Release date: May 2, 2008
The story: Self-described “billionaire genius playboy philanthropist” Tony Stark finds his carefree existence shattered when he’s taken prisoner by terrorists while overseas to sell missiles to the Pentagon. A piece of shrapnel from a bomb blast is lodged near his heart, leading him to build a power source in his chest to stay alive. That also leads him to escape, shut down his company’s weapons program, and develop a super-powered suit—the Iron Man—that allows him to fight those who would harm others. Unfortunately, his dear friend and work associate Obadiah Stane tries to kill him, building a powered suit of his own. Tony manages to defeat Stane and announces to the world that he is the mysterious Iron Man—much to the consternation of the American government.
Noteworthy events: This is the first film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The post-credits stinger is the first appearance of Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury and the first mention of the program that leads to The Avengers, the last film of Phase One.