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Marvel's Iron Man is a 2008 live-action film produced by 20th Century Fox and Marvel Studios, based off of the superhero Iron Man. It takes place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Earth-113599, being the first film of Phase 1. It was released worldwide on May 2nd 2008 to strong critical acclaim and box office success.

Production

In late 2005 it was announced an Iron Man film was being made as part of a shared universe for multiple Marvel superheroes. It was considered a risky property to center a movie around, as Iron Man was considered a B-List superhero. Because of that the movie was followed up by the more popular franchise The Incredible Hulk, to possibly help the movie if it didn't live up to Studio expectations. Despite it's risky nature however it still received a large budget and an A-List cast of stars. Including Robert Downey Jr, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Don Cheadle.

Jon Favreau was hired by Marvel Studios as the director, wanting to work on a superhero movie again after the lackluster Daredevil. Marvel Studios and Avi Arad in particular had desires for the film to be a spy or heist film with The Mandarin as the arch-enemy. Jon Favreau and Kevin Feige, though, were opposed to this idea. Both wanting a more simple, grounded and realistic story for the film. Favreau believing the Mandarin was too fantastical to be introduced so early. He also made the film a lot more based around Tony Stark's inner-struggle of going from a war-mongering businessman to a superhero, thinking that would be more interesting and nuance as well.

Later, Iron Monger was changed to the primary antagonist. With the Mandarin's terrorist organization, the Ten Rings making an appearance in the film as well. Marvel, before the movie created multiple comic book and animated series on Iron Man to try and raise public awareness of the hero. These proved to be successful as test groups actually did respond well to Iron Man as a hero, with the film being released on May 2nd 2008 around the world.

Cast

  • Robert Downey Jr as Anthony "Tony" Stark/Iron Man
  • Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger
  • Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia "Pepper" Potts
  • Jon Favreau as Harold "Happy" Hogan
  • Don Cheadle as James "Rhodey" Rhodes
  • Paul Bettany as J.A.R.V.I.S. (Voice Only)
  • Leslie Bibb as Christine Everhart
  • Shaun Toub as Ho Yinsen
  • Faran Tahir as Raza
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Director Nick Fury (Cameo)

Plot

The film starts off in the Las Vegas, Nevada with an establishing aerial shot of the Stark Expo. Inside, the camera pans over the advanced technology on display throughout the interior. Virginia "Pepper" Potts and Obadiah Stane are waiting behind the curtain, noticing the amount of people in the Expo. Pepper wonders where Tony is and after Obadiah claims he doesn't know guesses assumes that he's running late, as usual, and that they should roll the video in the meantime.

The video plays telling the history of Stark Industries: Founded by Howard Stark, Stark Industries has played a vital part of the Munitions Industry since World War II until Howard's tragic demise. Fortunately, his successor and genius son Tony Stark would soon after take over the company, and with the help and the mentorship of Chairman Obadiah Stane, turned it to what it is now. A multibillion dollar conglomerate partnered with the United States Military detected to protecting America and its interests around the world. After the presentation finishes and the standing ovation, Tony is still nowhere to be found. Pepper tries to call Tony telling him he needs to get down here now, that army generals are waiting. Obadiah tells her to calm down, insisting he'll take of this. He then goes up to the stand and makes jokes about Tony's absence while talking about what it was like raising Tony, saying what a bright young man he's grown up to be.

It then shows Tony in a Casino with his best friend and soldier, James "Rhodey" Rhodes and his driver Harold "Happy" Hogan. Both of them are gambling and having fun when Happy goes up to Tony tells him the Expo started an hour ago and he's expected to be there. Even though Tony insists to do one more round of Black Jack (claiming they'll wait for him, since he's the star) Rhodey says how he needs to be there or else the Military will be on his ass. Tony gives in and lets Happy drive them to the Expo. Once Tony gets there he and Pepper start bickering about being late, while he goes up to the stand and Rhodey sits next to the rest of the Military personnel. Tony then proceeds to introduce his latest inventions, including the Jericho Missile. Which he claims is the latest and greatest bomb that will blow whichever country it is set upon right off the map. After the Stark Expo ends, Pepper says how she's booking his presentation with the Jericho missile the next day. Obadiah Stane and Tony talk about him being late to which Obadiah says he doesn't mind since he knows Tony's "ritual" is different than most. That as long as he keeps his mind sharp and the shareholders happy there's nothing to worry about. Tony thanks him and rhetorically says how he wishes Pepper would be more understanding.

