|Iron Man (film)|
Directed By: Jon Favreau
Distributed By: Paramount Pictures
May 2, 2008 (Worldwide Premiere)
Running Time: 126 Minutes
Country: United States
Budget: $140 Million
Box Office: $585,174,222
Sequel: Iron Man 2
Iron Man is a 2008 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Directed by Jon Favreau, the film stars Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist and master engineer who builds a powered exoskeleton and becomes the technologically advanced superhero, Iron Man. Gwyneth Paltrow portrays his personal assistant Pepper Potts, Terrence Howard portrays military liaison James Rhodes and Jeff Bridges portrays Stark Industries executive Obadiah Stane.
The film was in development since 1990 at Universal Studios, 20th Century Fox, and New Line Cinema, before Marvel Studios reacquired the rights in 2006. Marvel put the project in production as its first self-financed film.
Favreau signed on as director, aiming for a naturalistic feel, and he chose to shoot the film primarily in California, rejecting the East Coast setting of the comics to differentiate the film from numerous superhero films set in New York City-esque environments. During filming, the actors were free to create their own dialogue because pre-production was focused on the story and action. Rubber and metal versions of the armors, created by tan Winston's company, were mixed with computer-generated imagery to create the title character.
Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures, the distributor, planned a $50 million marketing campaign for the film, which was modeled on Paramount's successful promotion of Transformers; Hasbro and Sega sold merchandise, and product placement deals were made with Audi, Burger King, LG and 7-Eleven. Reviews were mostly positive, particularly praising Downey's performance. Downey, Favreau and Paltrow returned in the sequel Iron Man 2, released on May 7, 2010. Downey also made a cameo appearance as Stark in The Incredible Hulk.
Tony Stark gambles at a Las Vegas casino, leaving his deceased father's friend and business partner, Obadiah Stane, to accept a prestigious award for him. As Stark leaves the casino with his entourage, he is approached by reporter Christine Everhart, whom he charms into a one-night stand at his Malibu house. When she awakens the next morning, Stark is gone and she is coldly greeted and helped on the way by Pepper Potts, his personal assistant.
Stark flies off to war-torn Afghanistan with his friend and company military liaison, Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes, for a demonstration of Stark Industries' new weapon, the "Jericho" cluster missile. On the way back, however, his military convoy is attacked. In the firefight, his escort is wiped out and Stark himself is knocked unconscious by one of his own company's bombs.
Waking up in an Afghan cave, he discovers an electromagnet embedded in his chest, placed there by fellow captive Dr. Yinsen. Powered by a car battery, it keeps shrapnel from working its way to his heart and killing him. Stark has been captured by a terrorist group known as the Ten Rings, whose leader, Raza, orders Stark to build a Jericho missile for him.
Instead, during his three months of captivity, he and Yinsen begin secretly building a crude suit of armor, powered by a miniature Arc Reactor invented by Stark's father. Finally, the terrorists grow impatient and give Stark 24 hours to finish. Unfortunately, the terrorists become suspicious of their activities before the suit is fully activated, so Yinsen makes a suicidal attack in a desperate bid to buy time. Once the armor is ready, Stark charges through the caves. Near the entrance, a dying Yinsen tells him not to waste his life. Forever grateful to Yinsen, Stark burns all the munitions the terrorists have accumulated and then flies away, only to crash in the desert. Stark survives, but his suit is in pieces. After being rescued by Rhodes, Stark announces at a press conference that his company will no longer manufacture weapons. Stane tells him shortly thereafter that his decision is being blocked by the board of directors of Stark Industries.
Stark focuses his energies on building a better version of his power suit, while making an improved Arc Reactor for his chest. Potts gives Stark a gift: His first miniature reactor encased in glass and bearing the inscription, "Proof that Tony Stark has a heart". During Stark's first public appearance since his return, he spots Potts wearing a dress and realizes that he has romantic feelings for his assistant. As they are about to share a kiss, Potts interrupts them by asking for a martini.
While ordering the drinks, Stark is accosted by Everhart, who shows him pictures of Stark Industries weapons, including Jericho missiles, recently delivered to insurgents. He realizes that Stane has been supplying both the Americans and their enemies, and attempting to remove Stark from power. Enraged, Stark dons the power suit, flies to Afghanistan and rescues Gulmira, Yinsen's village, from the Ten Rings. While leaving, Stark attracts the attention of the United States Air Force, which dispatches two F-22 Raptors to try to identify the mysterious flying object. Rhodes is consulted about the nature of the object, but cannot offer help, and the fighters are ordered to destroy the target. During the resulting dogfight, Stark has time to reveal to Rhodes that he is the unidentified target. One of the planes is accidentally destroyed when it collides with Stark. The pilot ejects, but his parachute does not deploy, so Stark rescues him before escaping.
