Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months you should know, very well the long-awaited Avengers: Infinity War will be debuting in cinemas across the world on April 26.
What started out as a simple solo film in the form of 2008’s Iron Man, with only a modest production budget of $140,000,000 (over £100,000,000), has grown into one of the world’s most lucrative modern day film franchises.
Marvel Studios has certainly come a long way since Robert Downey Jr first donned his famous suit of armour as Tony Stark (aka Iron Man). So it was only right the man who was at the birth of the MCU would be the one to address those lucky audiences at the worldwide premiere in LA.
Avengers: Infinity War is not only a labour of love but it is the culmination of a 10-year journey so you can imagine for those who were there from the start, such as Downey Jr, it’s been an emotional ride.
At the premiere, Downey Jr got on stage with his fellow cast members and told the audience he had a ‘few words’. ‘Hope you all brought a bag lunch’, he intro-ed before thanking the mastermind behind it all, Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Feige.
Thanks to his vision of crafting 19 movies (so far), all somehow inter-connected, it’s the reason why we as an audience get to enjoy these blockbuster epics.
Downey praised Fiege, saying:
This is a miracle. And if any one of us took credit it would be heresy. It would be blasphemy.
He then said, ‘Screw it,’ curtsied to before Fiege, adding ‘you’re welcome!’
The Iron Avenger then spoke about ‘the past, present and future’ of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he said:
The past for me was 30 years of dependency, depravity, and despair …. otherwise known as ‘An Actor Prepares!’
The present is this moment of glory for all of us. And the future…? That is always uncertain. But looking at these friends behind me, it seems like things might brighten up after all.
Downey Jr hailed the MCU as an ‘an isolated incident’ in Hollywood where no one in their large cast was ‘in competition with each other’ instead ‘competing for each other — and for you’.
Ever the showman, Downey quipped with the crowd and Don Cheadle (who plays James Rhodes aka War Machine) as to whether he should ‘go Miles Davis’ them, a reference to the 2015 film Miles Ahead, which Cheadle directed and starred in.
Downey Jr went onto say:
If you play a superhero in one of these movies, and it works, you become a big star! And it … is … meaningless.
Unless you use that to achieve something higher. You have to take direction from peers, and your family, and occasionally even an actual director.
He acknowledged the creative challenges of directing a movie which has to intertwine with the films of other directors, as well as complying with the vision of Marvel Studios and Disney (its parent company). As well as being ‘extremely dangerous’ he compares it to a ‘crucible’ where you ‘either come out steel or dust’.
But while acknowledging they had created something amazing the lack of diversity behind the scenes was called out. However, he did praise the progression they were trying to make, giving kudos to Anna Bowden and Ryan Fleck, both of whom are currently directing the upcoming Captain Marvel film starring Brie Larson.
Now at least half a directing team is female. Making these movies is so taxing that it is clearly a woman’s job. It’s essentially gestation. But we don’t because to do that.
Downey Jr also gave a shout-out to Marvel’s latest solo movie triumph, Black Panther, adding that:
Wakanda rules the day and rightfully so. By the way, Wakanda forever!
He also did the Wakandan salute, which he thought was okay because he was ‘an honorary black man’, an obvious reference to his character in the Ben Stiller-directed comedy Tropic Thunder.
He finished his entertaining speech with an emotional conclusion saying:
This is the MCU, right in front of you. It’s all about fighting for equality. The whole idea is to make space for others to succeed, and exceed our expectations.
[The movies] are inviting us to surrender and love and be of service. They are metaphors for how our world should be — or could be one day, if we fight for it.
Gwyneth Paltrow – ‘the very first First Lady of Marvel’ also received praise among many – as well as Jon Favreau, who directed the first two films.
He ended his long, entertaining and very touching speech by claiming it ‘might be the greatest speech ever written!’ and if it wasn’t maybe he was ‘just emo and exhausted’.
Avengers: Infinity War will be in UK cinemas on April 26 and US theatres April 27.