*Editor's Note: "Rewind Review" is a new addition to The Sentinel's "Now Showing" blog that takes a look at movies available on various streaming platforms.
Quick Opinion: It's been nearly 10 years since the release of Marvel’s first self-financed movie, “Iron Man.” Leading up to the film’s release, Marvel certainly had its doubters. At the time, Iron Man was lesser known to the general public in comparison to Spider-Man, the X-Men and other big name superheroes. On top of that, due to his troubled past, Robert Downey Jr. was considered a risky casting choice to play the central role in the entry film to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
In the end, Marvel got it right. “Iron Man” was a box office hit that received worldwide critical acclaim. Today, it still holds up as one the best superhero films in the MCU. It serves as a blueprint to success (maybe to a fault) within the superhero genre. Marvel has released 15 other films to date since the release of “Iron Man.” Many of these films have built and borrowed their plot structures and themes to mirror the most effective components of this film.
Taking a Closer Look: Storytelling is the key piece that really sets this film apart from the other superhero movies that came before it. “Iron Man” provides an intelligent plot that still manages to have fun throughout. There is a true commitment to character development from start to finish.
Robert Downey Jr. is terrific as the charismatic billionaire playboy, Tony Stark. Downey delivers a sarcastic style of humor that still works in today's MCU films. Along with the humor, Tony Stark’s resiliency in the face of adversity combined with his commitment to fight evil helped win over audiences.
His transformation into Iron Man is about redemption. He rebuilds his life, making up for his past mistakes. Downey brings heart to a Tony Stark character that is mostly known for his eccentric behavior. It's this more vulnerable side of Downey’s performance that really holds the story together.
Of course there's also that really cool Iron Man suit.
We get eye-popping special effects that mostly stem from the many features of the Iron Man suit. These CGI effects look just as good as anything out there in today's biggest blockbusters. The iconic red and gold suit is sleek, powerful and used to perfection in its debut film.
Standout scene: Once Tony gets word that a terrorist group in Gulmira is using his company’s weapons, we finally get to see Iron Man in action. It's the first real display of his power, and it does not disappoint. He uses several of the suit’s advanced weaponry in the span of just three minutes, including a missile arm attachment that takes out a tank in one strike. It's a ruthless showing of just how powerful Iron Man can be in a fight.
You can stream "Iron Man" on Amazon Prime. "Iron Man" and other Disney/Marvel/Star Wars titles will temporarily stay on some streaming sites until Disney offers its own streaming site. At that point, all titles will only be available for streaming on that new service, which is anticipated to arrive in 2019.
Matt McCafferty is a film critic contributor for The Sentinel and writes Rewind Reviews of movies available for streaming.