I’m starting an ongoing series I’m calling: “The Road to Avengers: Infinity War.” These posts will be for anyone who wants to make sure they are fully caught up for Avengers: Infinity War, but maybe don’t have time to watch 18 movies before May. Think of these posts as cliff notes for Marvel movies. I’m going in chronological order of film release, starting with 2008’s Iron-Man and going all the way through the upcoming Black Panther. With any luck I’ll finish in time.
Let’s get started!
Tony Stark is the billionaire, genius CEO of Stark Industries; a weapons development and manufacturing company inherited from his dad after both parents died in a car accident. Most of the tech at Stark Industries is developed by Tony himself; having graduated from MIT around age 18 at the top of his class.
- Tony lives the playboy lifestyle, and has some very destructive habits including (but not limited to) drinking, gambling, and women.
Important Characters Introduced
Colonel James Rhodes (“Rhodey”): head of Weapons Development for the US Air Force. Actor Terrence Howard plays him only in the first film before being replaced by Don Cheadle. Rhody will eventually get his own suit called War Machine and join the Avengers.
Obadiah Stane is a family friend and second in command at Stark Industries. Stane is the closest Tony has to a father figure until he turns against him.
Pepper Potts is Tony’s loyal personal assistant who handles all of his day-to-day needs. She also becomes Tony’s love-interest.
Happy Hogan is Tony’s chauffeur and will later become his security detail, or as Tony likes to joke “forehead of security.”
Yinsen is imprisoned along with Stark, from a nearby town. Yinsen has some degree of medical/technical training and is highly intelligent as he speaks several languages and not only saves Tony’s life but also helps him build the first Iron-Man suit.
JARVIS is the audible AI that runs Tony’s house. Once he has perfected his Iron-Man suit, Tony uploads JARVIS to the interface, who going forward assists Tony in the operation of the suit, especially in combat.
Agent Coulson works for SHIELD, a secret government group that we learn in later movies, tracks individuals with special abilities and powers.
Nick Fury (after credits scene): Director of SHIELD. He is the mastermind behind the “Avengers Initiative.”
A Change of Heart
- During a trip to the Middle East to demonstrate his latest weapons to the military, Tony is captured by a terrorist group known as The Ten Rings.
- Tony is gravely injured during his capture, when he learns the hard way that the terrorists somehow are using his own weapons. A Stark Industries missile lands and explodes nearby, sending shrapnel tearing into his chest. He passes out and is captured.
- When Tony comes to, he’s in a cave with a fellow prisoner, Yinsen who informs Tony that he was the one who worked to keep Tony alive. Despite his efforts, however there was shrapnel that could not be removed without killing him.
- Yinsen was forced to attach an electro-magnet to his chest to keep the shrapnel from entering his heart and killing him. The two get to know each other during their capture and become friends. Yinsen’s words of wisdom also make Tony realize that with all of his accomplishments in life, he has nothing to show for it.
- After learning the terrorists will kill them both unless Tony builds one of his new prototype missiles, he decides instead to build the first crude version of the Iron-Man suit out of the materials available in order to escape.
- He also builds a device called a miniaturized “arc reactor:” a smaller version of a power source technology Stark created for his plant. He replaces the magnet on his chest with this device, which will keep the shrapnel from moving without needing to be hooked to a car battery as a power source (often refered to as his “chest piece”).
- During their escape, Yinsen is mortally wounded. He tells Tony with his last words; “Don’t waste your life.” Tony escapes by revealing his suit is capable of flight, however he doesn’t make it far before the suit stops working and he crashes in the sand. He walks the desert for an amount of time until a military search party led by his friend, Rhodey finds and rescues him.
Home Again: A New Direction
- Returning home, Tony has indeed had a change of heart. He decides to stop making weapons and to focus instead on his prototype “arc reactor” technology as a possible source for renewable clean energy. Obadiah Stane is troubled by the decision.
- Tony also gives up some of his bad habits and grows closer with his assistant Pepper, realizing that she has stood by him for years when most refused. They both begin to have feelings for each other, but are unsure about showing it.
- Secretly, Stark begins a series of experiments, perfecting his Iron-Man suit idea (which is also powered by his chest piece).
A Shocking Discovery
- Tony attends a fundraiser ball and is informed that Obadiah Stane has been approving the sale of Stark Industries weapons to terrorist groups. Stark decides to use his upgraded suit to find those weapons and destroy them: starting with a group of The Ten Rings who have attacked Yinsen’s hometown with Stark weapons.
- Rhodey discovers what Tony has been up to when the Air Force picks up Iron-Man on radar in a no-fly zone and sends in two fighter jets to intercept.
- Pepper discovers more of Stane’s dirty dealings: that he also paid The Ten Rings to capture and kill Tony in order to gain control of Stark Industries. When she is sent to the office by Tony to retrieve shipping manifests from the company’s database, she stumbles onto the secret files revealing everything.
- Stane travels to the Middle East to meet with the leader of The Ten Rings, learns how Tony escaped, kills the leader of the group and his men, and steals the remnants of the “Mark I” suit left after Tony crashed. He has Stark Industries scientists build a much larger version (known as Iron Monger in comics).
- After his team is unable to figure out how to miniaturize the arc reactor tech as Tony had, Stane goes to Tony’s home, uses a device on Tony that temporarily causes paralysis and steals Tony’s chest piece, leaving him to die. Stane also admits to paying to have him killed so he could take over Stark Industries.
- Pepper meets with Agent Coulson from the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement Logistics Division (SHIELD), who has been trying to meet with Tony in order to debrief him on the events surrounding his escape. Pepper fills Coulson in on everything and they return to Stark Industries to confront Stane. However, Stane has already activated his suit and rampages out of the building.
The Ultimate Test Run
- Tony luckily still has an outdated version of his chest piece. He puts it in and flies over to fight Stane. Tony, who has already told him about his Iron-Man suit, asks Rhodey to keep the skies clear long enough for him to take out Stane.
- Tony fights Stane, but is easily outmatched by the much larger suit and his outdated chest piece; quickly running out of power.
- The fight ends when Tony lures Stane to the top of Stark Industries and has Pepper overload the arc reactor below. This sends a massive energy blast up through the roof. Stane falls through the roof and dies in a massive explosion. Tony barely survives.
“I am Iron-Man:” The Road to the Avengers Begins
- A few days later, Tony holds a press conference to try to keep the situation contained. Agent Coulson gives him an alibi to keep it a secret that he was the one in the suit as the press has suspected and even called him the “Iron-Man.”
- Pepper thanks Agent Coulson who says they will be hearing from SHIELD again.
- Stark begins the press conference and starts to read the cards, however half way through Tony changes his mind, and the movie ends with Tony telling the audience, “The truth is…I am Iron-Man.”
After Credits Scene
- (After Credits Scene) Tony returns home after the press conference to discover someone has broken into his house and deactivated JARVIS. The man reveals that he is Nick Fury, Director of SHIELD, and that he’s there to talk to him about the “Avengers Initiative.” Cuts to black.
The next post will be 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. That will be an extremely short post, as it isn’t a great movie and provides very little needed info going forward in the MCU.