Monday, April 25, 2016

Real Name: Tony Stark
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #39 (March, 1963)
Fight Club Ranking: #3

Featured Fights:
- vs WONG-CHU: Tales of Suspense #39 (Mar 1963)
- vs GHOST RIDER: Avengers #214 (Dec 1981)
- vs DIABLO: Iron Man #159 (Jun 1982)
- vs CAPTAIN AMERICA: Captain America Annual #9 (1990)
- vs WHIRLWIND: Iron Man Annual #11 (1990)
- vs VENOM: Iron Man #302 (Mar 1994)
- vs WAR MACHINE: Iron Man #310 (Nov 1994)
- vs MANDARIN: Iron Man #312 (Jan 1995)
- vs TITANIUM MAN: Iron Man #316 (May 1995)
- vs HULK: Iron Man #2 (Dec 1996)
- vs DESTROYER: Thor #1 (Jul 1998)
- vs INVADERS: New Invaders #0 (Aug 2004)
- vs SHE-HULK: Avengers #501 (Oct 2004)
- vs MALLEN: Iron Man #3 (Mar 2005)
- vs SINISTER TWELVE: Marvel Knights: Spider-man #11 (Apr 2005)
- vs TERRORISTS: Iron Man #5 (Mar 2006)
- vs SECRET AVENGERS: Civil War #3 (Sep 2006)
- vs SKRULLS: New Avengers: Illuminati #1 (Feb 2007)
- vs NOVA/THUNDERBOLTS: Nova #3 (Aug 2007)
- vs SECRET AVENGERS: New Avengers #36 (Jan 2008)
- vs DR. DOOM: Mighty Avengers #10 (May 2008)
- vs SUB-MARINER: Invincible Iron Man #12 (Jun 2009)
- vs CRIMSON DYNAMO: Invincible Iron Man #14 (Aug 2009)

Just when you thought Robert Downey Jr might be the high-priced weak link in a carefully weaved Marvel movie web, Tony Stark aka; Iron Man is announced to feature in the upcoming cinematic reboot: Spider-man: Homecoming.

The Hollywood Reporter delivered the news, confirming Downey's role in entrenching the new Spidey films firmly in the Marvel Universe!

The actor/character marriage continues to provide a valuable core to Marvel's movie world, even as the Iron Man solo franchise appears to be dormant. He next appears as one of the stars of Captain America: Civil War as proponent of a movement to identify and register unsanctioned superheroes.

Cap 3 will unroll an Avengers ensemble cast and pit both halves of the heroic franchise against one another in an approximation of Marvel's 2006 comics event - Civil War. For all intents and purposes it's Iron Man 4 and Avengers 3 all rolled into one, even if the story will be told with sympathy for Captain America and his team.

It's the same superhero dichotomy that existed in the comic, really boiling down to Team Iron Man versus Team Cap. There's a dispute of civil liberty and super-human politics, but the movie appears to take a much softer line, avoiding painting Iron Man in the almost villainous pseudo-fascist role he held for a few years in the comics. Many will see Iron Man as being as justified in his beliefs. A wise choice for a mass audience, but a potential chink in the armor of the hero-v-hero plot that should otherwise be significantly better received, and motivated, than Batman v Superman.

Civil War will be serving a lot of masters and it will be interesting to see how well they serve them all. Iron Man and the Avengers obviously take a portion of real estate, while the movie also brings back Winter Solder [HOTW 04/18/2016], and introduces Black Panther [HOTW 01/18/2016] to movie-going audiences.

As previously noted [HOTW 03/14/2016]; Spider-man also appears on Team Iron Man -- the beginning of Marvel's role in co-producing the web-slinger's big screen adventures alongside long time license holders: Sony. The Iron Man/Spider-man partnership comes right out of the comic, frequently cited by fans and producers as something they felt they 'needed' to have. Peter Parker unmasked in the original series - a major moment that ultimately meant nothing as the threads of the character were rewoven to avoid a lasting change. He flips from Team Iron Man to Team Cap mid-story, but again, it's very arguable how vital the character is. It will be interesting to see what changes lead to Iron Man finding his way into the first Spidey solo film, and how big that role actually is. With this Spidey much younger than that of the comics, it seems Tony Stark may have a far bigger role to play in his formative superhero years.

It's intriguing and exciting to see Marvel's first movie success contributing to the creation of a new generation. The Marvel movie universe seems to have been designed with a future in mind and that future continues to grow as whispers of Phase 4 -- the post-Avengers: Infinity War slate -- draws ever nearer. It would be a shame to take Iron Man completely off the table. I hope he'll be around for years to come, even if it's in a reduced, or background role.

Watching a little of Avengers last night, I was reminded how enjoyable Downey Jr is simply as a presence. That wasn't a movie I particularly enjoyed, but his comfort in the role elevates most scenes he's in. It was always genius casting that was easy to like - even if they never quite capitalized on the meta-text of the actor and character's mutual demons. His ability to inhabit the role was enough. Even in the lacklustre Iron Man 2 - Stark shines. Unlike some, I thought Iron Man 3 was a very enjoyable  sequel and character study that dealt with, and expanded upon, the Avengers movie.

Captain America: Civil War officially opens theatrically May 6th. We're a bit rushed this time, but there'll be a whole lot Captain America - and some more Iron Man - in the coming weeks! Be sure to be back for all the fun!

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