Tony heads back to his limo, where Journalist Christine Everhart is waiting for him and asks for an interview. When Tony reluctantly agrees she starts criticizing him for being a "warmonger" and that his irresponsible, child-like behavior has lead to the deaths of millions. Tony argues with Christine about these claims until she eventually becomes charmed by him and sleeps with Tony at his Malibu mansion. She wakes up the next day to meet Pepper Potts working on getting Tony's flight scheduled and meets his Artificial butler J.A.R.V.I.S. (Just A Rather Very Intelligent System). Tony wakes up too commenting on how she met his butler, and shortly proceeds to kick her out, much to Christine's chagrin.

Act 1

Tony is driven to his Private Jet while talking business and cracking jokes with Obadiah Stane. As Tony is going to get on the plane Stane says that he needs to stay back in the city to run some other projects, but that he would Skype with him there. Tony walks to the plane and is accompanied by Rhodey, who's mad at him for the night before. He says how as a Colonel he can't be late out partying and that he was almost given Latrine duty. Tony tells him to chill out and says they could both use a little relaxing before they get to Afghanistan, insisting that it's going to be a long flight. They party again inside of the plane as Rhodey opens up and gets emotional about how proud he is to be a soldier for the United States, Tony comforts him while also getting one of the lap dancers to dance in front of Rhodey to cheer him up.

After getting settled in Afghanistan, Tony arrives at the Jericho missile testing site where he gives a speech about fear and respect, while also showing the power of the missile on a nearby mountain, impressing the Military personnel and Rhodey. After the presentation is over Tony grabs a glass of Whiskey and says back at the embassy he can get Rhodey one too and they can try and go three days in a row. After Rhodey asks if that would be a record for Tony he says not even close. Stark then gets into his personal convoy and after chatting with the driving soldiers for awhile starts talking to Obadiah via Skype, where he explains that he blew the pants off of the Military generals and shareholders, literally. While Obadiah tells him that's wonderful their connection suddenly starts to go out. The military driver says how that can happen in the boonies but soon they hear an explosion. As they go to investigate the car starts getting shot at, Tony gets out trying to run for his life and sees a missile that says STARK INDUSTRIES written blow up right in front of him.

He is then taken to a cave lair of a Terrorist ground called the Ten Rings. Who leave a video message of Tony Stark's capture for the American Government. After that he is woken up again by a man tinkering with his heart. Scared for a second the man says how if not for the magnet he was building Tony would die. Tony Stark then realizes the missile attack must've launched shrapnel into his heart and thanks the man for saving him. He reveals his name to be Ho Yinsen and says he knows who Tony Stark is. Tony asks why Ho saved him and said because he was hurt, and didn't want him to die from "senseless violence" claiming there's been enough of that. Afterwards Raza, a leader for the Ten Rings, comes in and says how they captured Tony Stark by having Ho Yinsen re-create left over weapon scraps. But since they have the real deal they want both of them to start making weapons for the Ten Rings. Tony Stark and Yinsen agree to get to work and with both of their intelligence create an Arc Reactor that can keep the shrapnel out of Tony's chest. The two also realize with their skills they need to figure out a plan to leave. Tony Stark says how they can make a weapon just like the Ten Rings asked for and use it to escape, but it might be too heavy to carry around and wouldn't offer protection, what he needs to build instead is a suit, one powered by the Arc Reactor. Working for months with Ho Yinsen they build a special Arc Reactor fueled armor that Tony can wear to fight his way out.

