On this day, Iron Man debuted in 2008

Originally published at: On this day, Iron Man debuted in 2008 | Boing Boing


I don’t know. Organic webbing aside, that first Spider-man movie with Tobie Maguire remains one of my favorite films because of how it otherwise lovingly reflected his origin story from the comics I’d grown to love as a child. Homophobic joke aside of course (that hasn’t aged well I’m afraid). The current MCU Spider-man, though I love what Tom Holland has done with the character (the kid has such great emotional reactions and pathos) is very much not the Spider-man I knew as a kid. Still fun, but Tobey will always be my Peter Parker, even if he does look like a cool youth pastor.


we’ve been catching up on what we have taken to calling our Marvel education, or “Marvel-cation,” watching all the movies in chronological order. we can’t keep up – they are making them faster than we can watch! – but aside from that, we just watched Iron Man 3 and… omg, i understand it’s the character, but i am almost so DONE with Iron Man. what a dick that guy is. Robert Downey was perfectly cast to play such a self-obsessed guy. (not that Downey is, but just that he’s so believable as one).


The first two Spider-Man films are great pieces of cinema. I would be remiss to not include them as some of the finest entries in superhero cinema.

However, as a massive Spider-Man fan, trying to roll with the organic webbing made me develop a twitch.


You need MCU creme, it works!


Not directed at you @dnealy, but this argument is such a tired old bag of poop. The fact is that there are more films being made today than at any point in cinema history (except for the obvious downturn during the pandemic), more screens to see them on (except, again, the pandemic) and a far greater diversity of film subjects and directors (though women and minorities are still vastly underrepresented both in front of and behind the camera). Marvel releases maybe 2-4 movies a year, many of which are directed by auteurs who made their bones on the indie scene and, within reasonable limitations, are able to flex their vision quite beautifully. It’s easy to forget that Iron Man’s director came from an indie background and worked as a jobber actor until just two years before he began working on it. US releases have averaged around 750 per year (!!!) for the past decade, of which Marvel films, hell all superhero films, would account for less than 1/10th of 1%. It’s hard to get an exact figure on independent film releases, but this seems to imply that there are more independent films made than studio films (both terms are relatively meaningless these days, tbh), though around half never get a theatrical release (which is normal and fine; a lot of them suck! or have extremely limited appeal).

Everyone seems to be nostalgic for an era when directors were allowed to roam free and release their singular vision. Bullshit. That never happened on any reasonable scale. Even in the era of the rise of visionary directors (mid-60s to 80s), directors routinely had their work chopped up and neutered to appeal to broader audiences. Ironically, this created a hell of a secondary market for those studios and entities that retained the rights for extended/directors cuts years later.

Point is, this is a golden age of cinema in which people like Jordan Peele can seek and find funding to make great high art, but all anyone can do is kvetch about Ghost Busters remakes and crap on comics lovers like they always have. Unless someone has seen every single independent film released (and I guarantee they haven’t) and regularly supports small, independent theatres, they really don’t have much to crab about, IMO.


I still think it’s funny that everyone is still talking about Spider-Man’s organic webbing over 20 years later but hardly anyone seemed to notice that Jarvis was changed from an Alfred-the-butler knockoff into a glorified Alexa.


Oh-ho! This is not-entirely true! Jarvis as knockoff Alfred is in ‘Agent Carter’ and makes an appearance during the time travel sequence in ‘Endgame’. JARVIS the AI is named after the actual person, we just don’t get that info until after the first Iron Man movie.


Oh, I noticed. But Jarvis never figured big in my comic reading the way Alfred did for the Batman comics. He was such a ripoff of Alfred, in fact, that I saw the choice to rethink him as Tony’s personal AI assistant as one of their more inspired adaptations of the original works.

Note: Paul Bettany’s hire as Jarvis, then converting him to Vision, was also inspired. Excellent choice of casting for both roles.


I noticed, I saw it for what it really is, what that is I still don’t know.

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It says a lot about me that my first reading was “Iron Maiden” and got very excited. Then noticed the date, and reread. Still cool, but not nearly as exciting. Ah well…


Jarvis getting him with the fire extinguisher is probably the funniest bit of all the movies.


When I hear the name Jarvis, I can only think of Jarvis Cocker…

jarvis cocker 90s GIF

Would be weird to have him as your knock-off-Alfred, tho…


Is this the tune?


no, but it could be…


So I was close?


You decide!


Well if I was on Mars and the target was on Earth, I’d say I was close…


Close enough! :grin:


And there in the hole in this take.

There are very, very few of those left. None in most places. And the ones that remain tend to struggle mightily. Barring some glimmers of hope in the Alamo Draft House mold. Theatrical exhibition and distribution are insanely consolidated.

The associated consolidation in large studios allows them to dictate a lot to remaining theaters. Want the ass in seats pictures? It must be on 3 screens concurrently, you must run these 3 other pictures on 2 screen for 4 showings a day, and these 3 stinkers on at least one screen, 3 showings for at least 3 weeks.

Don’t enough have enough screens for that? Don’t get any of them. You must use our projectionist, at your expense. You must own this specific projector, bought through our close partners at Division of our Parent Company.

There is very little left in terms of independent distribution, so independent theaters must engage with the major studios to some extent. Which means either they deal with the structure above, or they don’t get much that’s a draw to show. Either tends to put them under.

So maybe it is that only half of films don’t get a theatrical release, I suspect it might be higher. But the large number of films made currently has less to do with a healthy Independent industry. Than the rush to streaming.

Netflix alone released something like 120 feature films in 2020. Now not all of those were American/English Language productions. But it also doesn’t include feature length documentaries. As Netflix is pretty much blocked from theatrical exhibition by studio collusion. And kinda doesn’t care about box office, length of run, or number of screens. Just ticking a box for awards consideration. Most of those see no theatrical release at all.

The vast, vast majority of them are also garbage. But none of them qualify as independent cinema. Netflix is a total turn and burn operation on this stuff, but you can toss every other major streamer in there for a startlingly large number of “features” produced. Then there are specialist steamers like Shudder who produce fewer but generally better features on the regular too.