Avengers: Age of Ultron is upon us and before long, we will be debating if this multi-million exercise in saving humanity will make multi-billion dollars or not.
But before that happens, let's raise a toast to a man, and his machine, which makes Avengers so damn cool. The man, ladies and gentlemen, is Iron Man aka Tony Stark.
In fact, we are going to say it out aloud, in this day and age of tortured superheroes with deep-rooted issues, he is the coolest of them all. That sweet irony is not lost on us -- the man doesn't even have a superpower per se. He gets all his powers from a suit which, to paraphrase Obadiah Stane from Iron Man, was "built in a cave with a box of scraps".
And that, my dear Watson, is what makes this billionaire, playboy, genius and borderline cocky man so much fun. Here are the five reasons why when we watch Avengers: Age of Ultron this weekend, we will be saying three cheers for him.
Can you imagine any other actor who can play Iron Man with this amazing mix of bravado, infectious charm, brash attitude, swagger and honesty? No, you can't and neither can we. And to think that the actor was not Marvel's original choice to play Iron Man! In fact, they took him on with a sense of trepidation given his checkered past and drug abuse history. But the truth is Downey Jr is Tony Stark - a rich man with issues who decided to rebuild his life after a traumatic incident. And all that spit and swagger? Yeah, that's the actor too. Check out any of his interviews and it will be a task to tell Stark from Downey Jr.
Why take on thugs when you can destroy terrorists?
In the post-apocalyptic world after 9/11, just taking on small-time thugs doesn't make sense anymore. Iron Man, which came out in 2008, saw the superhero taking on terrorists. He actually flew into Middle-East and destroyed their ops. He is a vigilante we both want and fear, only the film presents him in such a way that we forget that Iron Man kills at discretion and is not answerable to anyone.
Other superheroes hide behind their masks. Iron Man comes out and announces it. He is not perfect and he loves that. And he makes sure that we love his eye-popping, rapid-fire persona. How on earth can the other superheroes with their angst issues and cartoonish perfection match this one? Spiderman, Superman, Batman and other men in superhero suits spend a lot of time in existential crisis brought on by their 'differentness'. Stark may have some daddy issues but hardly any angst. He would rather get over it.
From a B-rung comic hero to Marvel universe's superstar
Iron Man was never more than a B-rung superhero of comic-dom till Jon Favareau and Downey Jr came together to turn him into a superstar of the Marvel cinematic universe. The film was non-scripted (gasp, gasp) but had toe-curling action, a hero who said lines like 'Give me a scotch. I'm starving' and decided to take responsibility. Iron Man 2 was, in Stark's words, was a "Hum-drum-vee and not a fun-vee". Avengers saw him as a captain of the enterprise, its brains and fun element. Iron Man 3, that billion-dollar spinning joyride, was the final word. Avengers: Age of Ultron is the one where he makes a mistake and then picks the pieces. And like always, he would do it with a charisma and style all his own.
The superhero and his toys
From his AI sidekick Jarvis to the mighty Hulkbuster that can go man-o-man with The Hulk, Iron Man is the one who makes those stupendous toys. Check out the epic fight above.