Iron Man Review

by Ed Lau on May 7, 2008

Iron Man, Iron Man Movie, Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Jon Favreau

Tony Stark, head of a weapons manufacturing company, is a bit of an unlikely superhero. Robert Downey Jr. is also an unlikely casting choice as a superhero. However, there is no better actor to play the slick, womanizing Stark better than Downey, considering they’ve both had a bit of a problem with various vices. Although Stark is rich, famous and smart beyond imagination, we can see him as very human as we see him at his most vulnerable.

Early on, Stark is captured in Afghanistan by stereotypical insurgents after his convoy is decimated. What I resume is some kind of mortar gives him some life-threatening shrapnel souvenirs that would most certainly kill him as they move closer to his heart. Fortunately for Stark, a fellow prisoner fashions a crude electromagnet from a car battery that prevents the shrapnel from getting any closer. Of course, the insurgents keep them alive so Stark can make them some WMDs, which shouldn’t be too hard for a genius even if he’s given a bunch of crude tools in some sort of cave.

Iron Man, Iron Man Movie, Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Jon Favreau

Of course, the terrorists think Stark and his buddy are making missiles but what they’re actually fabricating is a early version of the Iron Man suit, complete with explosives and flamethrowers in addition to packing one hell of a literal punch. Stark manages to escape and develops a conscience, after seeing first hand how much death and destruction the weapons from his company brings.

I’m sure this is just the beginning of the Iron Man franchise, which already has a sequel planned for 2010. As such, there is a lot of dialogue and exposition, which isn’t what you’d usually expect in a summer blockbuster superhero movie. In fact, compared to other summer action films like Transformers and Spider-Man 3, the action sequences almost seem toned down. They’re certainly not as spectacular as we’ve come to expect. This is probably because Jon Favreau, who gave us one of my favorite Christmas movies in Elf and the fantastic Swingers, is a bit of an action rookie. Of course there is plenty of CG action and things blowing up but it lacks the polish and “DID YOU SEE THAT!?” of some other superhero films.

Iron Man, Iron Man Movie, Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Jon Favreau

However, don’t let this deter you. What this film has is a very real and likable title character with a great supporting cast, including Gwyenth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges and Terrence Howard. In fact, the best scenes involve exchanges between the main characters or just Downey in his basement, tinkering with various gadgets and talking with his hilarious robotic assistants. Robert Downey Jr. deserves some serious praise for making this role fit so well and making us care so much about Tony Stark. We care for Stark much like we care for Bruce Wayne/Batman…because they’re tortured souls haunted by the past and seek to right wrongs. There’s humanity here rather than just telling us the world is going to end unless one man saves it. Sure, we care that the world is going to end but did you really give a rat’s ass when certain Transformers got torn in half? Meh…

The script is witty, the cast is near perfect and grown-ups can enjoy it without leaving their brains in the lobby. A great movie and there’s plenty to look forward to in the sequel.

Verdict: 9.0 out of 10

tagged as , in Entertainment

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephen May 8, 2008 at 1:12 pm

Did you sit through the credits to see the secret Sam Jackson segment?

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Ed Lau May 8, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Sure did. While I think Samuel L. Jackson is the baddest motherf**ker on the planet, it wasn’t worth sitting through five minutes of credits.

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Leo May 9, 2008 at 12:03 pm

I usually sit through the credits so I don’t have to go UFC on the mob on the way out.

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Leo May 9, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Thor is also slated for release in 2010.

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Eva White May 10, 2008 at 9:13 pm

Okay now I dont need to see the movie.

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Mike Huang May 14, 2008 at 9:54 am

I still haven’t watched this or Harold & Kumar :( I’m seriously missing out! I watched 88 minutes instead, but I know it’s nothing compared to those 2 movies.

-Mike

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