Jon Favreau stuck his neck out when it came to casting Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in Iron Man, and given everything that’s happened since then, it’s easy to forget just how big of a risk it was for the upstart Marvel Studios to hire such a wildcard to lead the outfit’s first self-funded blockbuster.
The actor was in the very earliest stages of a comeback following a string of highly-publicized personal, professional and legal issues, to the extent where his contracts put it in writing he wouldn’t receive his salary in full until shooting was complete, just in the off-chance another incident occurred during production.
The director’s insistence that Downey Jr. play the title hero turned out to be a masterstroke, instantly cementing Iron Man as a cultural icon and rocketing the star to the top of the Hollywood A-list, completely vindicating both Favreau and his leading man in one fell swoop.
However, a new article lamenting the impact of superhero cinema has boldly proclaimed that “anybody with wit” could have brought the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist to life. Naturally, Marvel Cinematic Universe fans steadfastly disagree, as you can see from the reactions below.
When it comes to the single greatest marriage of actor and character in the history of the comic book genre, it’s impossible to look past either RDJ’s Tony Stark or Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine as the only candidates worthy of discussion. As well as completely reinventing his career, Iron Man set the template for the light, breezy and quip-filled adventures that have defined the MCU for the last thirteen years, turning it into the most successful franchise of all-time in the process.