May 9, 2008 at 4:01 am #1311
I wrote this for another site last week. Thought I’d post it here too.
Tony Stark. What can I say about him? Industrialist, billionaire, playboy….arrogant, self obsessed, alcoholic, womanizing jerk who still charms you into doing whatever he wants.
There are many words to describe Tony Stark, but only two words to describe this movie, one of which I will have to censor:
Iron Man starts off the summer blockbuster season with a bang, and Marvel, who must have been nervous about their first solo adventre into movie-making, will be breathing a sigh of relief and hopefully, be looking to do the same with Captain America and Thor. Heck, maybe they could even look into buying the F4 movie rights back from Fox in preperation for Avengers.
Now, there may be some spoilers, I’ll try to keep the review as spoiler-free as possible, but I can’t make any promises. So if you don’t want to know anything, click away now, just in case…oh but before you do, a word of advice, sit through the entire end credits, believe me it will be worth it.
Ok, for those of you who haven’t left, here’s the lowdown. Tony Stark, played brilliantly by Robert Downey Jr. is a genius, and he knows it. He builds weapons for the military, the latest of which is called the Jericho. Following a demonstration of the weapon in Afghanistan, he is captured by a terrorist group called "The Ten Rings" (Yeah, I kinda geeked out at that one) who want Stark to build them a version of the Jericho for themselves.
And that’s all you need to know. The movie guides you through the rest of the story perfectly, and I’m not going to spoil it here.
This is Favreau’s first big action movie and he does a solid job. The movie is well paced for the most part and the action isn’t bogged down by flashy Michael Bay slo-mo quick cutting, or Cloverfield levels of shaky cam. he captured the action well and we know from past experience that he has a solid grip on framing humor, and Iron man is no different.
The script is one of the better ones to come out of Marvel in recent years, although it’s hard to comment on it beyond supplying the general framework of the story as much of what appears on the screen is improvised, and it works really well.
Jeff Bridges is a nice guy…in all of his movies, I always find him to be almost too nice, even when he’s not trying to be. I had my doubts about whether he could pull the role of Stane off, but in the end he did a very good job. There’s not much else I can say about him. He did what was required and worked very well with the other cast members who shared screen time with him. A good overall performance.
I love Gwyneth Paltrow, seriously I want her to break up with the guy from Coldplay and come play naked twister with me. She is just so damn sweet. Her chemistry with Downey Jr. is clear to see and she plays the role of Pepper Potts with grace and a smile that could melt iron.
I feel sorry for Terrance Howard. The man is a great actor and in any other movie, he would be the lead. Heck, he probably would have made a good Tony Stark. But he is relegated to a strictly supporting role as James Rhodes, or "Rhodey" in this film. I feel sorry for him because he’s an actor that deserves to be centre stage. Having said that, he plays well alongside Downey Jr. and
while I feel sorry for Howard in this film, we all know, including him, what’s in store for Rhodey in the future and the movie does well in setting Rhodey up as a character who can take on the mantle of War Machine in the inevitable sequel.
Saving the best for last, Robert Downey Jr. the man is an enigma. One of the finest actors in the world, with such immense talent but he was in danger of throwing it all away. In the last few years, he has gotten his act together and the movie world is seeing the benefits of that. He always threatened to become a major star, and with this movie he has broken through. He is Tony Stark. He is Iron Man.
His comic timing is perfect,and adds a real likability to the character. Stark is the type of guy who goes to bed with a woman and then gets his assistant to make sure she leaves in the morning. He can be a real jerk, but you still find yourself liking the guy and Downey Jr. plays it perfectly. He appears in 90% of the movie…he’s carrying the whole film on his shoulders and he does it without breaking a sweat.
We’re not just talking about good casting here…we’re talking about a Christopher Reeve level of casting…the man is simply perfect for the role and you can tell he had a lot of fun making the film.
One thing I have to mention are the effects, both practical and digital. I couldn’t tell them apart…in recent years, WETA had been threatening to steal ILM’s crown as the best effects house in the world, but with Davy Jones, Optimus Prime and now Iron Man, ILM have cemented their place as the greatest. their work in this movie is flawless and combined so well with the practical stuff that I couldn’t tell which was which. At no point was I thinking "Oh that’s cgi" even when I knew in my head that it was a shot that had to be cgi because it was impossible to shoot for real. As far as I was concerned, I was simply watching Iron Man flying across the screen. When the time comes to do Man of Steel, I hope Singer will have the money and the sense to hire ILM. They’re always pushing boundaries, well now they’ve gone beyond them.
The movie isn’t perfect however…the score was ok but it could have been better. I think there was an over-reliance on rock and metal for the soundtrack and needed a bit more of a classical score to round it out.
Also, while the movie was well paced for the most part, I still think it was about 10 minutes too short. There are a few scenes that I found myself wishing had gone on a bit longer, especially the climax.
Aside from those two aspects, I’m really struggling to find faults with the film. I might have preferred a movie involving The Mandarin, but this isn’t about that. This film is about how Tony Stark becomes Iron Man,and there are certainly hints that will lead to a confrontation with his arch nemesis in the future. In fact, for anyone who is sick of origin stories, see this movie and you may find yourself changing your mind.
I guess I should sum up…well as I said already, it’s a great movie to start off the summer blockbuster season. The cast is great, the script is solid, and Robert Downey Jr. is simply awesome. This is one of the best comic book adaptations to have come out in recent years and I am looking forward to see what else Marvel can do. I also wouldn’t be opposed to Favreau directing Avengers if and when it happens. In fact I think the guys at Warners should pay attention to how Marvel are going about setting up a team-up movie.
Finally, I’ve said already…stay until the end of the credits…do not leave. Trust me, it’s worth it. In fact it got the biggest cheer of the whole movie.
It’s a fun comic book adaptation, well worth seeing whether you have read the comics or not and I have no trouble in giving Iron Man a final rating of:
8/10[/quote:1t0bp690]May 14, 2008 at 6:26 pm #5018
Damn I didn’t wait until the end of the credits…now I really want to know what happens!
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