Continuing with this series of 47 moments in film that I love (Why 47?), today, for #26, we continue with a second consecutive “end-of-movie” moment…
Iron Man (2008)
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Billionaire industrialist Tony Stark develops a suit of armor to save his own life and becomes the superhero Iron Man
Tony Stark has spent the entire movie learning to overcome his own character faults, and to recognize the evils of profiting off of the sale of the weapons his company has developed. As Iron Man, he confronts and defeats his business partner, who had intended to use his inventions for even more destructive purposes, resorting to murder to do so. Now, he and his allies are in damage control mode, attempting to sell to the public the idea that “Iron Man” is an employee of Stark’s, who functions as his body guard, and that Stark himself is not involved directly with the battle that has just recently occurred.
Armed with his cover story, Tony strolls into a press conference…
Tony takes the podium to make his statement. He attempts to share the story, but one canny reporter in the front row (whom Stark had previously had a relationship with) interrupts to share her disbelief. She doesn’t buy his story, and in all honesty, neither does he. He starts to ramble about how he is too flawed to ever be a superhero, and his friend Rhodey urges him to stick to the story. Tony nods, and turns back to his cue cards. “The truth is,” he starts…and then after a pause, he finishes:
“I am Iron Man.”
And the crowd goes wild. Cue credits and heavy metal cover music.
Back in 2008 the Marvel Cinematic Universe was just a rumor that we were hearing about, something we couldn’t really imagine happening. And it almost certainly would not have if this initial entry had not been successful. But Robert Downey jr.’s almost unbelievably charismatic performance hit the target and the rest was history (or at least, a whole bunch of films over the last ten years). The sense that we have about the character–whose journey reflects the actor’s own in a lot of ways–is that he’s someone who was never content to just stick to the script, and this is the moment that absolutely cements this.
With all his problems and defects, Tony Stark is a hero, and for better or worse he will fumble his way forward, defying both the advice of cooler heads and also the traditions of decades of comic book stories, and do it his own way.
Iron Man 2. The Avengers. Iron Man 3. Age of Ultron. Civil War. Spider-Man Homecoming. With more to come. This moment sets the tone for an unprecedented cinematic universe.