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YMMV / Iron Man

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  • Accidental Innuendo: In the first movie, when Rhodey finds Tony wandering the desert after escaping the terrorists.
    Rhodey: Next time, you ride with me, okay?
  • And You Thought It Would Fail:
    • It's hard to remember how much risk this film had. Let's count the ways:
      • Marvel had signed away the rights to their most well-known properties and was now trying to produce their own films with second-tier characters (before the movie came out, Iron Man wasn't particularly well-known or popular).
      • Not only that, but Marvel Comics set up Marvel Studios with an 800 million dollar bond obtained by putting their entire catalog up as collateral. If the so-called Marvel Cinematic Universe flopped, a change in management would be the least of Marvel's worries.
      • The lead-off movie would feature Iron Man, a B-list (at best) comic book character, who Marvel fans hated thanks to Civil War, a then-recent villainizing arc. Said arc would be adapted into a movie 8 years later.
      • Said movie would star an actor who, while acknowledged as talented, had become infamous for his drug addiction problems and numerous run-ins with the law and was going to be directed by a man whose last film had been a Box Office Bomb.
      • The crew only had a broad outline and most of the dialogue was improvised.
    • In hindsight, it was the greatest decision Marvel ever made. Iron Man helped boost the character's popularity with the mainstream, convinced Marvel that even their less popular heroes could be box office draws, and propelled the studio to super-stardom. On the Hollywood side of things, it gave Robert Downey Jr. a massive Career Resurrection and launched one of the most influential franchises in modern cinema, which would also become the most profitable film franchise in history.
  • Character Perception Evolution: Jeff Bridges' turn as Obadiah Stane didn't get a lot of press at the time when the film came out, with most people focused on the action of Robert Downey Jr.'s performance. Fast forward through two phases of mediocre villains (barring Loki and maybe the Red Skull), and people started to notice just how good Bridges was as Stane, who was subsequently reevaluated as an excellent villain and a terrific Evil Counterpart.
  • Complete Monster: In the novelization by Peter David, Obadiah Stane is presented as far worse than his film counterpart. Just like in the movie, Stane is a warmonger and weapons manufacturer who hires terrorists to murder his surrogate nephew, Tony Stark, alongside an entire military squad. Using Tony's seeming death to take over Stark Industries and begin selling off dangerous weapons to terrorists for a profit, Stane later betrays and wipes out his former terrorist partners before attempting to murder Tony with his bare hands. After creating his own suit of superpowered armor and becoming the Iron Monger, Stane slaughters anyone in his way in a mad attempt to murder Tony and Pepper Potts, using a woman and her four children as ammo to attack Tony with. In the novel, in addition to all that, in his prime moment of villainy, Stane completely ignores the fact that the damaged Arc reactor will explode and wipe out thousands of innocents, so hell-bent on crushing Tony that he is willing to take down an entire city in the process.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The scenes where Tony kept smacking into things while testing his suit was funny in all the wrong ways. "10% thrust." Splat!
  • First Installment Wins: Many viewers find this to be the best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or of the Iron Man films at the very least, and it's hard to overcome the perception that Tony Stark is the overall protagonist of the entire MCU (or at least the Infinity Saga) by virtue of being the first hero to be introduced (although Captain America gives him some competition in regards to that). Stane is also considered one of the best MCU villains in the Phase 1 and Phase 2 films (second only to Loki), which were criticized for their bad guys being mostly one-note evil people.
  • Franchise Original Sin: While many agree it's a very good movie, in retrospect, it set up several of the things that Marvel's movies would be criticized for later on:
    • The use of The Stinger for a Sequel Hook. What was once used as a way to hype up the following film would get criticised for Marvels' continued use of them, with two per movie later on, that many would find grating as it felt like they were more about advertising future movies than adding a meaningful contribution to what you just saw.
    • The true villain (Stane) disposing of the apparent villain (Raza) before the climax. They got away with it in this movie because Raza wasn't a comics character to begin with and Jeff Bridges' performance was so effortlessly menacing that Stane came off as clearly the superior villain. Later MCU films would repeat this plot point, but with iconic comic characters who clearly had a lot of life left in them, like Crossbones, Baron Von Strucker, Ulysses Klaue, which frequently felt like a slap in the face to comic book fans.
    • The juxtaposition of humor and action. This movie and later Phase One films were good about knowing when to leave one or the other to the side as needed. Later films would be occasionally criticized for not always maintaining this and reducing the tension of a few serious scenes.
    • The success also put Robert Downey Jr. back in the forefront and made his Iron Man role a big draw for the franchise. This didn't become a real problem until Age of Ultron, where it resulted in Stark getting to create Ultron — kicking Ant-Man out of the position despite his film having been lined up — and not getting his comeuppance until Civil War.
