the movie". Guitarist Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, who has a brief cameo in the film as a guard, contributed additional guitar work to the movie's soundtrack.

LinkEdit

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