RDJ Back As Iron Man!


Well color me unsurprised.

Marvel just announced that Robert Downey Jr. is going to be wearing the Iron Man suit once again in a press release.

It goes on to say that the Iron Man character will be in Avengers 2 and Avengers 3.

So why the sudden change?

Downey, Jr.’s last two Marvel films, 2012’s “Marvel’s The Avengers” and this year’s “Iron Man 3,” rank as two of the top five grossing films of all time, collectively earning over $2.7 billion worldwide to date.

Simply put, as awesome as he is playing Tony Stark, he’s an even more awesome box office draw. I’ll be the first to extend my congratulations.

Iron Man 3: Tony Stark’s Last Stand


This weekend I saw Iron Man 3 which finishes probably the best trilogy in super hero movies. Tony Stark is back and he is a bit of a mess.

Since the events of The Avengers, he has been suffering from severe bouts of anxiety as to his role in being a self-appointed protector of mankind. Things get even more complicated for Stark as he has to fight off a new global terrorist known as the Mandarin, who has struck at him first by attempting to murder Stark’s longtime driver/bodyguard/assistant Happy Hogan and then launching an aerial attack on Stark’s Malibu home.

It turns out that this latest threat to Stark and the world at large is tied to Aldrich Killian and his quasi research company/terrorist group Advanced Idea Mechanics. Unfortunately, no one in the movie version of AIM wears the beloved yellow bee keeper’s suits. Killian is upset that Stark blew him off at a millennial New Year’s Eve event and has spent the last thirteen years perfecting a regenerative healing technology (kind of like Wolverine) that was coincidentally developed by a scientist that Stark had a one night stand with that same night. Unfortunately, this bio-tech called Extremis is extremely volatile and can be used to make explosive soldiers. Not to mention, Killian has kidnapped Stark’s love interest Pepper Potts.

This all leads Stark to face the biggest challenge of his life, stopping both Killian and the Mandarin and rescuing Pepper while not having access to his usual arsenal. Our hero is able to save the day with more than a little help from his friends James Rhodes (sans his War Machine armor) and Pepper (who has gained some extraordinary abilities of her own after becoming infected with Extremis). But the battle that Stark had with himself in overcoming his own fears was much more important than his struggle with Killian and AIM.

I loved how they made the hero seem so vulnerable, but only in his own mind. Yes, he’s Tony Stark, one of the smartest and most successful men on the planet. But in his own mind he was done for. He pulls himself together at the right time to protect what is most important to him. The resulting story is very compelling and isn’t overshadowed by robotic armor and a billion explosions.

Plot aside, there were a lot of other details that I liked. Here they are in no particular order.

  • The movie borrows a lot of concepts from Warren Ellis’ “Extremis” storyline. This gets acknowledged by the filmmakers in a roundabout way, as the movie’s president shares a last name with the writer. 
  • Don Cheadle was awesome as War Machine and I liked how they were able to tie the Iron Patriot armor into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially since they don’t have access to the Norman Osborn character.
  • The scenes with Stark hiding out in Tennessee and befriending the kid inventor Harley were really funny and sweet at the same time, with the younger one being more optimistic of Stark’s skills.
  • The Ben Kingsley Mandarin character had an unbelievable plot swerve and was acted so well. If you haven’t seen the film yet or have no interest in it,

What I also liked was how they tied up the loose ends of the movie series. For now it seems like another Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man film may be unlikely, but they smartly found a way that satisfactorily ends the trilogy that can allow Downey to revisit the character or relaunch the franchise with someone else. But until that happens, Iron Man 3 finishes the greatest super hero movie trilogy of all time.

Avengers Film: So this is it?

Tonight (well technically tomorrow) Avengers makes its movie debut. For the last four years, Marvel/Paramount/Disney has made five films that have gotten us to the point where Earth’s mightiest heroes together.

