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What Marvel Movies Came Before Iron Man?

When it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Iron Man is often cited as the film that started it all. But did you know that there were several Marvel movies that came before it? Let’s take a look at the films that paved the way for the MCU we know and love today.

The Early Marvel Films

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Marvel began licensing its characters to various studios for film adaptations. While these films are not technically part of the MCU, they helped establish Marvel’s presence in Hollywood and set the stage for future superhero blockbusters.

One of the earliest Marvel films was 1998’s Blade, starring Wesley Snipes as a vampire hunter. The movie was a surprise hit and spawned two sequels. Another early success was 2000’s X-Men, which introduced Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and kickstarted a franchise that would last for nearly two decades.

Other notable early Marvel films include Daredevil (2003), Elektra (2005), and The Punisher (2004). While these movies may not have been critical darlings, they helped keep Marvel in the public eye during a time when superhero movies were not yet seen as lucrative blockbuster material.

The Incredible Hulk

Before Mark Ruffalo took on the role of Bruce Banner, there was another actor who played the Hulk: Edward Norton. In 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, Norton starred as Banner, with Liv Tyler playing his love interest Betty Ross.

While The Incredible Hulk is technically part of the MCU, it often gets overlooked due to its lukewarm reception from audiences and critics. The film was meant to be a reboot of sorts after 2003’s Hulk, but it failed to capture the same magic as later MCU films.

Iron Man

And now we come to the film that started it all: 2008’s Iron Man. Directed by Jon Favreau and starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, Iron Man was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $585 million worldwide.

Not only did Iron Man kickstart the MCU, but it also helped launch Downey Jr.’s career into the stratosphere. The actor would go on to star in several more Marvel films, becoming one of the most beloved characters in the franchise.

The Future of Marvel

Since Iron Man’s debut over a decade ago, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has exploded in popularity, with numerous sequels, spin-offs, and crossovers. Marvel shows no signs of slowing down either, with upcoming films like Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings set to expand the universe even further.

While Iron Man may have been the catalyst for the MCU we know today, it’s important to remember that there were many other Marvel films that came before it. These movies helped set the foundation for what would become one of Hollywood’s most successful franchises.