After it's completed he puts it on and starts fighting the Ten Rings, who end up throwing Grenades at Tony, hurting Yinsen. After Stark tries to save him, Yinsen admits his whole family was killed by Tony Stark's weapons and that he could do so much good if he used his brilliance to help people instead of harm them, and insists Tony stop wasting his life. He manages to fight his way out of the Ten Rings cave and flies off into the desert, not long before his suit crashes. While wandering around he is found by Rhodey and a Military convoy who take him immediately to safety.

Act 2

After weeks of recovery Tony Stark is returned to the United States where Pepper is relieved to actually see he's still alive. Tony gets into the Limo while Happy welcomes him back home. He insists to get a Cheeseburger and Fries before going back to the Mansion. While at his home, Tony heads inside and talks to J.A.R.V.I.S. while trying to work in the Basement. Pepper tells him that he has a meeting to discuss about the Jericho Missile again in a couple days. To which Tony breaks down and explains what happened with Ho Yinsen and how he doesn't want to create and sell weapons anymore, seeing what it did not only to his heart but to innocent people. She supports him and says how she understands what he's saying and would go along with it if that's what he truly wanted to do. He thanks her and it reminds him, he needs Pepper for a favor. He needs her to switch out his current Arc Reactor for a new one he's been building, after doing that he thanks her, and the two share a moment. The next day at the Stark Industries Headquarters, Tony meets with Obadiah Stane who's happy he's back and says how he has ideas for improvements to the Jericho missile. When Tony Stark goes up to the podium for his speech he, to everyone's shock, announces that he wishes to stop production on the missile, claiming it's too destructive for use in civilian areas and no longer wishes for his company to produce it.

Obadiah Stane ends the meeting early and pulls Tony aside into a room with a large Arc Reactor Generator inside, asking Stark if he's lost his mind. Claiming that the production of the Jericho missile prototype cost millions alone, and backing out would set the company back months at least but he stands by his words and insists they will have to make back that money some other way. Obadiah insists they're Iron Mongers, this is what they do, they make weapons. Tony points out the Arc Reactor Generator they have powering this whole building isn't a weapon. Obadiah thinks about that for a second and then asks if that's what this is all about, he just wants to start working on Arc Reactor technology again, like his father twenty years ago. He heard about the mini-one he built to keep the shrapnel out of his chest, if he made more they could use it to power a multitude of weapons. Tony explains that's not the point, he doesn't want to make Arc Reactor technology into weapons either, he's sick of contributing nothing but chaos to a war-torn region. Obadiah and Tony get in a debate over their work, and how he's letting his the company's legacy down but Tony doesn't want to hear it. They argue about it more before Pepper interrupts them saying they're throwing a party for Tony's return tomorrow night.

At the party, Tony and Pepper chat about his dropping out of doing the Jericho missile and how he wants to do the same for other projects. Pepper responds by explaining that Obadiah is already angry about him not doing Jericho, dropping out of everything else is going to cause a lot more problems but Tony says how even though Stane has been a parental figure to him for years if he won't stand by his decision to stop distributing those weapons, then maybe they're not as close as he thought. Tony then approached Christine Everhart who admires Stark for dropping the use of the Jericho missile, but says how terrorists have gotten ahold of his weapons and are actually terrorizing the Afghan countryside worse than the Military ever did. Rhodey even confirming this by saying that the Marines have had a hard time stopping them because it isn't their citizens.

Later that night, Tony goes back home and in the Basement sees a gift from Pepper, his original Arc Reactor in a container with an engraving on it that claims it to be Proof Tony Stark has a heart Seeing that he starts spending the next couple of weeks building a Mark II suit. Eventually, creating hand and feet repulsers that allow him to levitate off the ground which after many attempts Tony is able to seamlessly make work. He then constructs the rest of the Mark II suit which he uses to fly out of his driveway and all over Los Angeles. Having fun and admiring that the design seems to completely work. Tony then flies right back into his Malibu Mansion and lands proudly stating "Yeah, I can fly." Later, while Dum-Es are trying to take the suit off Pepper comes in and catches him half drawn into the suit. When she questions him about it, he tells her that he wants to help people around the world and stop those terrorists like he did to escape before, try and stop the monsters he might've created. He shows her the entire suit, and she comments that it could use some color. Which he actually thinks isn't a bad idea.

