Review: Iron Man

2 minute read

Iron Man Finally found a break in the busy month of May to see Iron Man; the first super hero tale you tell theatrically is always the hardest. You need to appeal to the hardcore fans of the character but tell a story that creates new fans. It must delicately balance the origin of the hero with plenty of action. Most importantly, it must make a film that has everyone clamoring for a sequel. Director Jon Favreau took a well written script and has hit all the marks to do just that.

I’ve never been much of an Iron Man devotee; my childhood interest in armored characters from the Marvel universe was consumed with Dr. Doom and his battles against the Fantastic Four. Walking into this film, I was familiar enough to know the spirit of the origin story they needed to achieve. Every superhero story starts with a life changing event; in this case, Tony Stark finds himself a prisoner in Afghanistan, severely injured by the weapons his company has manufactured. His epiphany in captivity is how empty his life is; his life’s work has done nothing but harm the world and now him.

The next step in a superhero story is building his identity; the bulk of this film dedicates time to Tony Stark building the famous suit. However, it is so tightly wound into the plot and action that it does not provide a single dull moment. From the Mark I helping Stark escape to the final suit in the film, Favreau keeps the energy high but ensures that the necessary character moments and humor are there to make Stark a hero you want to cheer.

Just as Toby Maguire and Christian Bale have stepped into and owned the roles of Spider-man and Batman, Robert Downey, Jr. has made the role of Tony Stark his; he isn’t an actor on the screen playing the part. You genuinely feel that he is Tony Stark, a man with everything at his fingertips but with nothing other than emptiness that alcohol and women can never fill. One might surmise that this tale hit bit close to home for Mr. Downey, but he has proven in this film and others that he is a genuinely gifted actor. I’ve never cared much for Gwyneth Paltrow’s performances, but her appearance in the film is brief and tolerable.

If there is more than one sequel, I certainly hope they bring Jeff Bridges back for an encore. He played the perfect villain for this film; his subtle portrayal of Obadiah Stane showed Tony Stark just how evil the world can be and that evil is not just found in the mountain lairs of terrorists. Overall, this was an entertaining two hours, but I disagree with those that feel it is better than the first two Spider-man films. I came out of those excited by the thoughts of the next sequel. I didn’t come out of Iron Man with the same level of excitement for a sequel. Perhaps this is due to my fondness for the Spider-man stories though. Would I see Iron Man 2? Yes, Favreau and Downey have proved that they can create an entertaining film around this hero. If you haven’t caught it yet, find a way to see it; this is likely the best action hero film you’ll see this year outside of The Dark Knight.

6 comments

Daniel Zelter on

Darn, I was hoping for Indy 4, but I'll give it a shot. You going to review Speed Racer, too, by any chance? [Assuming you can stay awake through it... ^_-] And yeah, Iron Man wasn't my favorite Marvel hero, either. I was into Box IV from Alpha Flight. http://www.alphaflight.net/character_galleries/jeffries/

And I normally can't stand Paltrow, and attribute her success to her father, but she was actually attractive in this one, which is the real special effect. Jeff Bridges didn't convince me he was roguish enough[Maybe it's because I keep thinking "The Dude" from The Big Lebowski.], but I agree he did a decent job.

Anyway, I don't need a sequel to this one, either, but I'm also willing to give it a shot. You never know about Dark Knight, though. If that rumoured 3-hour running time is accurate, and it's really heading into Zodiac territory with its dark material, Iron Man might dominate the year as the rich eccentric superhero blockbuster this time around. I'm still wondering if I want to sit through the Edward Norton vanity project [Oops, I mean Hulk reboot!] to see that Downey cameo.

BTW, did you stay after the credits for Iron Man?

Luis Cruz on

@Daniel x2

Haven't had a chance to see Indy or Speed yet, but I will be posting about them when I do. I didn't need Jeff Bridges to be roguish; I thought he was the perfect subtly evil businessman. He didn't have any grand illusions of world domination; he simply was greedy and quite smart in his own way. He was the perfect foil to open Tony's eyes the rest of the way to the world around him.

As for DK, even if it is three hours, I have no doubt that Christopher Nolan will make it the worth every minute. The man knows how to tell a story. As for the Hulk, I wish they gave Eric Bana a second chance. It wasn't his fault that film was a giant green turd; I thought he had the right look for Dr. Banner.

Didn't see the Silver Surfer and haven't made it through much of the first FF film. I like the chemistry created between the actors for Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm (too lazy to look up how to properly spell their real names). That felt spot on from the comics; the rest just left me with that "meh" feeling. Could care less if it continues as a franchise.

Finally, I did stay after the Iron Man credits; heard enough people at work talking about it, so I already knew what was coming. Fortunately, the news about the upcoming Marvel films leaves me hopeful that a second Iron Man film won't be a case of too many heroes spoiling the broth.

Daniel Zelter on

Oh, yeah, what did you think of those Tim Story FF movies, anyway? I actually considered the first one alright[at least compared to that low-budget Roger Corman one you can only find on bootlegs], but the second one seemed like a big-budget fanfic with the only appeal being Silver Surfer.

Daniel Zelter on
As for the Hulk, I wish they gave Eric Bana a second chance. It wasn't his fault that film was a giant green turd;

Well, I actually *liked* the Ang Lee Hulk, but people want it dumb, so now we're stuck with a PG-13 Fight Club sequel.

Didn't see the Silver Surfer and haven't made it through much of the first FF film. I like the chemistry created between the actors for Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm (too lazy to look up how to properly spell their real names). That felt spot on from the comics; the rest just left me with that "meh" feeling.

They're stopping with the second one for now. And yeah, I know how you feel about being unimpressed, since Alba ruins everything, but the effects weren't bad for a big budget Sci-Fi Channel production.</p<>

Luis Cruz on

@Daniel part trois

I didn't care for Ang Lee's take mainly because it felt more like a vehicle for him to play with some new tech rather than finding the heart of the character. For me, the Hulk has always been about a man of science forced to repress his basic humanity in order to keep a monster, one of his own creation, at bay. This version was just a jumbled mess of daddy issues combined with an overuse of split screens.

As for the upcoming reboot, haven't seen enough in the trailer to really excite me or drive me away.

Daniel Zelter on
For me, the Hulk has always been about a man of science forced to repress his basic humanity in order to keep a monster, one of his own creation, at bay. This version was just a jumbled mess of daddy issues combined with an overuse of split screens.

I thought the split screen thing was kind of nifty, but I can see why you'd get bored with it. It probably would have worked better with Silver Surfer or something.

The daddy issue thing didn't bother me, either, since I'd get bored if Banner went ballistic every time, say, some driver cut him off or someone spilled coffee on his suit. You need to really feel for the guy. I'm hoping we get Grey Hulk one of these days, though.