First Iron Man Suit Literally Blinded Robert Downey Jr. Mid-Stunt
In the first Iron Man movie, Tony Stark’s suit was a technological marvel — but at the same time, it had a significant and potentially disastrous oversight built-in.
As we often say, the MCU as we know it began with Iron Man. When Robert Downey Jr. first took off to the sky in his brand new Iron Man suit; when he basked in the glory of his creation and decided to use it to right the wrongs in the world; when theaters all over the planet started overflowing with people who wanted to witness him do that.
That’s when the MCU started shaping into what it is today: the global hegemon.
Of course, seeing how those were still the early days of the Cinematic Universe, many things were done differently than today. The amount of CGi was far less, and creators still used quite a few practical effects, and technologies were not so advanced…you get the point. And Robert Downey Jr. had to just deal with all that.
While speaking with Cinema.com, the actor famously stated that the hardest part of Iron Man for him was “staying balanced and focused for the entirety of the shoot.” He didn’t really elaborate on this in that interview, but there were reasons other than his sheer enthusiasm that made it hard for the actor to stay “balanced and focused.”
Namely, his suit.
The first Iron Man suit was mostly practical; it was a technological wonder of sorts. However, it had quite a few oversights that could potentially cost Robert Downey Jr. a chunk of his health if something went wrong. Once, the actor was literally blinded by his suit’s LED lighting mid-stunt, and that was just as dangerous as it sounds.
“This helmet went on, and there’d be a shot, and I’d be in this whole suit, and they’d say, ‘Alright, Robert, it’s like you landed on the roof, so when we say action, just go like that, like you just landed, and then start moving forward.’ Then these LED lights went on, and it was like a Manchurian Candidate… I was absolutely blinded!” Downey Jr. shared with David Letterman on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.
This, of course, was suboptimal, to say the least, so the blinding lights situation was fixed as soon as possible — over a weeknd, one could say. But this situation alone demonstrates how young the MCU was back when the first Iron Man was in production. It’s borderline impossible to imagine such a situation in a modern Marvel movie.