Posted by Larry Gleeson
In 2009, I had the good fortune of attending Photoshop World, the conference for everything Photoshop, Lightroom, and Photography. The main attraction the first day was a massive conference on how Iron Man was created via Photoshop. I was tracking the opening moves. Then, the presenter announced he was speeding up the process due to time constraints. And, in the blink of an eye, step after step was shown in rapid succession that would make even the most ardent fan of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psych shower scene envious!
So today, I share the AFI Movie Club film, IRON MAN (2008), starring Robert Downey Jr., as Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist and genius inventor who is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Instead, using his intelligence and ingenuity, Tony builds a high-tech suit of armor and escapes captivity. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armor and vows to protect the world as Iron Man. Matthew Libatique (AFI Class of 1992) provided the cinematography.
Not surprisingly, Iron Man was honored with an AFI AWARD in 2008 – recognizing it as one of the 10 outstanding films deemed culturally and artistically representative of the year’s most significant achievements in the art of the moving image. According to the official rationale, “IRON MAN smashes through the cinematic stratosphere to take its rightful place among the leading superhero sagas in American film. Witty and bold, this dynamic film is a shining example of summer entertainment that can both entertain and enlighten.
“Jon Favreau’s dynamic direction delights in the medium, using visual effects with a light touch and in perfect service to the story. Robert Downey, Jr.’s inspired interpretation lifts the title role off the pages of a comic book with great respect — and his own indelible quirkiness — launching it into the future as audiences cheer both a hero and their own humanity.”
Interestingly, Iron Man, co-created by Stan Lee, was Marvel Studio’s first fully self-financed movie. Its success launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe which now includes Captain America, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, the Incredible Hulk, Black Widow, and many more of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Iron Man is currently streaming on Disney+.