Marvel Studios and Disney just recently launched their 14th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to great success. Doctor Strange has become the highest grossing first film for a single character and in many ways is a reflection of the movie that started it all, Iron Man. Looking back at it now, Iron Man is one of, if not the single most important and impressive films that Marvel Studios has made, but at the time it was a major risk. Marvel Studios had never made a movie before, Jon Favreau was fresh off Zathura and Elf, and Robert Downey Jr. was a troubled actor struggling for work.
Still, all parties moved along in making a film that turned out to be much better than anticipated. Jeff Bridges was tasked to play their first villain, Obadiah Stane, and his involvement in the project made people take it slightly more seriously. However, with it being the first film made by this studio, there were sure to be a few roadblocks to get through. One of those according to Bridges was the script, or lack thereof, which forced him to change his approach.
Bridges participated in an interview with Matthew McConaughey as part of a series by Variety and his time on Iron Man was a topic discussed. He recalls many days when he would show up to set not knowing what he was going to do or say, but he learned to roll with these struggles.
I like to be prepared. I like to know my lines. It turned out that many times — 10, 12, 15 times — we would show up for the day’s work, not knowing what we were gonna shoot. All the guys in the studio are sitting there tapping their foot, looking at their watch, and we’re sitting in my trailer trying to figure out my lines. I made a little adjustment in my head. That adjustment was – Jeff, just relax, you are in a $200 million student film, have fun, just relax.
Luckily for Bridges and everyone else involved, these problems appeared to figure themselves out for the best. Iron Man is still regarded as one of Marvel’s better films, but as they now appear to always be in a perfect situation, this shows that even they had to go through some rough patches to start.
Marvel has built up the reputation over the past few years of a studio that can do no wrong and always being one, two, or 20 steps ahead of everyone else. This may be the case sometimes, but it is also easy to forget that they are doing things now with years of experience under their belts. For the most part, the same people in positions of power work on every film and they have started to bring more people back for multiple projects. This has worked out in their favor more times than not as of right now, and it is difficult to imagine that changing completely moving forward.
Marvel Studios has adapted their model to fit into the Hollywood machine and produce a large amount of content every year while superhero movies continue to be some of the biggest properties in existence. While they have strung together a series of successful outings, each one has had some sort of trouble at some point during various stages of production. They have so far found a way to correct these troubles, for the most part, and Bridges’ experience on Iron Man shows a young studio that has since learned from their mistakes.