Obadiah Stane is riding a segway through the Stark Industries headquarters until getting phone call, he picks up only for the person on the other line to revealed to be a mercenary in the Afghan desert who confirms that he found the armor that Tony Stark used to escape captivity. Obadiah instructs them to bring all of it to the United States, claiming if Tony won't share his secrets for the Arc Reactor, he'll "pry them out himself". Meanwhile at the Malibu Mansion, Tony tells J.A.R.V.I.S. to create a new Mark III suit for him. This time have it gold, with fire red paint on the head, torso, gloves and shins. Tony then starts watching a WHiH news report of the Ten Rings terrorizing the countryside in Afghanistan. He then personally engineers offensive plasma blasters which he tests showing off just how destructive they can be and afterwards puts on the rest of the Mark III suit.

Meanwhile, Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts later at Stark Industries Headquarters talk about Tony, Happy claiming he's worried about him. How he's not partying like he used to, stopped all of his weapon's development projects out of nowhere. Happy even goes on theorize that maybe Tony's depressed. Pepper at first is neglectful of his observations but he eventually asks her what she thinks. Pepper just tells him Tony seems normal to her and leaves. Happy then goes into another room where he tells someone he couldn't get anything out of her, and is confused as to why Tony is acting so strange. It is revealed to be Obadiah Stane who says they need to find out and "help" him.

In Afghanistan, the Ten Rings lead by Raza are brutalizing a village of innocent people until Iron Man himself arrives and confronts the terrorists, using his built in weapons to stop them. He then leaves and flies off, proceeding to destroy other Ten Rings groups across the country. While he's flying two drones from the United States military start following Tony Stark around even when he tries to move sporadically or go faster. Not knowing what to do he calls Rhodey and asks him to pull some favors and get them off his tail. Rhodey puts the pieces together that Tony Stark is in the suit, and is angry with him but still manages to get the drones to stand down. Stane is shown watches on WHiH report of the "Iron Man" who saved the citizens of Afghanistan. Tony is then seen going back to the United States and is content after what he believed to be a successful victory. He lands only and changes out of his suit only to see Obadiah and Hogan sitting inside waiting for Tony.

When Tony asks how Obadiah got in Happy says he let him in because neither of them know what's going on anymore. Obadiah insisting he just saw a news report of an Iron Man using Arc Reactor technology to stop Terrorism in the Middle East, but no one knows how to even make Arc Reactors except for him, Stane asking if knows anything about this. Tony confesses that he's Iron Man, how Pepper and Rhodey know too. He's been creating suits connected to his Arc Reactor to bring justice in the countries Stark Industries used its weapons on before. While Happy thinks it's great he's Iron Man Obadiah is furious. He says how Tony could've let the company use the Iron Man suit or the Arc Reactor technology and done the same thing while making billions. That he's driving this company into the ground, the same thing he spent forty years of his life trying to make grow. Tony explains how Stark Industries wouldn't use the suits to help the world, they would just use it to do dirty work for the highest bidder. But Obadiah dismisses his claims saying that he doesn't care about those collateral damage, and neither should Tony. Happy tries to calm them both down, but Obadiah pushes Hogan aside telling him to shut up.

Tony says that he can't see anything past money and that Stark Industries deserves better than him. Obadiah says he ruined everything his father stood for and didn't deserve the name Stark! Stane then walks out in a huff while Tony says to Happy "Nice going" and proceeds to kick him out.

Act 3

Days later, James Rhodes is giving a tour of the Edwards Air Force Base until getting a phone call, he answers it and Tony is revealed to be on the other line. He says how the last couple days have been really stressful and that he wants to meet up with Rhodey tonight so they can have some drinks and blow off steam. Rhodey says how it's inconvenient to call in the middle of a tour, but nonetheless agree to do it then, wanting in particular to talk about him being Iron Man. It shows Tony back in Malibu as he gets into his Limo with Happy Hogan driving. Happy apologizes to Tony and thanks him for letting him keep being his chauffeur. He says that he agrees with Tony that using his mind and technology for to save lives is really cool, and that Obadiah is only thinking about his wallet, not seeing the bigger picture.