    • The trend for villains in Marvel movies to be a "dark reflection" of the hero, armed with similar powers or technology, also began with this film.
    • Marvel’s habit of making the lead character being a quipster with one liners by the minute originated with this film. Here, it works, because Tony is a jaded cynic going from selfish jerk to nice guy, so his humor helps round out his less than positive attributes, and his jokes help bring out the better part of him. However, somewhere along the line, Marvel decided EVERY popular character would be full of jokes and one liners, even when it does NOT work for their personality (Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, The Falcon, The Winter Soldier, and so on.).
  • Genius Bonus: Tony's craving for a cheeseburger when he's rescued may seem like just a joke, but if you know anything about Robert Downey Jr.'s story of recovery it starts to take on a larger meaning — RDJ actually credits Burger King with inspiring him to get off drugs because one day he was driving a car with a "half a ton" of drugs in the trunk, he decided to get a burger. He called it "worst burger of [his] life" and it actually made him reevaluate all of his life-choices. After that, he threw all the drugs into the ocean and checked into rehab. So, rather fittingly, Tony's equally life-changing decision to stop making weapons also involved a burger in some way.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • "Next time, baby". Well, not so much for Terrence Howard. He gets replaced by Don Cheadle in all of the following Marvel movies.
    • The POV shot of Tony while falling in the iced-up armor is exactly like Rhodey's in Captain America: Civil War. In the very same suit no less.
    • Rhodey also has an offhand comment, "Look who fell out of the sky!" Ouch.
    • In the beginning press conference, Tony offhandedly announces that he never got to say goodbye to his father. With a Freeze-Frame Bonus in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we find out that this is because HYDRA had Tony's parents killed. In Civil War, this is revealed to be a major source of trauma for Tony and finding out that Bucky killed Howard and Maria AND that Steve knew about it effectively kills any hope of a truce between Steve and Tony. Though it swings back into Heartwarming in Hindsight where due to time travel, Tony gets to meet his father in the past and reassure him about having a son.
    • Doubles as Heartwarming in Hindsight. When Pepper finds out that Tony is Iron Man, Pepper attempts to quit her job, telling him that he will "kill [him]self" eventually, and that she won't "be a part of it.". In Avengers: Endgame, Tony literally kills himself with gamma radiation when he uses his nano-tech Infinity Gauntlet to snap away all of Thanos's forces. Pepper is the last person that approaches and speaks to him at his deathbed.
      • Another moment: as Tony repeatedly demands Pepper to blow the arc reactor, she eventually says: "You'll die!"
    • The moment where Dr. William Ginter Riva tells Obadiah Stane "Well I'm sorry; I'm not Tony Stark" takes on a different tone after you've seen Spider-Man: Far From Home, when Ginter shows up again working with Mysterio, the latter of whom's motivated by what Tony Stark previously did to him.
    • When Tony returns to the United States, he says he wants a cheeseburger against Pepper's wishes of wanting to take him to a hospital. At Tony's funeral in Endgame, Happy Hogan starts laugh-crying, as does most of the audience, when Tony's four-year-old Morgan asks if they can get cheeseburgers. Kid's exactly like her father, in the best way possible.
    • Rhodey is visibly worried when he finds a dehydrated and injured Tony in the desert, saying, "Next time you ride with me." Rhodey and Iron Man "ride together" again in Avengers: Endgame in the final fight, only this time Rhodey doesn't get to save his best friend.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • Tony's final act in Avengers: Endgame, finger-snapping Thanos and his entire army with his own nano-tech Infinity Gauntlet" re-frames the last line "I am Iron Man" in a whole new light. Since Robert Downey Jr. solidified the existence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with that single line alone, saying it as his last words in Endgame just reminds viewers of how far the MCU has gotten in the past 11 years. It's also safe to say that Tony heeded Yinsen's own last words with that one act of self-sacrifice.
    • In a conversation early on, Yinsen comments on how empty Tony's life is, a "man who has everything and nothing". 15 years later in Avengers: Endgame, he has a family with a wife, daughter and a child he mentors. There is an enormous crowd of friends and family at his funeral showing just how many lives Tony touched and how much he gained after the cave.
    • The first thing Tony asks for once he's back home, even before the press conference, is a cheeseburger. During his funeral in the epilogue of Endgame, his daughter tells Happy that she wants a cheeseburger - followed by Happy saying they were her dad's favorite.
    • At the press conference Tony mentions he never got to say goodbye to his father. In Endgame, not only does Tony meet his father in the past, but he gives him a very heartfelt goodbye, complete with a hug.
    • In regards to Pepper's line: "You're going to kill yourself, Tony. I'm not going to be a part of it.", while Endgame had Tony willingly sacrifice himself, Pepper still played a part in the final battle, decked out in one of Tony's suits! And he didn't die without his precious wife at his side.
