In Ed’s Head… The Last Four Words Spoken in Iron Man

One thing that I love today… the last four words spoken in Iron Man.

Before I go further, I’ll stop for a spell and allow anyone who hasn’t seen the film (and has a desire to do so) to jump off the bus. The last thing I want to do with The Ed Zone is turn this into a spoiler site.

All right – now that they’re gone – I’ll pick right back up where I left off – specifically at the very moment Iron Man leaves off.

“I am Iron Man.”

Actually, Robert Downey Jr.’s full delivery – to a crowded press conference is – “The truth is… I am Iron Man.” And with that, Iron Man closes out with a nice subversive jolt to the long-established convention that comic book heroes have to live secretive, sheltered lives in a bid to safeguard their true identity. At the end of Iron Man, the egomaniacal Tony Stark stays true to form, tosses aside his pre-scripted remarks and stays true to his larger than life character by proclaiming, very publicly, that he is the mysterious metallic man that has been jet setting across the globe righting various wrongs.

What’s great about that last line is it is emblematic of the movie as a whole – a whiz-bang adventure that plays fast and loose with the normal genre conventions. Credit director John Favreau (Swingers) for that. His playful, inventive touch on the proceedings makes Iron Man so money, it doesn’t even know it.

Now, this isn’t a formal review by any stretch (after all, I’m really just focusing on one line of dialogue), but there isn’t praise enough for Robert Downey Jr.’s expert essay of Stark – a breezy, boozy billionaire who requires a massive blast to his heart to realize he still has one. Downey is a great talent and this role fits him like a glove. Word is that Favreau effortlessly lobbied the studio to plant Downey Jr. in the part (they were a bit nervous citing Downey’s prior struggles with drug addition). The effort paid off as not only does Downey Jr. do a great job breathing life to this Iron Man but the baggage he carries with him from his personal life does a fine job of coloring in the corners of this larger than life character who is brought down a few pegs before he realizes what is most important in life. And he really knows how to turn a phrase.

“I am Iron Man.”

It’s a moment that is as shocking as it is playful. Sure we’ve seen movies where the hero is unmasked (Spidey seems to lose his head piece at least once a reel) but never have I seen a hero publicly out himself to such a massive degree. In a press conference carried live – beamed across the globe – Stark stays true to form and just lets loose with – “The truth is… I am Iron Man.” And – CUT.

And that last line just sends you out of the theater with a grand, goofy grin plastered across your mug. In a script brimming with some sparkling dialogue, this little bon mot stands tall above the rest. It toys with our expectations while teasing us for Stark’s future endeavors.

The Summer Movie Season has kicked off in high gear. Now, bring on The Man with The Hat.

Comments now closed (20)

  • And that last line just sends you out of the theater with a grand, goofy grin plastered across your mug.

    Especially if you left before the post-credits sequence because you didn’t know about it…like I did.

    Incidentally, Iron Man’s identity is public in the comics, too. Though it’s a relatively recently development (last year, I think).

  • Just to clarify, I meant I left the theater early because I didn’t know about the post-credit sequence. Watched it online later.

  • Yeah – I consider the post-credit sequence sort of its own thing – like a bonus on the DVD for those willing to look for it. As you mentioned, these days there’s no reason to stick around since you can get it online the moment you get home.

  • Great write up and all true but I liked the post-credit sequence even better. I mean, Samuel L as Nick Fury!? Awesome!

    Yes, Iron Man’s identity is public knowledge in the Marvel Universe, it happened in the much-hyped Civil War 7-issue series.

  • In the comics, there have been numerous times in the past where Tony Stark was suspected of being Iron Man. A reference to this was made in the film by saying it was a bodyguard in the armor. I think it was also known at a point in time, and it was also true for a time, that Jim Rhodes was Iron Man, and later War Machine.

    Anyway, as both Poe and Carlos point out, since Civil War, he outed himself as Iron Man. I want to say it happened earlier than that too and it was explained away, or changed, but then, while I am a fan of Iron Man, I have read the book and The Avengers off and on, so I could be totally wrong.

    That said, I like what they did with the film because as you point out, it is totally fitting with his ego that he proclaim it for everyone to know. How could a guy like Stark ever keep that inside? To protect loved ones like Spidey? What loved ones?!

    Downey Jr. was possibly the best casting for an existing character ever. In any movie ever. Favreau is the man.

