Iron Man
2008
***½
Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard, Shaun Toub, Leslie Bibb, Faran Tahir

Marvel Cinematic Universe kicks off with the origin story on Iron Man. Tony Stark is a smug billionaire playboy/technical genius/arms manufacturer who is abducted by Afghan insurgents and forced to assemble one of his new super missiles. Instead he builds a suit of armour and breaks out, which inspires him to work for good from there onwards. The first hour, when Stark develops, refines and tries to get to grips with his Iron Man outfit, is thoroughly enjoyable. Then the villain copies the suit in five minutes, and the film becomes a more implausible superhero story which rushes to a mechanical showdown. Robert Downey Jr. is a wonderful piece of casting. Followed by Iron Man 2.