    • In the opening scene, a soldier tries to get a picture with Tony before terrorists attack the convoy. The soldier makes a peace sign, which Tony give him some light teasing for. Throughout the MCU, Tony has a tendency to make peace signs in the soldier’s memory.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The formal event in the middle of the first film takes place at the Disney Concert Hall. Guess who owns Marvel now? (The Walt Disney Concert Hall has nothing to do with the Disney company and was endowed by a private foundation in Walt's name, but it's still pretty funny.)
    • Downey is also seen at the Disney Hall in The Soloist with Jamie Foxx a year later. Foxx eventually would join the MCU as Electro in Spider-Man: No Way Home. For added points, Electro even uses some of Tony's Arc Reactor technology to power himself up!
    • The fighters pursuing Tony go by "Whiplash" One and Two. A version of Whiplash (although with heavy liberties taken) appears in Iron Man 2. Even better, Mark Scarlotti (the first Whiplash in the comics) went on to appear in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
    • In this movie, Rhodes briefly considers using the Mark II to fight alongside Tony. In the sequel, the first time he uses it is to fight against Tony. Rhodey's "Next time, baby." line is also somewhat ironic coming from Terrence Howard, considering that Don Cheadle replaced him for that role from Iron Man 2 onward.
    • Tony’s line about a “Titanium/Gold alloy” sounds like a Hand Wave from the writer(s) to justify Iron Man’s red-and-gold color scheme, but eight years later, a lab did indeed discover a Gold/Titanium alloy that’s up to four times stronger than most forms of Steel. Tony literally was ahead of his time there.
    • Jarvis has a throwaway line, "If you intend to visit other planets, we should improve the exosystems." Come Infinity War, guess where Tony ends up.
    • In The Stinger, Fury ask Tony if he thinks he's the only superhero in the universe. In Captain Marvel (2019) it's revealed that Fury met Carol Danvers in 1995, meaning that he not only knew that another superhero existed (not counting Steve Rogers, of course), she was the inspiration behind the whole Avengers Initiative idea.
  • Ho Yay:
    • When Tony is rescued, cue a hug that is more Tony collapsing into Rhodey's arms and a heartbreaking look of relief on Rhodey's face, followed by Rhodey holding Tony's hand as he helps him off the plane.
    • The scene of Obadiah where he disables Tony and steals his Arc Reactor just before the climax, which overlaps with No Yay due to the molestation vibes.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • "The truth is... I am Iron Man." Unprecedented in any superhero movie before, its effect is lessened now that none of the supers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (except for Spider-Man and Daredevil) even have a secret identity, especially with so much of the known image of this series' Iron Man is him without his helmet on.
    • The fact that Nick Fury arrives in The Stinger to recruit Iron Man for the Avengers is pretty well known now, with the franchise around it only growing bigger and Fury's line about the Avenger Initiative becoming a meme.
    • Also, the fact that Obadiah Stane is the main antagonist. Even promos that came out around the time of the film's release didn't hide it much. Case in point. And his role as a supervillain was never treated as a spoiler in the comic book source material originally.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Obadiah Stane has been the unflappably cheery, true mastermind of Stark Industries for decades, capitalizing on Howard and Tony Stark's brilliant inventions to create an empire of arms dealing and war profiteering. Growing ever more power hungry, Stane hires the Ten Rings terrorist cell to assassinate Tony in the middle of Afghanistan so that Stane can assume sole control of Stark Industries and begin selling weapons to both sides of wars across the world. After Tony survives the attack and tries to use his new arc reactor to end the arms dealing business, Stane cleverly locks Tony out of company decisions and wipes out the Ten Rings cell to eliminate loose ends. Stane soon enough steals Tony's arc reactor to create his "Iron Monger" suit, nearly murdering Tony and Pepper to cover up all of his crimes and create a whole new line of unstoppable weapons.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon: See here.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Stark's fire extinguisher robot and Nick Fury. Both have larger roles in the second film.
  • Squick:
    • Tony taking a nauseatingly long medical device out of his nose when he wakes up in the cave.
    • Pepper having to replace Tony's mini-arc reactor was more than a little gross for some. Her comment about pus didn't help, and even though Tony calls it inorganic plasmic discharge, having everything she pulls from his chest dripping with slime, just makes it worse.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The best visual effects work is during the scene when Tony's entire automated workshop dresses him in his Mark III armor, piece by piece, finishing with placing his helmet and mask.

Video Game:

  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Sega's game based on the movie was criticized for making flying and shooting around in cool Powered Armor seem downright boring, between poor controls, outdated graphics, and levels full of bugs and unrelenting enemies.