Iron Man (2008)


The Truth is … I Am Iron Man.

Avengers is still on the way, peoples, and I still have Avenger movies to review.  Having already completed Cap, Thor, and Hulk, I’ve already done three of the biggest names amongst the team, leaving one more to tie it all up.  But since the Hulk and the star of today’s movie both have sequels already, I still have three more movies to review.  Maybe four, since Wolverine was an Avenger, though he’s not a star of the movie that’s coming out.  But if I run out, that one will do.  Before I must resort to that, I still have two movies starring one of the biggest names in the Avengers, and both of those movies are WAY better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  Today’s movie is Iron Man, written by Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, and Matthew Holloway, directed by Jon Favreau, and starring Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jon Favreau, Shaun Toub, Faran Tahir, Clark Gregg, Leslie Bibb, and Bill Smitrovich.

Wealthy philanthropist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) gets himself caught in a bad situation when a group of bad guys attack a convoy he’s in.  One of his company’s own bombs goes off right in front of him, sending shrapnel into his chest.  He’s taken in by the bad guys and saved by another captive, Yinsen (Shaun Toub), by having a magnet installed in his chest to keep the shrapnel from reaching his heart.  The leader of the bad guys, Raza (Faran Tahir), tells Stark that he wants him to make one of his new Jericho missiles for them.  He agrees, but instead uses the parts they give him to make a giant, metal suit.  He uses this suit to escape, but Yinsen dies in the escape.  Stark is rescued shortly after his escape by his friend Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes (Terrence Howard), and returned to the states.  He joins up with his assistant, Virginia “Pepper” Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and his chauffeur, Hogan (Jon Favreau), and goes to a press conference with the guy that runs his company, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges).  Here, he shocks the press by announcing that his company is going to stop producing weapons.  Stark goes into seclusion and builds a much better version of the armor he used to escape, deciding that he’s going to use this armor to right the wrongs his weapons created.

Hooray for Iron Man!  This is a really fun movie, especially for a dedicated Marvel nerd such as myself.  I had never been that big of a fan of Iron Man in comic book form, but I was on board for this flick.  The story was great, but mainly just taken from the comic book, with only minor changes.  The dialogue in the movie was mostly pretty clever, and the action was pretty great, but I did have some complaints.  They changed the story of Iron Man, but only enough to make it more topical for the audience of today.  If I recall correctly, Tony Stark was taken in by terrorist type people to have him make them a weapon and he escaped using the Mark 1 Iron Man armor, but it was originally the Mandarin that took him and not some vaguely-Taliban group, but it worked and made it more relevant today.  The scene where he gets captured is a pretty awesome way to start the movie off (in no small part due to the fact that they used AC/DC’s Back in Black), but it did kind of make the military look a little inept.  I know they were ambushed, but those army dudes got walked right over.  You should at least let them put up a bit of a fight first.  The build up to, and use of, the Mark 1 armor was pretty awesome as well.  But once Stark gets the kinks ironed (PUN!) out of his armor, the debut performance of it made me blow such the nerd-load.  It also is the first (but smaller) example of my problem with the action scenes: I wanted more!  Iron Man goes in and whoops ass too quickly for my taste.  I liked it so much, but I could’ve done with some more.  The bigger problem is the final battle.  I won’t go too far into it, but Iron Man goes into the battle with a bigger robot armor, but he goes in at less than half power, so he didn’t throw down as hard as he could have.  I wanted the final battle to be an epic throwdown with two fully armed and operational suits.  I didn’t want Iron Man’s biggest enemy to be his Duracells.  The action scenes still retained a great deal of awesome, I just wanted a little more.  I really dug the greater majority of the dialogue in the movie as well.  It felt at least somewhat improvised, but sometimes too clever to actually be improvised.  Robert Downey Jr.’s first interaction with Leslie Bibb, for example.  I really liked the way he deflected every question she tried to ask him into a proposal for sex.  I liked better that it payed off.  Then I liked when Gwyn lays the total burn on Bibb the morning after.  I also liked when RDJ called his car the “Funvee” and Terrence Howard’s the “Humdrumvee”.  I would’ve liked when Howard eventually rescues Stark and says “How was the funvee?”, but I ended up thinking to myself “How many weeks were you holding on to that joke, Rhodes?”  The graphics in this movie were great, with nice explosions and what not, and Iron Man looked amazing.  But in the part where RDJ has Gwyn play a real life version of Operation on him, that prosthetic chest was not believable at all.  On the other hand, I was very pleased with Stark’s computer generated holograms that he could interact with, Minority Report style.  Especially when he was working on the hand of Iron Man and put his hand in the hologram to try it out.

I can scarcely think of complaints about the cast of this movie.  Almost everyone rocked.  I love Robert Downey Jr..  That dude’s amazing.  When I first heard he was going to do Iron Man, I thought to myself “That guy is way too good of an actor to be in a comic book movie … but I sure as hell hope no one tells him that.”  I loved him throughout the movie when he was all snarky to everyone and perhaps a little spoiled, and I also liked it when he toned that stuff down and got serious.  Jeff Bridges is also great in the movie.  He may have been too likeable as Stane at first, but when he turns at the end that’s what makes it even worse, but in a great way.  When I heard Gwyneth Paltrow was also going to be in this movie, I thought “What the hell is going on here?  Doesn’t Marvel mainly like throwing some Afflecks and Garnets at their movies, and just throw in a Patrick Stewart or Ian McKellen for flavor?”  She was also great.  She had a good deal of quiet attitude and sass to her.  That compounded with her hotness made me fall in love; a step up from when I fell in lust with her.  Can’t say I dug on Terrence Howard, though.  I’m not sure if it’s just because he wasn’t in the sequel (and was replaced by a far superior actor, in my opinion), but he just didn’t do much for me in this movie.  The best performance in the movie, hands down, was the fire extinguisher robot.  That thing was adorable and, even though RDJ was shitting on him for the entire movie, saved his life in the end.  Also, why would Stark program his AI butler, Jarvis, to be such a dick?

Iron Man is pretty awesome, but I would’ve liked it to be a little more awesome.  Great story, fantastic performances (especially by fire extinguisher robot), great dialogue, great graphics, and awesome action that I would’ve liked to see amped up just a little.  Still, fantastic and very fun movie.  You must see this movie if you haven’t yet.  I’ve purchased it twice because I had to switch over to BluRay, so the least you can do is buy it once.  The review for the sequel is comin’, so we’ll see how that one goes, but we’ve already seen how this one goes, and it goes good.  Iron Man gets “The Funvee” out of “I’m prepared to lose a few hours of sleep with you.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

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