The National Film Registry is a selection of movies chosen by the Library of Congress for their cultural, historic or aesthetic importance to preserve the US nation’s film heritage. There are only 850 films in the registry, spanning 120 years, from 1891 to 2011. And one of the new selections made in 2022 is the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – Iron Man (2008).
The 25 movies chosen in 2022 cover a diverse range – from seminal classic rom-com When Harry Met Sally, to John Waters’ musical Hairspray, to Brian de Palma’s influential horror movie Carrie, to the animated movie that kickstarted the Disney renaissance – The Little Mermaid.
Some worthy additions include the 70s Blaxploitation movie Super Fly, 1990 comedy House Party, the experimental queer classic Scorpio Rising, and Dee Rees’ Pariah – which becomes the newest film in the registry, with its release date of 2011. The inclusion of Marvel’s Iron Man may be considered controversial to some. It’s not the first comic book movie in the registry, as The Dark Knight (also from 2008) is already there.
Kevin Feige responded to the news by saying; “Iron Man was the very first film Marvel Studios independently produced. It was the first film that we had all of the creative control and oversight on, and it was really make or break for the studio.”
“All of our favourite movies are the ones that we watch over and over again and that we grow up with. The notion that here we are, almost 15 years after the release of Iron Man, and to have it join the Film Registry tells us it has stood the test of time and that it is still meaningful to audiences around the world.”
It makes sense that of the now 30 films in the MCU, the one to be selected for preservation is the very first. It kickstarted a behemoth, and has permanently changed the modern movie landscape – for better, or worse.
Iron Man may be the most important Marvel movie, but where does it come in our MCU ranking?