Happy then tells realizes Tony is still giving him the silent treatment and tells him a story about his parents, who wanted him to do a prestigious job that could make him wealthy, like chauffeuring a Billionaire. But he wanted to be a boxer, he loves the sport. But he let his parents get to him and he said even though he loves driving Tony around he still wonders what could've been. He thinks that if Tony listens to Obadiah and stops doing good with himself, he may feel way worse than him. Tony says nothing and gets out at the Stark Industries Headquarters. After that Pepper comes into the car and tells Happy she's suspicious of Obadiah. That he's getting obsessed with Arc Reactor technology and has been doing a lot of secretive projects behind the scenes. Pepper further explaining every time she asks about it Stane refuses to say anything. Happy agrees claiming he's been thinking the very same thing and they both walk inside to investigate his office.

Meanwhile, Obadiah Stane is thanking the board for meeting with him. After asking what it is about he says that he thinks it's time for Tony Stark to step down as CEO since he's not been using his genius to help the company's main export anymore and refuses to share the secrets of Arc Reactor technology. The board though says how their profits haven't gone down that much, though Stane insists it's still too early to tell but they will eventually. The board still isn't convinced claiming if they haven't actually gone down yet there's no reason to vote out Stark. He's the heir of the founder and incredibly gifted in his own right. They even compared it to other companies, claiming it would be like Apple firing Steve Jobs all over again. Obadiah tries to argue but no one will listen, the meeting ends with him not getting his way, something that angers greatly.

Happy and Pepper are then shown going into his office, while Happy is guarding the door Pepper goes on the computer and looks through his files. Successfully guessing his password she sees he's trying to build his own Iron Man suit and replicate the Arc Reactor technology. Happy warns her he's coming and "looks pissed". She quickly closes everything out and he still catches them in his office. Pepper's excuse, She was looking for a pencil.

They then drive to Tony's house where he's sitting in the Basement looking at his Iron Man armor. Pepper comes down and tells Tony everything, saying how Obadiah is trying to replicate his own version of the Iron Man armor as well as the Arc Reactor, and looks to be making a huge amount of progress. Tony is in denial though and says how Obadiah wouldn't betray him like that, they're just angry at each other, it will pass, it always does. But Pepper insists he needs to look at the evidence but Tony doesn't listen to her and she eventually gives up frustrated with his stubbornness. At the Stark Industries Headquarters, Obadiah knows something is up and goes down to the Arc Reactor and asks the scientist how research is going. They say the suit is all but complete, however they can't figure out how to replicate the Arc Reactor. Stane points out the technology already exists, they just need to miniaturize it. The Scientist still claims it's not possible and Obadiah lashes out insisting Tony Stark was able to build this in a cave, with a box of scraps. The scientist bluntly responding that he's not Tony Stark.

Later that night, Obadiah knocks on Tony's door. He says he's going out to meet Rhodey soon but Stane says that he wants to talk to first, which Tony agrees to. They sit down and Obadiah tells him a story about how after Howard, it was up to him to look after the company, and by extension Tony. He goes on about how he put up with his childishness, his bad habits, his rude behavior because he was at the end of the day a genius keeping the company going and the money coming in, like his father. Tony says how he plans to change his attitude now, and brings up how Obadiah resisting it has been rubbing people the wrong way lately. Since Pepper came in saying he's trying to create his own Iron Man suit. Obadiah then confirms to Tony that he actually is, and Pepper was right about everything.

He then uses a sonic device to paralyze Tony Stark before he can react. Saying he spent his whole life with this company. Put his blood, sweat and tears into it. That he wasn't about to let some "has been, weak willed, shadow of his father" take all that away from him, just because one day he decided to grow a conscious. Stane then takes the Arc Reactor from Tony's chest and leaves him there to die. Claiming he'll send someone for his corpse. At the bar, Rhodey is waiting for Tony to arrive and calls Pepper. He asks where Tony is and she says he should be at the bar with him. But Rhodey claims that Tony never showed at all. Pepper points out she hasn't spoken to him since she took off her shift early. That she and Happy went through Obadiah Stane's computer and saw he's trying to build an Arc Reactor and use the pieces of Tony's old suit from Afghanistan to make his own. Rhodey stops her there, saying how Tony's suit fell apart on foreign soil, it doesn't belong to the United States and that him taking it without registration is international theft.

