It feels like a lifetime ago, but it’s been exactly 14 years since Iron Man came to theaters on May 2, 2008 to change the face of cinema forever. There were doubts about the superhero blockbuster right up until the day it was released, but the first installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is now rightly regarded as one of the single most important movies in Hollywood history.
Looking back, it’s easy to forget how big of a gamble the project was at the time. Jon Favreau was best known for directing classic festive comedy Elf, but he was coming off the back of box office bomb Zathura. The title hero was hardly a household name, either, and Marvel Studios had a 34 year-old president in Kevin Feige who’d staked his name and career on Iron Man being a success.
Then there’s Robert Downey Jr., who was still in the nascent stages of comeback many believed would never happen given his well-publicized personal issues and brushes with the law, who instantly became an A-list superstar by the time the credits came up.
As you’d imagine, fans have been celebrating the anniversary of Iron Man, the action-packed spectacular that gave rise to the most popular property on the planet.
The 28th feature-length outing in the MCU comes to theaters this Friday when Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness lands, while the franchise’s sixth TV show concludes on Wednesday when the final episode of Moon Knight airs on Disney Plus, so it’s one hell of a week for Feige and his team.