Fifteen years ago, the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off with a grounded take on one of their most ____ characters ever. Debuting in 1963, genius billionaire playboy philanthropist Tony Stark became a founding member of the Avengers and also an alcoholic. For the film, director Jon Favreau and producer Kevin Feige cast Robert Downey, Jr., an actor with his own history of substance abuse. Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Terrance Howard round out the cast of what was only 2008’s eighth-highest grossing film. (For context, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came in at #2 and Hancock was #4.) Nevertheless, the film launched what would become a blockbuster film and TV universe that currently stands at 31 films with over $28 billion made at the box office, with Downey Jr. becoming Hollywood’s highest-paid actor. But is the first film of the franchise as ironclad as we remember, or is it looking a little rusty these days? The truth is… I am IRON MAN!
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