  • Hey Ed, don’t know if you or anyone out there still does comics (Sean?) but a new limited series is out called 1985 and I just read the first issue, too funny. (6 issues, #1 out now or wait for the trade in a few months) Here’s a quick write-up from CBR.com
    Written by Mark Millar and on sale in May, the the long-rumored, long-delayed series follows Toby, a 13-year-old fan of Marvel Comics. in Toby’s world — which is our world of the 1980s — superheroes and supervillains don’t exist except on the pages of comic books.. at least until they break into our reality and begin wrecking havoc. Told from the point of view of a child of the ’80s and full of high-energy action, “1985” is said to be a spiritual sequel to Marvel’s seminal (or infamous, depending on the reader’s sensibilities) “Secret Wars.”
    http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=15923

  • @Carlos: Yup, still a big reader… or at least buyer… I’m way behind… anyway, I did want to pick this up yesterday, but it was out of stock. Should have more next week. I really like Millar’s writing, so I’m looking forward to this one. If you haven’t been reading Kick-Ass, that is also by Millar and a lot like 1985.

  • @Sean. Cool, I’m with you, way behind. I do really well with new titles and little series, like 1985 or Civil War, Secret Invasion. Ultimates 3 Rocks! But I’m behind on like Ult. SM, Y the Last Man, Ex Machina. I’ve heard that about KA, like three times now, I’ll have to pick it up, thanks. Millar is awesome, agreed. I love all the good writers really, Vaughn, Loeb, Brubaker, Ellis…It makes such a huge difference. Hey Ed, can you give us a Comics Blog Page? 🙂

  • @Carlos & Sean: Sean, this might be a good idea for your site – similar to Jason’s action figure site. Maybe a re-redesign of O81 is in order.

    Carlos – Sean’s collection completely scares the hell out of me. He has stacks and stacks of books just waiting for reading and eventually they will bury him. That said, he is the resident expert (and this site’s web designer) so I think we should appeal to him to set something up for you guys and anyone else interested.

    What say you, OB?

  • Hahaha… well, I’m definitely not going to take a plunge like Jason did with Poe Ghostal, but I was thinking I’d start posting about comics on my blog as I caught up. It’s all about audience demand as to whether I do I guess.

    @Carlos: Sounds like we have a bunch of titles in common. I actually just blasted thru the first 9 volumes of Y: The Last Man and turned them over to Ed. I am eagerly anticipating 10: The Last Volume to see how it all turns out. Should be out in two weeks! Ed’s stepbrother-in-law (is that right? hahaha) actually recommended Ex Machina to us as well, so I’ll probably grab trades of that next.

    @Ed: You are right about being buried. If I have not caught up by the end of the year, then I am going to stop buying. Hold me to it! There’s no point to buying them if they aren’t read. Even with that, I think I am going to start jumping more on board with buying them in trade form. The single issues are probably never going to be worth retiring on anyway 😉

  • @Sean Funny, in reading this post it all came together for me- I know this sounds stupid but when I first found this site and read through a lot of it, I did realize it was “Sean” that was Ed’s buddy and the webmaster. Didn’t put that together untill this last post. Anyway, it was a slight a-ha moment for me. Well, I do have plenty of stacks but I hate admitting it. I really do try. True on the trades, but still like to have the books most of the time. Some covers are just extraordinary. Read most of The Boys in trades only, rough book but pretty good. Lots of old stuff in trades or those really cool hardcovers like The Long Halloween, Sandman, Batman Hush. Watchmen I bought in trade, still can’t get into it though, On the site: Audience demand is rough, I’d be there though! These posts are probably enough.

  • @Carlos – I hear you on Watchmen. I only dabble these days (I used to read several titles religiously in the 90’s but these days, videogames take up the slight leisure time we Dad’s get in diminishing increments) – anyway, I digress, despite the fact that I only dabble, I have been keeping time of late with some of the iconic titles that Sean tosses my way. He threw Watchmen and V for Vendetta (LOVED THE MOVIE) at me during my post-surgery recuperation and I found Watchmen (especially all the cutaways to the pirate comic and the newsletters, etc) to be hard to get into. I appreciate what Moore is going for, and he certainly has constructed an intricate universe, but his style can be tough to crack. I’m interested in the flick however as I really dug Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake and liked 300 more on subsequent viewings (the first time I saw it, it left me cold, even though I am a huge Frank Miller fan).

    I’m currently cracking Y: The Last Man and it’s really hooked me from the opening pages. You can see why shows like Lost and Heroes have courted these comic writers over the years. Guys like Brian K Vaughn really know how to spin a yarn. If 90’s comics were all about the art (the Liefeld, Lee, McFarlane era) then this decade has seen the blessed resurgence of the writer (which of course, aims clearly at what makes me tick).

