Why Was the First ‘Iron Man’ So Good? We Can Thank Jeff Bridges’ Script Rewrites
When you ask Marvel fans what their favorite Marvel movies are, more often than not, 2008’s Iron Man will be on their list somewhere. Even those who don’t consider themselves superhero movie aficionados will agree that Iron Man is still one of Marvel’s best, if not the best. Jeff Bridges’ Obadiah Stane is also one of the best MCU villains, but apparently he was more of a hero during the movie’s production. Bridges revealed that he, Robert Downey Jr, and Jon Favreau actually reworked parts of the script days before shooting started.
Iron Man — we read the script, and it wasn’t really right, you know? We had two weeks’ rehearsal, and we basically rewrote the script. And the day before we were going to shoot, we get a call from the Marvel guy, saying, ‘Oh, no, no, no. None of this is right.’ So we would muster in my trailer and rehearse while the guys were in the studio tapping their foot, saying, ‘When are they going to come?’ We were still trying to figure out the [scenes] we were going to shoot.
Iron Man was made at exactly the right time, before Marvel perfected their (arguably repetitive, at this point) superhero movie formula: it was a superhero origin story before we were all sick of superhero origin stories, and its plot was pretty uncomplicated and more like a spy-action flick than anything else. There’s no weird magical mythology to keep straight in your head because Tony Stark has no superpowers, he’s just a really smart guy who learns not to be quite so self-centered all the time. And Stane, the best friend and mentor who eventually betrays our hero, is just a regular guy who goes from ambitious to megalomaniacal over a character arc that comes off as remarkably convincing. Bridges is an actor who enjoys taking the time to really get into the heads of his characters, so iron man is no doubt all the better for his rewrites.
Not to mention that “TONY STARK was able to BUILD this in a CAAAVE! With a bunch of SCRAAAPS!” is one of the best line deliveries ever.