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Ahead of Avengers: Infinity War, we examine Iron Man at 10

Ten years ago, the first Iron Man film opened with an un-ironic MySpace reference. Oh, how times have changed.

Disney/Marvel Studios

Ten years ago, Iron Man opened with Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark sitting in a Humvee with three airmen in Afghanistan. One of them asks Stark if he can take a picture, not a selfie, with the billionaire. Stark obliges saying he "better not see this on MySpace" as a soldier snaps a photo on a point-and-shoot camera.

Before Infinity Stones and even a hint of Thanos, Marvel opened with an unironic MySpace reference, point-and-shoot cameras rather than a cellphone, and pictures, not selfies. The godfather of the Marvel Cinematic Universe debuted more than a decade ago, and its age is showing like a dad at a middle school dance. But Stark predicted a lot of the significant modern comforts we enjoy today -- except for one, but more on that in a moment. Below are some of the major technological advancements the movie had before the rest of the world. 

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Nice flip phone, Dad

Tony Stark, the billionaire playboy philanthropist, is at the cutting edge of technology for his time and uses a video calling service to get in touch with Obadiah Stane about the sale he just pulled off. This was two years before Apple announced FaceTime in June of 2010, a service that would herald in widely available video calling. To make matters worse, Stark doesn't use an iPhone or an Android to make these calls. He uses an LG VX9400, which is a flip phone. 

'Built in a cave with a box of scraps'

The entire first act of the movie follows Stark building the Mark I Iron Man suit from a box of spare missile components. Ultimately, the armor ends up with wrist-mounted flamethrowers, strength-augmenting exoskeletons and rocket boosters that flew him to safety. From a 2008 perspective, Stark is a technological god. But 10 years on, Stark should be seen as the spirit animal of the DIY movement on top of being a futurist. In the last few years, we've seen factory workers get equipped with exoskeletons, YouTubers build homemade flamethrowers, and a dude fly around a pond with jet engines strapped to his arms. 

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Hey, Jarvis

Whenever we see Stark at home, his electronic butler manages the house. Specifically, in the extended prologue, we see Jarvis making a wakeup call, complete with weather conditions and traffic. Additionally, we see Jarvis taking notes for Stark while he's building the Mark II and III suits. Short of the snarky commentary, the viewer doesn't see anything spectacular that the CNET smart apartment couldn't do -- though, we've yet to see Alexa provide an opinion on color schemes for power armor.

'Throw a little hot-rod red in there'

Additionally, we see Stark design his Mark II and III suits entirely with an augmented-reality system. This is comparable to how the auto industry designs cars with Microsoft's Hololens -- albeit with a headset instead of a hologram-projecting table. 

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We'll give it to shell head. His version is cooler. 

Marvel

'Something big for 15 minutes' 

Arguably, the most impressive part of the Iron Man tech is the Arc Reactor: that glowing ring of light that's synonymous with the character for the majority of the MCU's existence. Currently, the world doesn't have a power source that pumps out the "three gigajoules per second" while being the size of a soda can. Maybe Elon Musk has something up his sleeve. 

arcreactor.jpg
Video screenshot by Anthony Domanico/CNET