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Iron Man

Released May 2008
Paramount Pictures.

The first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man was directed by Jon Favreau and stars Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Shaun Toub and Gwyneth Paltrow. In Iron Man, Tony Stark, an industrialist and master engineer, builds a powered exoskeleton and becomes the technologically advanced superhero Iron Man.

Marvel put the project in production as its first self-financed film, with Paramount Pictures as its distributor. Favreau signed on as director, aiming for a naturalistic feel. He chose to shoot the film primarily in California, rejecting the East Coast setting of the comics to differentiate the film from numerous superhero films set in New York Cityesque environments. Filming began in March 2007 and concluded in June. During filming, the actors were free to create their own dialogue because pre-production was focused on the action. Rubber and metal versions of the armors, created by Stan Winston’s company, were mixed with computer-generated imagery to create the title character.

Released in theaters on May 2, 2008, the film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $585 million and garnering widespread critical acclaim. Downey’s performance as Tony Stark was particularly praised. The American Film Institute selected the film as one of the ten best of the year. It was also nominated for two Academy Awards for the Best Sound Editing and the Best Visual Effects. A sequel, Iron Man 2, was released on May 7, 2010, and another sequel, Iron Man 3, was released on May 3, 2013.


Tony Stark. Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. Son of legendary inventor and weapons contractor Howard Stark. When Tony Stark is assigned to give a weapons presentation to Lt. Col. James Rhodes, he’s given a ride on enemy lines. That ride ends badly when Stark’s Humvee is attacked by enemy combatants. He survives – barely – with a chest full of shrapnel and a car battery attached to his heart. In order to survive he comes up with a way to miniaturize the battery and figures out that the battery can power something else. Iron Man is born. He uses the primitive device to escape from the cave in Iraq. Once back home, he then begins work on perfecting the Iron Man suit. But the man who was put in charge of Stark Industries has plans of his own to take over Tony’s technology for other matters. The entire Afghanistan ambush and escape sequence was filmed in and around the Alabama Hills and also in two other locations several miles away surrounding the Owens Dry Lake bed (the cave entrance and the crash in the sand dune). The overlook used for the Jericho Missile test is set up on a ridge that; overlooks almost the entire expanse of the Alabama Hills valley.

Scenes were also shot at the Olancha sand dunes where Tony Stark is rescued. The production company also used the The Olancha School, which was turned into a Terrorist camp. The schools multi-purpose room was also set up as a “cover set” where they could film inside if there were weather issues.

The Museum’s exhibit showcases the Iron Man theme with military ammo boxes, boulders and camouflage netting that were used in the movie; posters and comic book covers of the character. The exhibit features the custom tailored suit that was worn by Robert Downey Jr. during the opening scenes where he is shot and wounded.

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