Stark sends Potts to hack into the company computer system. She discovers that Stane hired the Ten Rings to kill Stark. The group reneged on the deal upon discovering who the target was, which ultimately seals their fate when Stane has them eliminated later. She also learns Stane has recovered the pieces of the original power suit and reverse-engineered his own version, one much larger and more powerful than Stark's, but his engineers are unable to construct a small enough arc reactor to power the suit. As she leaves Stane's office, she meets Agent Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D., a newly-established counter-terrorism government agency, who has been accosting her and Stark about an interview concerning Stark's escape from the Ten Rings, and takes him along immediately to apprehend Stane.
After she leaves, Stane discovers what she has done. He ambushes Stark in his house, using a Stark Industries device to temporarily paralyze him. While revealing his plan to take over Stark Industries, Stane removes the arc reactor from Stark's chest and leaves him to die. However, Stark gets to Potts' gift and re-installs his original reactor.
Although his original reactor is underpowered for his latest armor, Stark races to rescue Potts, and a battle erupts between him and Stane. Finding himself outmatched, Stark lures Stane atop the Stark Industries building. With no power left, Stark instructs Potts to overload the full-sized reactor in the building. This unleashes a massive electrical surge that knocks Stane unconscious and sends him falling through the ceiling into the reactor itself, incinerating him.
The next day, it is revealed that the press has dubbed Stark's alter ego "Iron Man". Rhodes gives reporters a false explanation of what happened. Before speaking, Stark briefly makes an attempt to establish a romantic relationship with Potts, but is put on hold. During the press conference, Stark starts to tell the cover story given to him by S.H.I.E.L.D., but then instead announces openly that "I am Iron Man".
In a post-credits scene, Stark is visited by S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury who notes that Stark is not "the only superhero in the world" and states he wants to discuss The Avengers Initiative.
- Robert Downey Jr. as Anthony "Tony" Stark / Iron Man:
A billionaire 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 child prodigy, having built a circuit board at four years old and an engine at six, as well as graduating from MIT summa cum laude 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, 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."
- Downey had an office next to Favreau during pre-production, which allowed him greater involvement in the screenwriting process. He brought a deeper sense of humor to the film not present in previous drafts of the script. He explained, "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 benefitted 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 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. 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 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 the main antagonist. Bridges read the comics as a boy and liked Favreau's modern, realistic approach. He shaved his hair and grew a gray beard for the role, which was something he had wanted to do for some time. 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". The character was called Iron Monger in the comics when he used his armor, but the codename is only referenced in the film when Stane describes himself and Stark as "ironmongers".
- Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia "Pepper" Potts: Stark's personal secretary 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 Dr. Ho Yinsen: Stark's fellow captive. In the comics, Yinsen is Chinese and a 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 J.A.R.V.I.S.: 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. Bettany did the part as a favor to Favreau (having worked with him on Wimbledon) and claimed he did not know what film he was recording the lines for during his two-hour recording session
- Samuel L. Jackson appears as S.H.I.E.L.D. 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. Audioslave and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who provides additional guitar music for the film, has a brief cameo as a guard. Jim Cramer, star of CNBC's Mad Money appeared as himself, commenting on the investment opportunities ("Sell, Sell, Sell") of Stark Industries. Rapper Ghostface Killah cameoed in a scene where Stark briefly stays in Dubai while returning to Afghanistan, but it was cut from the theatrical release for pacing reasons.
In April 1990, Universal Studios bought the rights to develop Iron Man for the big screen. Stuart Gordon was to direct Universal's low-budget film. By February 1996, 20th Century Fox acquired the rights from Universal. In January 1997, actor Nicolas Cage expressed interest in being cast for the lead role, and in September 1998, actor Tom Cruise had expressed interest in producing as well as starring in the film debut of Iron Man.
