Iron Man (2008)


See the props from your favourite film. During the exhibition ‘Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe’, the Gallery of Modern Art’s Australian Cinémathèque screens all the films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe including Iron Man 2008. This is a great opportunity to see the films which have inspired the exhibition.

Film still from Iron Man 2008 / © 2017 MARVEL

The tone for the Marvel Cinematic Universe was set with the astute casting of Robert Downey Jr as genius-billionaire–playboy–philanthropist Tony Stark in director Jon Favreau’s opening entry in the series. First created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for 1963’s Tales of Suspense #39, Stark dons the high-tech Iron Man armour to escape a foreign prison. The film balances parachuting Stark, the conflicted arms manufacturer, into modern geopolitics with a self-awareness of its comic origins.

‘I know that it’s confusing. It is one thing to question the official story, and another thing entirely to make wild accusations, or insinuate that I’m a Super Hero.’

‘I never said you were a Super Hero.’

Tony Stark and reporter Christine Everhart

When Tony’s business partner Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) attempts to harness the Iron Man suit, ‘a masterpiece of death’, for pain and profit, it is up to a newly moral Stark to bring him down. Complicated legacies, escalating aggression and balancing humanity with extraordinary powers are established as themes for the whole Universe. For Stark, there is also the Tin Man’s search for a heart, symbolised by the Arc Reactor in his chest keeping him alive.


After the film go behind the scenes and experience more than 500 artworks from Marvel’s archives and private collections which offer a glimpse into the work of production designers, storyboarding and pre‑visualisation artists, costume and prop designers, and visual effects artists with iconic objects alongside the original comic books which introduced the characters and influenced the films.

Phil Saunders / Iron Man Mark III / War Machine / Concept art for Iron Man 2008 / © 2017 MARVEL


Film notes by Dan Cameron
Feature image: Installation view of ‘Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe’, GOMA 2017 / 
Photograph: Natasha Harth © QAGOMA