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Iron Man Case Study

Rob Miller | Wednesday March 12, 2014

Categories: GCSE, WJEC GCSE, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, Hollywood Films, Iron Man, Genres & Case Studies, Action, Action Adventure, Adventure, Science Fiction, Superhero, Hot Entries

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Paper 1 | Superhero Film Case Study | Iron Man (2008)

Institutional Factors

  • Literary Origins
  • Production and Funding
  • Distribution
  • Cast and Crew

Iron Man is a successful film franchise - Iron Man 2 (2010), Iron Man 3 (2013) and rumours of Iron Man 4 are all based on Marvel Comics characters developed by Stan Lee in 1963. In terms of the 1960s comics, ‘Iron Man’ Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr. in all three films) is an American billionaire playboy, industrialist and engineer who suffers a severe chest injury during a kidnapping after which his captors force him to build a weapon of mass destruction. Instead, he creates a powerful suit of armour to save his life and escape. The basic story of the comic books and films is reliant on this stand-alone narrative event as he uses the suit to save the world through his corporation, Stark Industries. Stark integrates military weaponry into his suit to help him fight crime which placed into the 1960s institutional context, was a vehicle for Stan Lee to explore Cold War themes like the role of American technology and business in the fight against communism (mainly Russia and the ‘eastern block’).

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Iron Man the film in 2008 and subsequent films map no longer relevant Cold War themes onto fighting corporate crime and terrorism, more 21st century concerns. The film is owned by the Marvel Cinematic Universe who are a franchise and shared fictional universe, independently produced by Marvel Productions. Other films that share this cinematic universe include The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers. As with Iron Man 2, the film was distributed by Paramount Pictures and also with Iron Man 3 stars Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, his personal assistant and love interest/girlfriend who is CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Stark Industries in Iron Man 3.

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