He asks her if she knew where Obadiah is and Pepper says he usually works late at the Stark Industries Headquarters. Rhodey tells her to call the police and that he's going to check on Tony. At the Malibu Mansion, Tony is struggling on the ground as the Shrapnel gets into his heart. But then gets the idea to break open Proof Tony Stark has a Heart case and use his old Arc Reactor to save himself. As he gets up Tony hears someone coming thinking it's Obadiah's men, but it turns out to just be Rhodey, who heads downstairs and Tony explains to him what happened. Rhodes assures Tony that Pepper and Happy are leading Stane to the police now but that only causes him to panic. Saying how if Obadiah completes his suit with the Arc Reactor he's going to be able to hurt a lot of people, that he needed to stop him. Tony quickly puts on the Iron Man suit, which Rhodey seems very impressed with. He then flies off to confront Obadiah and Rhodey looks at the Mark II suit and simply says "Next time."

Pepper and Happy are then shown going through the Stark Industries Headquarters with the police. Obadiah notices them and says how they're not going to stop him! He then quickly gets the Arc Reactor into his suit and powers it up, going after the Police, Happy and Pepper. While he chases them outside Iron Man fights him off. Iron Monger tells Tony by trying to create peace he made the greatest weapon the world has known and the two end up battling. It's a tough fight and the Iron Monger hurts Tony considerably, but eventually the fight leads to the Arc Reactor generator. Tony with enough force and power manages to kick Obadiah into the Generator causing it overload and explode, which kills Iron Monger and wounds Iron Man.

After recovering, Tony is sitting with Pepper thanking her for all the help and she insists like always, it's her pleasure. Right before they're about to kiss Happy comes in and says how it's time for Tony's speech. Before he goes to prepare he shows Happy something. He had a boxing ring installed into the Mansion and he said he could work out there whenever he wanted, much to his delight. While he's preparing Rhodey starts going over with Tony the elaborate story they both came up with about Iron Man being his bodyguard to keep his secret identity. While Tony is giving the speech he first announces officially that Stark Industries will be making Electrics and Technology from now on, not weapons. When Everhart asks about Iron Man Tony Stark for a little bit about to recite the Bodyguard story before finally admitting... "I am Iron Man"

End credits

Teasing Iron Man 2

Tony stark in his house late at night goes upstairs to see a man looking out the window. Repeating the lines "I am Iron Man" and asks Tony if he thinks Iron Man is the only superhero out there? He insists, he is one part of a bigger story. He turns introduces himself himself as Director Nick Fury and asks Tony if he's ever heard of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Trivia

  • Tony Stark was originally captured in Vietnam during the 1960s, this was changed to Afghanistan, taking place decades later to modernize the film. Inspired largely from the adaptation shown by the Extremis story arc.
  • Obadiah Stane in the comics was originally a rival to Stark Industries, not part of it. He lead a group of super villains called the Chessmen.
  • James "Rhodey" Rhodes looks at the Iron Man armor and says "Not today" a reference to his role in the comics as Iron Man's sidekick, the War-Machine.
  • J.A.R.V.I.S. in the original Iron Man comics was Tony Stark's real life butler named Edwin Jarvis. Jon Favreau adapted the Ultimate version of the character (Who's an AI) in order to avoid comparisons to the DC Comics character and butler to Bruce Wayne Alfred Pennyworth.
  • Happy Hogan's dream job, being a Boxer, is based on his original career in the comics.
  • Right before Tony and Pepper are about to kiss, they are interrupted by Happy Hogan. A reference to the fact Pepper and Happy were married in the comics.
  • Nick Fury, who appeared at the end credits of the movie is the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., an organization Iron Man in the comics has frequently worked with as an Avenger and superhero around the world
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