'Iron Man' - Tony Escapes the Cave

It’s hard to forget your first time. Iron Man set the stage for all that came afterwards, and director Jon Favreau smartly structured the film as a bit of a mystery so that audiences wouldn’t be looking at their watch waiting for “Iron Man” to finally appear. When the suited character finally appears onscreen, he makes the grandest of entrances as Tony busts out of the cave in the Mark I armor, immediately following an incredibly tense buildup while the suit powers on. It works so well not only because it looks really cool, but also because we as viewers have become emotionally invested in Tony’s survival through Favreau’s fractured structure. We desperately want Tony to make it out of that cave, so when he finally does, it’s an absolutely joy. But then Favreau caps the sequence off with a note of sadness in the death of Yinsen, whose sacrifice serves to inform Tony’s actions throughout the rest of the film. Thrills, character, and emotion all coalesce perfectly in Marvel’s first—and second-best—action sequence.

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