Jeff Vintar and Iron Man co-creator Stan Lee co-wrote a story which Vintar adapted into a screenplay. It created a new science-fiction origin for the character, included several inventive suspense sequences, and showcased a villain who was a giant head in a floating chair, named MODOK. Although Lee and Vintar's screenplay was credited by Tom Rothman, President of Production at Fox, with being the screenplay that finally made him understand the character, Jeffrey Caine (GoldenEye) was hired to rewrite Vintar and Lee's script.
Director Quentin Tarantino was approached in October 1999 to write and direct Iron Man. With no deal made, Fox eventually sold the rights to New Line Cinema the following December, reasoning that although the Vintar/Lee script was strong, the studio had too many Marvel superheroes in development, and "we can't make them all."
By July 2000, the film was being written for New Line by Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, and Tim McCanlies. McCanlies's script used the idea of a Nick Fury cameo to set up his own film. New Line entered talks with Joss Whedon, a fan of the character Iron Man, in June 2001 for the possibility of the director taking the helm. In December 2002, McCanlies had turned in a completed script.
In December 2004, the studio attached director Nick Cassavetes to the project for a target 2006 release. After two years of unsuccessful development, and the deal with Cassavetes falling through, New Line Cinema returned the film rights to Marvel. Screenplay drafts had been written by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar and David Hayter, but they were not retained.
New Line's script pitted Iron Man against his father Howard Stark, who becomes War Machine In November 2005, Marvel Studios worked to start development from scratch, and announced it as their first independent feature, as Iron Man was their only major character not depicted in live action. According to associate producer Jeremy Latcham, "we went after about 30 writers and they all passed", saying they were uninterested in the project due to both the relative obscurity of Iron Man and being a production solely by Marvel. Even the rewrites when the film had a script lead to many refusals.
Len Wiseman had been in negotiations to direct, before Jon Favreau was hired as in April 2006, with Arthur Marcum and Matt Holloway writing the script. Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby worked separately, with Favreau compiling both team's scripts, and the script received a polish by John August. Comic book staff Mark Millar, Brian Michael Bendis, Joe Quesada, Tom Brevoort, Axel Alonso, and Ralph Macchio were also called upon by Favreau to give advice on the script.
Favreau had wanted to work with Marvel producer Avi Arad on another film after the Daredevil adaptation. Favreau celebrated getting the job by going on a diet, and lost seventy pounds. The director found the opportunity to create a politically ambitious "ultimate spy movie" in Iron Man, citing inspiration from Tom Clancy, James Bond, and RoboCop. Favreau also described his approach as similar to an independent film, "If Robert Altman had directed Superman", and also cited Batman Begins as an inspiration. He wanted to make Iron Man a story of an adult man literally reinventing himself after discovering the world is far more complex than he originally believed. Favreau changed the Vietnam War origin of the character to Afghanistan, as he did not want to do a period piece.
Choosing a villain was difficult, because Favreau felt Iron Man's archnemesis, the Mandarin, would not feel realistic, especially after Mark Millar gave his opinion on the script. He felt only in a sequel, with an altered tone, would the fantasy of the Mandarin's rings be appropriate.
The decision to push him into the background is comparable to Sauron in The Lord of the Rings, or Palpatine in Star Wars. Favreau also wanted Iron Man to face a giant enemy. The switch from Mandarin to Obadiah Stane was done after Bridges was cast. Stane had originally been intended to become a villain in the sequel. The Crimson Dynamo was also a villain in early drafts in the script. Favreau felt it was important to include intentional inside references for fans of the comics, such as giving the two fighter jets that attack Iron Man the call signs of "Whiplash 1" and "Whiplash 2," a reference to the comic book villain Whiplash, and including Captain America's shield in Stark's workshop.
The post-closing-credits sequence that introduces Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury was written by comics writer Brian Michael Bendis. Favreau, director of the Iron Man films, describes in his article how Elon Musk (who is the founder of SpaceX and Tesla) was the inspiration for Favreau's film depiction of genius billionaire Tony Stark.
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- Main Article: Iron Man (Soundtrack)
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.
The premiere was held at the Greater Union theater at George Street, Sydney, on April 14, 2008.
Marvel and Paramount modeled their marketing campaign for Iron Man on that of Transformers. Sega released a video game based on the film, which included other iterations of the character. A 30-second spot for the film aired during a Super Bowl XLII-break. 6,400 7-Eleven-stores in the United States helped promote the film, and LG Group also made a deal with Paramount. Hasbro created figures of armors from the film, as well as Titanium Man (who appears in the video game) and the Hulkbuster Armor Mark II armor from the World War Hulk comics.