What they’ve done is put together a cohesive universe for the Marvel films at least for the Avengers characters. So what does that mean for the future?

Captain America costume

Captain America’s costume was on display at the New York Comic Con.

I read a blog post (from the LA Times I believe; sadly I cannot find the bookmark for it) saying that it may raise the bar for super hero films too high, especially in regards to the number of costumed characters.

They brought up the concern that this would lead to a veritable super hero appearance arms race, with all future films having to have a large cast of characters.

That said, should we be worried about this in regards to future comic book films? To that I’m going to say no. Avengers is a special case. It may be team film, but there is definitely a three-tier system to its characters.

Obviously at the top we have Iron Man, as Robert Downey Jr. has spent the last five years convincing us about how cool the character is. If it wasn’t for Iron Man doing so well, we might have not seen the subsequent Avengers family films. Captain America and Thor are up there as well, but that’s mostly because they had the last two blockbusters.

But after that, there really is a drop off with the rest of the characters. Yes, the Hulk is huge–literally and figuratively–but this is the third launch the character has had in the last decade. Consider him a gamma powered supporting character. That’s about the same for Nick Fury and for a lesser degree with Black Widow. Hawkeye is a step below them, not even being verbally identified during his debut in Thor.

What this film looks to do is less then introduce an audience to new characters, but to tell a story about how three (well four, we’ll give Hulk his due) extreme personalities can put aside their differences to work cohesively in an extremely intense situation.

I still haven’t seen the film yet and plan on doing so shortly. I hope I’m right.

30 Things I Like About Comics—#21 Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man

Let’s face it, Iron Man was never one of the my favorite Marvel characters.  Popularity wise he’s way behind Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine and even Captain America. He just seems to a character that just happens to be there.

Can you think of a really good Iron Man comic story? I couldn’t.

For the longest time, I just associated Iron Man as being one of the early Avengers and from the story where he realizes he is an alcoholic (Demon in a Bottle) and when he goes on a rampage against everyone who’s ripped of his armor designs (Armor Wars). And I guess, to a certain extent, the Iron Man cartoon series from the mid-1990s, but I primarily watched that do to being a Hawkeye fan boy.

Over the years, Iron Man was just another guy to me. He wasn’t a bad character; I just didn’t connect to him or think that he was that important. Iron Man was just a background guy in the Marvel Universe as far as I was concerned he was like Chekov from Star Trek, just not Russian and wearing robot armor.

When I heard that they were making a movie about Iron Man, I really didn’t expect too much. I figured it would be as good as the Blade films, but hopefully better than Daredevil. Regardless, I would see it.

Then 2008 happened.

Sweet Christmas, was I wrong.

Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark was just as comfortable being himself as he was being Iron Man.

What made this different from anything I could have imagined was how awesome Robert Downey Jr. was as Tony Stark. His take on the character made him a very quirky yet extremely likable man, much like Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow.

RDJ’s portrayal was complex. In the first movie, he brings Tony to live and you really see how much the character grows from being extremely self-centered and really didn’t care that his family fortune was made on the suffering of others.

When said weaponry was turned against him and nearly claim his life, Stark came to the grim realizations about what it actually means to be in the business of war. His life and company then took a shift, using their resources to help humanity instead of providing tools to destroy it.

All the while, Stark is true to himself—he still aggrandizes himself, as evident in his various press conference and Stark Expo scenes in the sequel. Don’t forget the fact that he was so hot to trot about revealing his status as Iron Man to the world.

In the sequel, they made him even more endearing, as themes of his own mortality and self-doubt plagued him during the film. When he finally overcomes them, you feel relieved just as much as Stark is.

In spite of the character’s huge ego, RDJ made Stark an immensely likable guy. So what if he’s a bit cocky? Ultimately, his heart is in the right place and he would be a great friend. That’s not because he’ insanely rich, but because he would do anything to help you.

So thank you Robert Downey Jr.; you made Iron Man cool.