Avengers: Infinity War releases nationwide in a less than a week and will end up being one of the highest grossing films of the year. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has created such a box office juggernaut that people no longer ask how well will the latest Marvel movie do against other movies, but how will they fare against each other?
Every MCU fan has a different time and reason they became involved with the franchise. Some are long time readers of the comics, while others watched one of movies to see what all the hubbub was and have stuck around. After ten years and seventeen movies, pinpointing the exact moment the MCU captured your imagination may seem difficult, but I still remember it. One moment in the original Iron Man movie made me realize I was in for something special.
In 2008, MySpace was hanging on to its last moments of relevancy while Facebook continued its march towards global domination. YouTube was still in its infancy and movie trailers were not as easy to find online as they are today. Iron Man had some buzz around it, but nothing near the anticipation a Marvel movie receives now. Today, Robert Downey Jr. is one of Hollywood’s highest paid stars but in 2008 he was still trying to overcome the negative stigma of his younger days. In other words, Iron Man was something of a risk.
I had little interest in seeing Iron Man. The X-Men franchise was fine, but the DC movies at the time were much better. Plus, Iron Man? Why waste time on a superhero who had never even been in his own movie when The Dark Knight was going to be out in a few months? Christopher Nolan had already proved that Batman would never be in a bad movie again.
In the end, RDJ was the deciding factor. He’d been on a serious roll coming into the film with great performances in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Good NIght, and Good Luck, and Zodiac. I figured going in the movie would probably fail to impress, but maybe RDJ could help its chances with me a little.
Unsurprisingly, RDJ was great as Tony Stark and brought humor and charm to the character; he was perfect for the role as his struggles with addiction had been on display for to the public to see, much like the Marvel billionaire. He also took the role seriously adding input about dialogue. RDJ turned Iron Man from being a fringe character to non comic fans to one of the most recognizable superheroes in Hollywood.
What was surprising was the movie itself. Iron Man was a fun, action packed, and smartly written story that was able to appeal to non comic fans. The MCU has built up an incredibly strong library in the past ten years, but Iron Man is good enough to still be considered one of the best entries.
The moment that drew me into the MCU was not actually in the movie but in the post-credit scene. Easter Eggs at the end of Marvel movies are now as much a point of discussion as the movies themselves, but in 2008 it was a real treat. My friend and I had actually stuck around in the theater to discuss the movie so when the scene began, we were shocked. The few people remaining in the theater got silent and we all stared at the screen. I instantly recognized Samuel L. Jackson’s voice but his revelation that he was Nick Fury caught me off guard. Even more surprising, he mentioned he was the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Did anyone outside of the comic book world even know what S.H.I.E.L.D. was? Then in two words, I knew I would have to watch every MCU movie. “Avenger Initiative.”
Following the post-credit scene in Iron Man I could not wait to see where the story was going. Ten years later, I am still following that same story, but I am more excited now than at any other point of the MCU. There have been lots of highlights, but no one moment got me as worked up as the last words in Iron Man.