I actually reviewed Iron Manback when I was working for The Sounds Newspaper (though they didn't have a website back then). At the time, I wrote:
"Iron Man is the quintessential summer movie. It mixes action and humor together in the entertaining blend that has become expected of a good popcorn film. This is the kind of movie that people want to go see. While it may not have deep, thought-provoking elements or emotional drama, it provides entertainment that is too often missing from current films.I still stand by that, with the caveat that since then, I've decided that I don't necessarily think there's much point to telling stories people don't want to hear. The truth is, I want to write stories that have action and humor but aren't completely mindless (like Fast Five).
Not too much
I mentioned that Iron Man does away with the classic villains, and even though it hints at the larger Marvel universe with the introduction of S.H.I.E.L.D. and an after-the-credits cameo by the great Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury, it doesn't overdo things and keeps the story focused on Tony Stark. Iron Man 2 didn't manage to pull this off, and even though it turned out better than Spider-man 3, it still became overly convoluted with too many characters and heroes being tossed around.
Setting in cultural context
One of the things Iron Man did well was set its story into the cultural context of the time it was made--one that hasn't actually changed much since then. Tony Stark's captivity in Afghanistan and the thought of American corporations selling weapons to the highest bidder were--and still are--easily believable and recognizable to the audience.