It’s the beginning of the end, you guys. At least, for this particular chapter of our cinematic history. And there’s no question that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has made history. When, in the entirety of our human experience, has a string of movies captured the world’s interest so undoubtedly? The Shirley Temple movies were great, but did they have after-credit scenes? I don’t think so.
So, in honour of the decade of movies Marvel and Disney have pumped out for us, and to refresh our memories, and also because I’m an insane person, I’m going to photo-recap each movie that has led us here. You’ll see a recap every Wednesday until the moment we finally find out if Peter Parker took an advil, or if he’s still not feeling so good.
Before we do this, there are things you need to know about me. Confession the first; the only comic books I read were X-Men. When I walked into the movie theatre back in 2008, I had no sweet clue what I was getting into, other than it was action and it had RDJ.
Confession the second – I had Only You on both VHS and DVD, and they BOTH wore out. BOTH OF THEM. Heart and Souls, The Pick-up Artist, Air America, Ally McBeal (don’t judge me)… what I’m saying is, I was already predisposed to love Iron Man, and RDJ can do no wrong (come at me).
Our introduction to Tony Stark was in the back of a humvee in the middle of the desert, drinking a scotch (LOL), and charming the camouflaged pants off some soldiers.
Very quickly, all those lovable soldiers were dead, and Tony was almost blown up by his own weaponry. Then he was kidnapped by the terrorist group Ten Rings. What a way to start a movie!
We then jumped back 36 hours in order to learn more about our intrepid hero. And wouldn’t you know it? He’s a womanizing, irresponsible, genius bag of charm who doesn’t show up to receive You’re-So-Damn-Smart Awards, and uses his personal assistant to kick out sexy reporters whom he made sex with the night before.
Pepper Potts is no-nonsense, witty, and also Gwyneth Paltrow, so… SPARKS!
Filling out Tony’s social circle is his driver, Happy, his disembodied voice of a butler, Jarvis, and his pal/babysitter Rhodey, a colonel in the army.
And of course, Obadiah Stane, the man who took over as CEO of Stark Industries after Tony’s parents died.
Aaaaaaand now we’ve almost caught up to the beginning of the movie, where Tony is in Afghanistan giving a powerpoint presentation on his new weapons.
Then we all know what happened (RIP cute soldiers). After Tony was given his own exposition about the contraption in his chest (which is stopping shrapnel from getting to his heart), he met his hosts.
Turns out Generic Bad Guy # 1 wanted him to build a super-weapon, which Tony and his trusty new sidekick Yinsen thought might not be a great idea. Making weapons for terrorists is bad, kids! So what followed was a fun sciency montage where they used words that humans of average intellect have no hope of understanding, while building a mini-chest-reactor and the first iron man suit.
Ta daaaaa! Tony fought his way the heck out of there, and I will not lie you guys, it was awesome. Yinsen, sadly, (or not sadly, if you ask him) sacrificed himself so that Tony could escape. RIP Yinsen! Say hi to your family for us!
After a fun crash in the desert and a charming bro-union with Fake Rhodey, Tony returned home a bit banged up, but otherwise triumphant. He held a press conference and told the world he’d be shutting down the weapons division of Stark Industries; an announcement which Father Figure of the Year was not pleased with.
They had a chat where Obadiah was all, “weapons are the best, right?” and Tony was like, “… no?” It was very touching and not creepy at all.
After a flirtatious moment with Pepper where she reached her hand into his chest to help replace the mini-reactor that’s keeping him alive, Tony went to Fake Rhodey to tell him the premise of the movie.
Fake Rhodey was NOT on board for whatever Tony was up to, so Tony dove into a montage of building a new suit all by his lonesome.
Meanwhile in the desert, Generic Bad Guy # 2 was digging up the OG suit. Dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn….
Obadiah stopped by to let Tony know that The Board wants to lock him out of decision-making for the company. Has anyone noticed whenever there’s a “Board” in any movie ever, they’re always awful? Whenever anyone says, “The Board thinks…” you KNOW the next words coming out of that character’s mouth are going to be selfish, money-hungry piece of shit sentiments. I wonder if people on Boards feel misrepresented, or if real-life Boards really are this terrible.
I am not proud of how many times I went back to watch this. In real life he would be dead, though, right? Anyway, what followed was yet another funny series of scenes where Tony built the suit and talked to inanimate machines as if they were annoying assistants, and it was charming as hell.
And then he flew!
Later at a fancy-schmancy party where Tony and Pepper were almost sitting in a tree, the sexy reporter revealed to him that his weapons are being sold to generic bad guys! And it was Father Figure of the Year who locked him out of the almighty evil Board.
