Iron Man was the flagship entry for the MCU, and its success is widely attributed to Robert Downey Jr.’s charismatic portrayal of Tony Stark. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the final scene where Stark flips the script on superhero movie tropes and forsakes a secret identity. As MCU head honcho Kevin Feige revealed to Deadline, Stark was originally supposed to deny being Iron Man. Downey Jr. went off script and Feige and co. Decided to stick with it because it seemed true to the character. With this, the Iron Man franchise was able to forgo many of the tired tropes that define superhero movies, like having to hide the secret identity and balance a personal life, and dive deeper into universe building. This flexibility has made the MCU into the most ambitious cinematic universe.

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