Just a Quickie: Review for Iron Man

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While it may not be the timeliest of reviews, we at GGG feel that a certain movie deserves a few words said about it. You may have heard of it: Iron Man, a $150 million dollar sensation after just two weeks and the second largest non-sequel debut in film history (to another Marvel product, Spider-Man). Since it’s come out, I’ve seen it twice, and folks, it is a great one. It’s on par with X-Men and X2, Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 and with the original Superman and Batman films. Marvel took a risk, optioning a product that wasn’t as well known as Wolverine or Spider-Man, but marketed the film so brilliantly and cast so well that it was destined to be a hit the moment the first teaser hit the Internet last year.

 

If this film is any indication, if we weren’t already in it, we are entering the Age of Marvel. Buy Marvel stock now, folks. At the start of the film, instead of the usual flickering Marvel, we see it emblazoned with Marvel Studios. Marvel now is financing and making these movies on their own, with Paramount taking care of distribution. This was the ultimate high risk high reward move, and it looks to pay off with this ultra hit.

 

And it’s not just box office gold, it’s damn good. It immediately starts in the deserts of the Middle East and packs a wallop from the get go, beginning with a surprising title sequence and ending with killer credit effects. Let me just say it: the special effects are terrific. The suit just looks incredible and so cool, moving so flawlessly and with no overkill (like CGI Hulk, but then again, that’s harder to avoid) and every state of the art technology comes alive. You really can see a lot of this shit being invented soon.

 

Tony Stark, genius billionaire playboy and hard drinker and CEO of ultra profitable weapons manufacturer Stark Enterprises gets kidnapped in the Middle East (changed from Vietnam from the original origin story) and forced to create a “Jericho” missile for the bad guys (a middle eastern terrorist clan called the Ten Rings led by Raza). Oh, and also, he has shrapnel lodged near his heart that will kill him without the aid of an arc radiator that Stark fashions from missile parts. Instead of making the missile, with the help of fellow captive Yingsen, he builds a suit of armor, the first Iron Man suit to escape. From there, he questions his station in life and whether being a weapons manufacturer is the way to use his immense talents. Thus, Iron Man is born, and is forced to tussle with the U.S. Army, strife within his company and the Ten Rings from using his weapons to conquer the Middle East. The movie is sharp and crisp, and it all seems plausible.

 

You can tell that Robert Downey Jr. had a great time making this film, his first big Hollywood hit, playing Tony Stark with charisma, wit and charm, infusing considerable tongue in cheek moments that make the movie loaded with smirk worthy moments. He’s having fun, and so is the audience. Downey’s old habits as a drug addled alcoholic precedes him, and was one of the reasons he was chosen as Iron Man, and the casting, which was seen as risky at the time, now seems prescient and ingenious. The rest of the film is also superbly cast. Gwyneth Paltrow plays Pepper Pots, the fiery and delightful assistant to Tony Stark. Usually the love interests in comic book movies leave much to desire, but in this case, Potts is in the film just the right amount, and the scenes with interactions between Downey and Paltrow are some of the sharpest of the film. One scene in particular, where Potts is called in to do an “emergency surgery” on Stark, is a highlight and romantic despite being awkward and gross. Terrance Howard plays Jim Rhodes AKA Rhodey (which is actually how he’s billed in the credits), best friend to Tony and liaison with the military. He doesn’t have a ton to do, but he shines in his limited appearances, and his role is sure to expand with the sequel, where fans will be delighted to see War Machine at work. Lastly, out of the main cast, is Jeff Bridges who plays Obadiah Stane, the VP of Stark Enterprises and longtime friend of Stark’s father. From the start, with his bald head and stunning sideburns and beard, Stane looks ominous and villainous and that he’s not entirely on the same page with Tony. To say the least, criminal acts transpire and Iron Man has to stand in the way. Hooray!

 

Jon Favreau (director of child fare such as Elf and Zathura, and also plays Stark’s bodyguard Happy) proved to be a stellar decision. The movie is just well made and sparkling visually, and Favreau made all the right choices in filming and adapting Iron Man’s story to the big screen. I’m not a huge follower of Iron Man’s past, but it seems very close to it, and updated without a hitch to today’s world (which is easy to do, because honestly Stark is the most ‘real’ superhero/character in the Marvel Universe). Iron Man is evidence that Marvel can make movies on their own and this comes with the added boon of being able to control their characters and fashioning them how they want to. I’ve seen Iron Man twice, and I’ve FUDO’s both times.

 

For another huge FUDO moment, stay after the credits.

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3 Responses to “Just a Quickie: Review for Iron Man”

  1. gokitalo Says:

    Watching this movie will make you a ladies’ man, brilliant inventor and recovering alcoholic… all at the same time! And don’t worry about FUDO’ing in public: I hear they give out special Iron Man armored underpants at the concession stands.

    Dude, interesting fact: while the film was still in pre-production, Brian Bendis, Mark Millar, Tom Brevoort, Axel Alonso, Ralph Macchio and Joe Quesada were invited onto the set of ‘Iron Man’ to read the script and give feedback. In fact, their feedback played a pretty big role in shaping the film! Check it here:
    http://www.606studios.com/bendisboard/showthread.php?t=150280
    And here:
    http://forums.millarworld.tv/index.php?showtopic=80851

    Oh, and guess who wrote part of the scene after the credits? BENDIS
    http://www.606studios.com/bendisboard/showthread.php?t=150166

  2. Aakash Says:

    I am (most likely) seeing the movie tonight.

  3. The Belated Top 25 Films of 2009 « Goki’s Giving Groin Says:

    […] 4. Iron Man: You know we’ve entered a Golden Age of superhero films when Iron Man, one of the best comicbook movies ever made, isn’t even the best comicbook adaptation of the year. That honor goes to this year’s best movie. Click here for what I said at the time. […]

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