This film helped bring life back to the struggling Super Hero genre after the conclusion of the Spider-Man and X-Men trilogies. It also gave birth to the Marvel Cinematic Universe which would transform the standard trilogy film dinamic into an ongoing soap opera of never-ending stories (for better or worse). Never before had the mainstream world seen Iron Man, after this he became one of the world's most recognizable super heroes.
The film was fresh, innovative, and relevant. Downey and Paltrow both deliver memorable performances. The Tony Stark role alone, provides a wide-range of commentaries about our world that viewers of all backgrounds will find compelling, entertaining, and not the least bit preachy.