Worldwide, Burger King and Audi promoted the film. Jon Favreau was set to direct a commercial for the fast-food chain, as Michael Bay did for Transformers. In the film, Tony Stark drives an Audi R8, and also has an "American cheeseburger" from Burger King after his rescue from Afghanistan, as part of the studio's product placement deal with the respective companies. Three other vehicles, the Audi S6 sedan, Audi S5 sports coupe and the Audi Q7 SUV, also appear in the film. Audi created a tie-in website, as General Motors did for Transformers. Oracle Corporation also promoted the film on its site. Estimates for the cost of marketing Iron Man ranged from US$50 to $75 million.
Iron Man received highly positive reviews from film critics. On May 1, 2008, the film was identified as the "best-reviewed film of the year so far" by Jen Yamato of review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, with the site reporting that 93% of critics had given the film positive reviews, based upon 218 reviews and this rating has held its place as of November 2008. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 79, based on 38 reviews.
Among the major trade journals, Todd McCarthy in Variety called the film an "expansively entertaining special effects extravaganza" with "fresh energy and stylistic polish", while Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter praised the film while nonetheless finding "disappointment in a climatic battle between different Iron Man prototypes [...] how did Tony's nemesis learn how to use the suit?" In one of the first major-daily newspaper reviews, Frank Lovece of Newsday lauded the film's "emotional truth [...] pitch-perfect casting and plausibly rendered super-science" that made it "faithful to the source material while updating it – and recognizing what's made that material so enduring isn't just the high-tech cool of a man in a metal suit, but the human condition that got him there". A.O. Scott of the New York Times called the film "an unusually good superhero picture. Or at least — since it certainly has its problems — a superhero movie that's good in unusual ways."
Among the specialty press, Garth Franklin of Dark Horizons commended the "impressive sets and mechanics that combine smoothly with relatively seamless CG", and said, "Robert Downey Jr., along with director Jon Favreau [...] help this rise above formula. The result is something that, whilst hardly original or groundbreaking, is nevertheless refreshing in its earnestness to avoid dark dramatic stylings in favor of an easy-going, crowd-pleasing action movie with a sprinkle of anti-war and redemption themes". IGN's Todd Gilchrist recognized Downey as "the best thing" in a film that "functions on autopilot, providing requisite story developments and character details to fill in this default 'origin story' while the actors successfully breathe life into their otherwise conventional roles".
Among major metropolitan weeklies, David Edelstein of New York magazine called the film "a shapely piece of mythmaking [...] Favreau doesn't go in for stylized comic-book frames, at least in the first half. He gets real with it — you'd think you were watching a military thriller", while conversely, David Denby of The New Yorker put forth a negative review, claiming "a slightly depressed, going-through-the-motions feel to the entire show Gwyneth Paltrow, widening her eyes and palpitating, can't do much with an antique role as Stark's girl Friday, who loves him but can't say so; Terrence Howard, playing a military man who chases around after Stark, looks dispirited and taken for granted".
Roger Ebert and Richard Corliss named Iron Man as among their favorite films of 2008.
In its opening weekend, Iron Man grossed $98,618,668 in 4,105 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking number one at the box office, giving it the 11th-biggest opening weekend, ninth widest release in terms of theaters, and the third highest-grossing opening weekend of 2008 behind Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and The Dark Knight.
It had the fourth-biggest opening for a superhero movie. giving it the 12th-best second weekend and the fifth-best for a non-sequel. On June 18, 2008 Iron Man became the first movie of 2008 to pass the $300 million mark for the domestic box office.
As of July 19, Iron Man has grossed $585,133,287 worldwide — $318,412,101 in the United States and Canada and $266,721,186 in other territories.
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on September 30, 2008, in North America. In Europe, the scheduled release date was October 27, 2008. The image on the newspaper Stark reads before he announces he is Iron Man was altered because amateur photographer Ronnie Adams filed a lawsuit against Paramount and Marvel using his on-location spy photo.
- There are no current notes available on this topic, as of the moment.
- They originally planned for Rhodes to crash Tony's R8 and have Iron Monger rip the car in half. However, the car's structure proved too strong for this. Instead, they had parked it next to the bus where Iron Monger throws Tony Stark at.
- The film features many pun lines as references to the characters in the comics.
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External Links & ReferencesEdit
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