I've decided that while I wait for Infinity War Part 2 to come out (actual title on the way eventually), I'm going to do a full rewatch of all of the MCU films to date and give a little overview of my feelings once I'm done.
First on the proverbial chopping block is Iron Man. Now, I love Iron Man. It maintained its top spot across the whole MCU for me for an exceptionally long time, in fact off the top of my head I think it was Guardians that finally knocked it off its pedestal. Just so you know where I stand with this one going in.
Now I must have seen parts of the film dozens, if not hundreds of times, what with reruns on TV every other weekend and the like. But what made me realise that it's been a crazy amount of time since I'd watched Iron Man right the way through is that the cold open in Afghanistan took me completely by surprise. I was convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that the film began in New York, which of course it moves to after the truck explosion.
I love everything about the setup for the film. Marvel chose a character who at the time wasn't particularly popular, a bit of a B-lister, and possibly most importantly not an "Enhanced" character. Tony Stark is a smart guy who makes a suit of armour and uses it to fight bad guys, and despite his inordinate wealth he's a genuinely relatable character. Watching the relationship between Tony and Pepper get started, along with a much smaller Happy is a genuine blast from the past. And seeing the evolution of the Mark One, Two, and Three suits and their testing throughout the movie is exactly as awesome as I remember. And hoo-lee crap that first Mark 3 test in Afghanistan against the group of terrorists was a blast.
Obadiah is one of the most chilling villains in the early MCU, and absolutely the best of the three Iron Man villains overall. The father figures' betrayal hits hard, and really wasn't telegraphed, but it made a whole lot of sense once it was revealed. Honestly, I had it in my head that Howard having been killed by Bucky was a retcon and that Obadiah was responsible originally, but I guess I made that up because he's just that evil.
There are of course some nitpicks; there are a handful of really quite awful Power Rangers style explosion-plus-ragdoll moments that took me out of the film, the Chekhov's Gun of the first generation Arc Reactor was a bit heavy handed this time around, and the lack of injuries from the testing phase was a bit silly.
One thing I want to raise that Iron Man 3 gets a bit of crap for (I'm going to try and keep this kind of thing to a minimum) is the over-focus on PTSD, and how sudden it was based on what Tony went through in Avengers. But, can we just for a second talk about his kidnap by terrorists, being shot at by fighter jets, and being betrayed and almost murdered by the closest thing he has to a father? It wasn't sudden. If anything it was overdue.
Overall, the film holds up for me. It cemented Robert Downey Jr. as the one true Iron Man in much the same way that Hugh Jackman is, always was and always will be Wolverine. It set the drama-comedy dichotomy for the whole MCU to follow, and it effectively made (Marvel) comic book movies not be a joke anymore.
1 - Iron Man