Marvel Studios Earns Historic Placement In National Film Registry Collection

By Gillian Blum Posted:
Marvel Studios Avengers

One of Marvel Studios' earliest films made history as the first MCU film to be selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

The National Film Registry is a collection of films chosen by the Library of Congress that, according to its website, "works to ensure the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America's film heritage."

Each year, the Library of Congress selects 25 films that are at least 10 years old and considered "'culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" to preserve. Since the program began in 1988, many films from The Wizard of Oz to various films in the Star Wars franchise, to 1978's Superman have been added to the collection.

Now, Marvel Studios has a place in this vast hall. 

Iron Man Gets Historic Recognition

Robert Downey Jr, Tony Stark

The National Film Registry released its 2022 selections, including the historic addition of 2008's Iron Man.

Iron Man marks the first MCU film to be added to the collection, though it is not the first superhero film — the Robert Downey Jr. movie joins two other comic book movies, 1978's Superman and 2008's The Dark Knight, on the Registry's lauded list. Other films added in 2022 include The Little Mermaid, Hairspray, and When Harry Met Sally.

According to Variety, Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, is excited for the film's director Jon Favreau and Iron Man itself, a film that was "make or break for the studio:"

"'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.”

Feige noted his pride that Iron Man continues to be "meaningful" and that it "has stood the test of time:"

“All of our favorite 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.”

How Superhero Films Are becoming More Officially Recognized

The value of comic book movies as cinema is a hotly debated topic, with figures from both the comics and film industries weighing in. In a time of superhero fatigue, many argue about the merit of considering such movies cinema or art.

The inclusion of Iron Man into the Library of Congress' National Film Registry is a huge step toward the acceptance of comic book movies as cinema. The 2008 film is officially considered among the ranks of The Ten Commandments, The Godfather, and The Princess Bride as worthy of preservation.

Following this historic addition, perhaps other MCU favorites — and other comic book movies generally — will be included moving forward. Movies like Black Panther and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse seem to have similar nigh-universal love from fans to 2008's Iron Man and might make the list in future years.

Iron Man is streaming now on Disney+ .

- About The Author: Gillian Blum
Gillian Blum has been a writer at The Direct since 2022, reporting primarily from New York City. Though she covers news from across the entertainment industry, Gillian has a particular focus on Marvel and DC, including comics, movies, and television shows. She also commonly reports on Percy Jackson, Invincible, and other similar franchises.