  • @Ed- Yeah I tried reading League of Extraordinary Gentlemen too and couldn’t finish it. I’ll definitely check out the movie, for the same reasons. And yeah I get Moore too but wow with him sometimes. Which console do you use? I’ve really wanting a Wii because my brother in law says my son (5) would really enjoy it. I loved Zelda back in the late 80’s. Y rocks! I’m behind too but love it. And Vaughn and Loeb- incredible, their books and the shows. Loeb worked on Smallville too.

  • And Loeb works on Heroes now too. Those comic guys are all over the place… now if only the TV guys could finish their comics… I’m looking at you Lindelof… that Ultimate Hulk v. Wolverine isn’t going to finish itself… aw, who am I kidding? It will never be finished.

    You hit the nail on the head Ed… the 90’s were all about the art, but now it is all about the writing. I could now care less who is drawing a book, but rather want to make sure it is a good writer. Millar, Bendis, Ellis, Loeb, Morrison and old stalwarts like Claremont and David are my current faves. Vaughan is very quickly getting there… Runaways was my first exposure (I think) to him and as I said, I totally devoured Y (glad you’re enjoying it too).

    With you guy’s on Moore… he’s a tough read sometimes. All the pirate crap was just noise to me. League never interested me, so about the only Moore story I haven’t read, that I still want to, is The Killing Joke. It is pretty much only available in hardcover right now, so I’m going to wait for the next softcover printing.

    As for buying actual issues, man… it would be tough to stop buying some of the series I have been collection since 86! Agree with you on the covers too, but then, they sit inside boxes, so you forget… someday I’ll have a Mantown and create a comic display wall like Mr. Glass had in Unbreakable. Although that was substantially greater, so maybe it is a cross between that and Brodie’s basement in Mallrats.

  • @Carlos – Yeah, we have a Wii and an XBOX 360. I’m a huge Nintendo fan (LOVE The Legend of Zelda series) so that’s part of the reason we got one. The other part is I knew it would be a good system for the family. Your 5 year old son would definitely love it.

    The cool thing with the Wii is they have a feature called the Virtual Console which lets you download classic Nintendo (and Sega) games direct from Nintendo’s servers to the system. Meaning you can grab that old Zelda or Super Mario Bros. and show your son the games you plaed as a kid.

  • That’s awesome stuff on the Wii. I’m doing it. Now to find one….I forgot about Killing Joke! That one I liked but it’s been a while. The new HC is redone or “remastered” so the colors are better, so they say. I would LOVE to have a wall like that displaying all the issues/covers, that would be incredible. There’s a new “portfolio” out with 12 of Adam Hughes’ cover art pieces. Got permission from the Mrs to frame and hang some of them so that’s a start! You know, what’s getting really difficult with storing these issues? I used to collect runs, titles, following the character. Now I follow writers, no runs, not exactly at least. The only run I have to finish before I die is ASM (wishful thinking) but everything else now- it’s all so choppy, like FF, scattered issues, now I started again with #554 for Millar. Batman, picked up again for RIP by Morrison. Makes for a mess with numbering and choppy runs, coming from an ex librarian! Oh, regarding the Gravatar, I’m on it!

  • @Carlos: Okay, this is getting really good… you need to go read Ed’s cousin’s blog (Poe Ghostal)… specifically this post. He’s looking for someone that’s read Morrison’s Batman RIP… and he’s… wait for it… currently a librarian.

    As for reading writer’s runs instead of just collecting full book runs, I think that’s where picking up the trades would be really handy. No worries about having missing issues for series you don’t normally collect every month. Of course, I’m saying this without practicing myself, but I am seriously considering it for adoption in the near-term future as long as I believe the run would be released in trade form.

  • @Sean – Ha! Too Funny! OK. I’ll check it out.
    Good point on the trades but yes, difficult to do. Easier with some; like Richard Donner’s Superman, liked the first one OK, am NOT going to buy the issues and I’ll buy the trades. Funny too, lots of times I’ll buy the isses then wait and read a run in one shot, like Alex Ross’ 12-issue Justice.

  • @Sean- BTW, Fell and Criminal, other great titles. Like the Anita Blake stuff too (trying to catch up as you can tell). Also, are you reading Secret Invasion and Avengers Invaders by Ross and Krueger? Interesting, usually this stuff is outside the M universe. Notice Doom and Cap are everywhere? If you count Skrull stuff in Invasion, old Cap in Invaders, and 1985 and current FF title with Doom?? Something’s up.

  • Yes on Secret Invasion and Avengers/Invaders. I have the issues, but haven’t read any yet. I’m sure they have something planned to bring Cap back since before they killed him, it is only a matter of time.