Tony Stark – Marvel’s Cinematic Masterpiece

“Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” – with four words Joss Whedon defined the character of Tony Stark for a generation.  But it was never the words alone that transformed a b-level character into a worldwide icon and the anchor for a groundbreaking interconnected cinematic universe.  It was the man inside the armor delivering those lines.  While it’s easy to forget, eleven years and twenty-two films in, back in 2008 Marvel Studios was far from a sure thing.  Marvel had sold their most successful characters (Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four) to other studios and was left to make their own movies with their second tier.  Robert Downey Jr. made it work.  He incarnated Tony Stark perfectly, seamlessly blending cockiness and charisma, arrogance and vulnerability, snark and heart.  He presented a character who resonated and who meant something.  He carried the world of comic books into the mainstream on his armored shoulders, all but single-handedly paving the way for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  No matter how much brilliance followed in his wake, this is why Tony Stark will always be Marvel’s cinematic masterpiece to me. Continue reading

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“I Don’t Have Anyone But You”: Love in the MCU

There’s nothing quite as important to human existence as love.  Love should define the core of all our relationships – with our significant other, our families, our friends, our God, and (though we often disregard this) ourselves.  As such, love has always been a central feature – in message as well as in inspiration – of many of our artistic works.  Love fills our novels, our pop songs, our films (from rom coms like How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days to deep, philosophical examinations like Her), our paintings, our plays, and even our comic books.  Being such a foundational part of our lives, we continue to seek and explore it, always and in all ways.  It should come as no surprise then that we find lots of looks at love in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  But, of all the relationships and flirtationships Marvel’s given us, there’s only one power couple – Pepper Potts and Tony Stark. Continue reading

Team Iron Man: A Treatise

It’s been a week and a half since Captain America: Civil War was released and excitedly exceeded all of our expectations.  And we learned once again that the best movies in the MCU are consistently the ones starring Captain America.  Captain America: The First Avenger was a moving period piece with an ending more sad and painful than anything I’d ever seen in a comic book film.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a political thriller that was equal parts escapist fun and social commentary.  Now Captain America: Civil War manages to be the darkest and most emotionally complex of the Marvel movies to date while also still being incredibly fun.  I’ve seen it four times now and it gets better with each viewing!  This blog didn’t exist for me to talk about all this opening weekend so I’m doing it now.  However, this might be the better approach anyway as there’s less chance of spoiling anything.  Regardless, this is your warning – SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW.  Now, with that out of the way, let’s see why Iron Man is right…even if Cap’s name is in the title. Continue reading