Oh hello, Jason from 96.5 Jack-FM here, and with Avengers: Endgame opening up on Friday April 26th, I've taken it upon myself to re-watch ALL of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and give you my thoughts. Starting on Friday the 5th, I can watch one movie per day, and make it no problem.
Also, I am going to be attending the Nerdist Marvel Marathon at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood from the 23rd through 25th, so I'll get a double dose of most of these movies. =)
First up, the movie that started it all & proved that Marvel Studios was going to be a force to be reckoned with: IRON MAN.
Okay, first of all, I totally forgot that the trailer completely gives away that Obadiah Stane is the big bad of the movie. Also, that final shot of Iron Man shooting the tank with the mini rocket, then doing the "cool guys don't look at explosions" walk away to the opening riff of "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath STILL gives me goosebumps.
I've seen this movie over a dozen times, and I really dig it. There are so many little things, like Agent Coulson's first appearance, Nick Fury showing up in the post-credits stinger, the fact that there IS a post-credits stinger, which set up a generation of movie-goers who stay until the end... So much.
I remember back when this movie was being originally marketed, my friend Dave was OVER THE MOON that they were starting with his favorite character. Back then, Iron Man wasn't a household name like he is today, and a lot of people thought they were taking a huge risk. It paid off, that's for sure.
Now, this is Terrance Howard's only appearance as Rhodey in the series, with Don Cheadle taking over
Every time I watch this movie, I'm reminded of HOW GOOD it really is, and I wonder why I never think about it when I go through my list of "favorite Marvel movies." Then I remember that there are 21 of them now, and they just keep getting better. For the most part...
Tony starts out as an egotistical billionaire brought down to earth by the realization that he's not doing enough to make sure his weapons are only used by the "Good Guys," and ends with him announcing that he IS Iron Man. Along the way though, we find out that the main villain is his friend & mentor, the guy who stood by him after his dad passed away. That HAS to create some trust issues, and I feel like they do a pretty good job of laying that groundwork.
Stan Lee cameo - As Hugh Hefner outside of the gala.
Post Credits Stinger - Nick Fury telling Tony about the Avenger Initiative.
Okay, next - THE INCREDIBLE HULK
Our only installment with Edward Norton as Bruce Banner is a doozy. I love this movie so much, because of the way it sets up SO much of what's to come in future installments. (And more on that in a minute) The cast is fantastic, with Tim Roth, Liv Tyler, William Hurt, & Tim Blake Nelson playing along side Edward Norton. I know that a lot of people don't really enjoy his portrayal of Bruce Banner, but I really dig it. Mark Ruffalo has done a fantastic job in the Avengers movies, and I can't picture the films WITHOUT him now, but there is a tiny part of me that wonders what they'd be like with Norton back in the role.
The scenes in Brazil are great. I love that Bruce is learning to control his pulse, using techniques to calm himself, and the fight scene with the bullies is pretty good. I'm glad that they get their comeuppance. Tim Roth's Blonsky is fantastically over-zealous, and watching the fear grow in his face the first time he faces down the Hulk is cool, especially compared to his subsequent fights in the University, then as Abomination.
Through General "Thunderbolt" Ross, this movie sets up the Super Soldier Serum that created Captain America, and it presents both Abomination & The Master, even though neither of those two seem to ever be returning to the MCU.
We also see General Ross return in Civil War, but we'll come back to that later. There are also a bunch of other little nods, like the Army using Stark technology to try to combat the Hulk, as well as Tony himself showing up in this movie's post-credit stinger, setting up the first BIG movie crossover, even though it wouldn't pay off for a few more years.
Stan Lee cameo - guy affected by Bruce's gamma irritated blood inside of a Brazilian made energy drink!
Post Credits Stinger - Tony talking to General Ross about his "Big Problem."
Finally for today's post - IRON MAN 2
Wow, one more trailer I haven't seen since 2010 when it first came out, and another BUNCH of reveals that I had completely forgotten it gave away. First of all, it gives away the fact that Iron Man 2 introduces Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, as well as the new Don Cheadle Rhodey putting on the armor & becoming War Machine.
Also, it completely gives away the best part of the final boss fight, with Tony & Rhodey teaming up to defeat the bot army. Hm, I think we'll see that come into play again in a future movie... Finally, that part where Pepper kisses the helmet, then tosses it out of the plane? Yeah, that's not in the movie, but it's a great moment.
Mickey Rourke is wonderful as Whiplash, and Sam Rockwell is even better as Justin Hammer. Man, they're just fantastic, and the way that they play off of each other for most of their time on screen is just gravy. It's seriously one of my favorite things about this movie.
We're re-introduced to a very publicly heroic Tony Stark playing up his role as Iron Man at the Stark Expo, complete with cheerleaders and a tuxedo under all that armor. How does THAT work? But also, he's got some blood poisoning from the arc reactor embedded in his chest... I like that these movies have multiple story arcs running through them - Whiplash confronting Tony about their respective fathers. Tony's physical ailments caused by the constant use of the Iron Man armor, and how it makes him truly believe that he only has a few days left to live... Pepper becoming CEO of Stark Industries and dealing with both the demands on her time, and the insinuation that she's not worthy of that title.
Speaking of Tony thinking he's going to die and becoming increasingly self-destructive, back when they were talking about a potential sequel, I was SURE that they were going to bring in the "Devil in a Bottle" story from the comics, where Tony deals with the fact that he has become an alcoholic. They touched on it, but didn't deep dive into it, and I'm happy with the direction they went. Especially given how Iron Man 3 presents it - more on that later.
Finally, according to the timeline, The Incredible Hulk, Iron-Man 2, Thor, and the "present day" events of Captain America: The First Avenger all take place in the same week. "Fury's Big Week," as it's been dubbed.
Stan Lee cameo - As Larry King while Tony is being marched out of the Stark Expo!
Post Credits Stinger - Agent Coulson arriving in New Mexico & finding Mjolnir in the crater.
Tomorrow - We dive into THOR, our first DIRECT payoff to a tease presented in the stingers!
Thanks for playing along, we've only got 19 more movies to go...