Iron Man was a special little movie. I mean, Tony Stark and Iron Man aren’t necessarily the most popular comics in the Marvel universe. So it was pretty surprising when Marvel Studios’ first self-financed movie brought in a total of $585 million at the box office. On top of that it was the beginning of a string of five films that led up to this weekend’s The Avengers, so let’s take a look back at this film and the connections that link it to the overall Avengers narrative.Tony Stark is an asshole
The film does a great job as setting Stark up as an asshole who really doesn’t care about anyone else other than himself. I mean, he dismisses an award that’s given to him, he doesn’t care that he makes money off of people killing each other with his creations and not only does he sleep with a reporter and leave her hanging but he makes his friend, James Rhodes, wait for him (for a business trip, by the way) for three hours. But hey, at least he’s funny. It makes sense though, doesn’t it? After all, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Stark doesn’t have the best relationship with his father.The creation of Iron Man
Stark’s tech comes back to bite him in the ass. A terrorist group known as the Ten Rings kidnaps him after a rocket impales him with some shrapnel. Another captive named Dr. Yinsen makes an electromagnet to keep the shrapnel from shredding his heart. Stark comes to see that his products are being used for the wrong reasons and that he’s profiting from it. So he, along with Yinsen, build a mini version arc reactor that powers Stark Industries to power his electromagnet and bust out with his new suit of armor. Unfortunately, Yinsen doesn’t make it.Tony Stark does have a heart
Once he gets home Stark announces that his company would stop making weapons. When a weapons company says they aren’t going to make weapons anymore you have a lot of people going crazy. Obediah Stane, Howard Stark’s partner and company manager, secretly keeps doing what they’ve always been doing and tries to oust Stark as CEO.
So Stark, who’s sparked by that journalist that he slept with and left hanging, takes a brand new Iron Man suit and goes to Afghanistan to put an end to the trouble Stark Industries has caused. In the process he goes up against some fighter jets and is found out by the military. Whoops. He does start doing the right thing though.SHIELD and Captain America
One night he comes back from one of his routine destroying terrorist weapons cache missions and is spotted by his secretary Pepper Potts while his machinery is trying to take off his Iron Man suit. In the background, you can see a prototype of Captain America’s shield (no doubt from The Avengers) sitting on a desk. How cute.
While Stark has been out killing terrorist, Potts has been dealing with Agent Coulson of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, for a meeting with Stark. Eventually, the agency uses the acronym SHIELD. to refer to itself. Stark doesn’t give them the time of day, well… until…Iron Monger
Stane steals Stark’s new arc reactor, which he built to replace the older one he made in Afghanistan, and uses it to build his own suit, Iron Monger. Potts had found out about it and was trying to tell Tony but then Stane attacks her and the SHIELD operatives that were protecting her (she asked Coulson to help her after downloading files off of Stane’s computer).
So Tony Stark dons his suit and takes it to Iron Man. He fights Iron Monger for a while around Stark Industries until his suit loses power. Then he orders Potts to set the big version of the arc reactor (the one that powers Stark’s company) into overdrive so it burns out Iron Monger’s reactor. Then Stane, in his suit, falls into the arc reactor and a massive explosion happens. Kaboom.I am Iron Man
Agent Coulson and SHIELD come up with an excuse for Tony Stark and Iron Man, which is a name that the press dubs the red and gold superhero. Stark ignores the cover up story provided by SHIELD and admits that he is Iron Man to a room full of journalists.
After he admits who he is, and after the credits, Stark is visited by SHIELD director Nick Fury and is told that he’s not the only superhero in the world. He tells Stark he wants to discuss the Avengers Initiative. That is the jumping off point for the entire series. The seed for The Avengers is set. See, Fury is fully aware of Captain America, the Red Skull and the Cosmic Cube. All of which the audience, and you, will find out in upcoming Avengers Retrospectives