So off he popped to Afghanistan to save a very sympathetic family (among others) from being brutally and violently murdered. Buuuuuut, because I guess the government isn’t super keen on vigilante tech blowing shit up in other countries, they sent some planes to take our boy down, led by Fake Rhodey.
One of the planes was destroyed and Tony helped the pilot to open his parachute, so the military was like, “naw, he’s alright,” and stopped trying to kill him.
Then we were privy to a quaint little meeting in the desert.
Father Figure of the Year is in league with Generic Bad Guy # 2! Since it was a decade ago when I first saw this movie, I can’t remember if this shocked me or not. I mean, we already knew he was a bit of a dick, right? Did it shock you guys? Can you remember back that far? Remember dial-up? Haha, what a time.
Obadiah was peeved that GBG#2 didn’t immediately murder Tony like they had planned (!), so he killed him with a super sonic wand and stole the remnants of the OG suit.
Since Tony was onto Obadiah, he sent Pepper to the office to copy some super secret files so he could see what in the heck was going on.
Obadiah saw that she downloaded something and followed her, but the ever adorable and charming AGENT FREAKING COULSON was waiting for her in the lobby and walked out with her.
(If you continue with me on this Marvel recap journey, you will come to understand my deep, undying love for Coulson.)
Anyway, Obadiah’s nerds at the company couldn’t recreate the chest-reactor needed to make the suit work, which resulted in the greatest line in the movie, uttered by Jeff Bridges; “Tony Stark was able to build this in a cave!” So good ol’ Father Figure of the Year had to go to the source. He used the super sonic wand on him and stole his heart magnet.
Luckily Pepper had given him his old one as a cute memento of his time in captivity, so he just popped that one in and was good to go.
Meanwhile, Pepper was still with the love of my life (talkin’ bout Coulson) trying to arrest Obadiah (because of course they would take a civilian along), but Obadiah had a comically large suit to fight them off in.
What followed was a fun fight between him and Tony that left me very concerned for this fictional world’s public property. They threw cars, they flew to space, they punched and squeezed each other a bunch. It was all very exciting.
They overloaded the whatsit that made his suit… electrocute him? I don’t know, but it was cool.
Now that the bad guys, both major and generic, had been dealt with, it was time for the happily ever after where he flirted with Pepper, became best friends with the love of my life Agent Coulson, and held a press conference where he announced to the world that he’s Iron Man, because of course he did.
This being the first movie in the MCU, many (including myself) didn’t realize there was something worth staying for after the credits.
“Nick Fury, Director of Shield. I’m here to talk to you about the Avenger Initiative.” And the MCU was born!
Like I said, I didn’t read the comics. I didn’t know what was to come. What I did know when I walked out of the movie theatre a decade ago; I wanted more.
Here’s the thing about the MCU – it brought these characters, who I, and millions of people like me, had a mere passing knowledge of (if that), and put them in a consumable medium we can all enjoy. The world of comic books is DAUNTING. There are so many storylines, authors and universes, it’s tough to know where to start.
So for someone like me, for someone who LOVES superhero stories, but could never navigate her way through the comic book labyrinth, the MCU was a true gift. It allowed me to be guided through this insane, exciting, funny, bonkers world, and let me tell you, it has been a ride.
I’m very pumped to go on this photo-recap journey through the rest of the MCU. It’s going to be bananas.
- The only reason I tolerate such ridiculous facial hair on Iron Man is because it’s RDJ, and as I previously mentioned, he can do no wrong.
- During this re-watch I found myself looking away any time Fake Rhodey spoke, trying to imagine it was Don Cheadle. Is that weird? I know there are rumours that Terrence Howard was played dirty, so that’s probably a mean thing to say, but the HEART WANTS WHAT IT WANTS, OKAY?
- So, Pepper was in the room with the whatsit, and she pushed the button that made it overheat or whatever, then Father Figure of the Year died and fell into it, which made the entire building explode, and Pepper survived because of… um…. *shhhh, brain, it’s a superhero movie, just shhhhh*
- Tony: “I’ll probably be dead in a week.” Yinsen: “Then this is a very important week for you.” You guys, was Yinsen low-key the coolest character in this movie?
- I know these characters are based on comic books, but OBADIAH STANE??? C’mon. No parent with the surname STANE, names their child OBADIAH, unless they’re certain he’ll become a villain. Also, it’s very annoying to type.
- On a scale of 1 to HOW CAN YOU EVEN ASK ME TO QUANTIFY IT, how much do you love Agent Coulson?
- Other than Iron Man, what’s your favourite RDJ role? I can’t choose, but you HAVE TO RIGHT NOW. Is it Only You? Why isn’t it Only You? Have you SEEN Only You? You should probably watch Only You right now. “I am Damon Bradley.”
And that’s that! See you next Wednesday for The Incredible Hulk.