Iron Man Review
Note: The following Iron Man review dates back to the May 2008 release, so pardon the dated references.
It's time to suit up, because the comic film genre has a new face bringing it back to life and it's a shiny one. Iron Man
delivers everything you want in a comic book adaptation. It's also probably the best thing to happen to Marvel Studios since Spider-Man 2
-- that's nearly four years and a lot of money with disappointing delivery. A good start for the first film fully produced by the studio.
Iron Man is not the most well-loved of Marvel characters, but at this point in the Marvel universe, he feels like the next logical step to give the comic company a boost in the right direction. The man is Tony Stark (Downey Jr.), a millionaire playboy in the arms-dealing business. On a routine demonstration trip in Afghanistan (updated to the modern era), Stark is captured and held hostage by a rebel band of Afghanis who demand he build them one of his best missiles. Instead, Stark devises a plan to build a suit of armor so he can escape.
A victim of the very weapons he created, Stark's uniqueness in comparison to other Marvel heroes Stan Lee has created is that he learns the error of his ways, his ignorance to the evil his industry produces, and the experience changes his perspective. It's not a vengeance story, it's one of personal redemption.
Downey Jr. carries this film. Not entirely, but the film focuses more on his discovery and creation of Iron Man than it does on him being Iron Man and fighting evil, a wonderful choice by the writers. Downey Jr.'s witty acting fits this perfectly. It must be said: finally there is a superhero with a sense of humor. Iron Man is the most genuinely funny superhero film to date, and it certainly beats the awkward attempts of Spider-Man 3.
Marvel was way overdue for introducing a new character after the third installments of the X- Men and Spider-Man franchises. An origin story, the reason why those other franchises took off, was in order. As an origin story, Iron Man's story is not bogged down by excessive characters and the plot is straightforward. There have been other Marvel origin films such as Hulk and Daredevil that butchered the execution of a good origin story, but Iron Man outdoes them by staying zeroed in on Tony Stark and his process of becoming a metallic hero. For example, many of the scenes are of Tony in his lab, testing the Iron Man suit. While not much is going on, they captivate because we see Tony Stark reinventing himself before our eyes in a way we only wish we could ourselves. After all, there's no law that superheroes have to spend most of their time fighting in costume in a film. Iron Man reserves that for the climax of the film and doesn't dwell there any longer than it must. You want more, but what you do get is satisfying.
The supporting cast really helps too; they're all really down-to-earth actors which keeps Iron Man out of the pretentious superhero hero film category. Bridges plays his first truly evil role as Stark's adviser-turned-nemesis, Obadiah Stane, while Paltrow provides a nice change of pace as Stark's personal assistant Pepper Potts. Even Terrence Howard is likable as Stark's friend and military ally, Jim Rhodes.
The only thing to complain about in Iron Man is that there isn't enough -- it lacks that truly epic feel. Those who enjoy this movie will want their cake and to eat it too. So much time, though rightly so as discussed, was spent on Stark's development of Iron Man that there wasn't enough room for more awesome action sequences in the suit and most disappointing of all, further thematic development, which is what made Spider-Man revolutionary. It's hard to complain for long that a film had to much focus on character development and not enough action, but when you like a film, you want to get 100 percent from it.
Jon Favreau should receive incredible applause for outdoing the skepticism he unjustly received when it was first revealed he would be at the helm. There are plenty of treats for the comic book fans in this film and there's great realism to this film than previous films too focused on great one-liners and the like, which is what someone of Favreau's persuasion can bring to a genre in so much need of that normal/ human touch. Without him, Iron Man would not so impressively rocket Marvel into a new era of comic adaptations.
Directed by Jon Favreau
Written by Hawk Ostby, Marc Fergus, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway (screenplay), Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Don Heck, Larry Lieber (comics)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwenyth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges
Other Player Affinity Reviews:
"When a film of this genre considers itself not just as a superhero flick but as a serious drama, a myriad of possibilities arise with an end result that is both substantially more durable and significantly more satisfying. While Iron Man
may not quite match the dramatic depth of the newest Batman movies, it is among the most successful of the genre and one of the best movies of 2008; genre film or otherwise. Robert Downey Jr.’s superb acting chops and comedic timing is what ultimately make the film memorable and a great supporting cast highlights these skills amply and elevate him to the level of a true star.The special effects are some of the best ever conceived and are blended flawlessly into the reality presented in the film. Everything that transpires along the path to the eventual rise of Iron Man is believable (through simultaneously preposterous) and a number of sinister twists and revelations will keep you engrossed. Fly, don’t walk, to see Iron Man
if you have not yet." Rating: 9/10
""Iron Man" is the first step toward Marvel's upcoming Avengers movie in 2012. You really get a sense of how far comic-book movies have come when they can take a lesser-known A-list character and turn him into a household name. Robert Downey Jr. was born to be Tony Stark. He oozes with charisma and charm. Gwenyth Paltrow is perfect as Pepper Potts. Also, the cameo of Nick Fury, and the hint at the existence of comic villain Mandarin (leader of the terrorist group called the Ten Rings) was a nice touch." Rating: 10/10
"2008 was the year of superhero films and Iron Man
was a perfectly good example. Jon Favreau was able to direct an entertaining superhero film with plenty of action, drama and humor. He focused on the character development, but also had a strong and contemporary story, updating Iron Man’s origins to the "War on Terror" age and not just in action scenes, which were very good anyway. Favreau keeps an indie tone in the film and there were clever lines and banter throughout. It shows that a summer blockbuster can be smart and fun. Like Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man,
there was a perfect mix of serious drama and fun adventure. A great cast was also brought together. Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow had excellent chemistry together and a film has to be good if Jeff Bridges is the villain. But there is the issue that Iron Man is basically a high-tech version of Batman and some plot elements were a little too predictable." Rating: 8/10
Julian thought: "In case you haven't seen Iron Man, it's about Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr. in an excellent performance that finally gave him the stardom and royalties that have been deserved throughout his entire career), a brilliant industrialist who heads Stark Industries, a company that specializes in weapons technology. Everything about the film is great: the cast, the directing, and the plot. Even though you can see some of it coming, the film does boast a good plot -- and tons of ad-libbing. It's Downey's iconic role. He is to Iron Man as Johnny Depp is to Jack Sparrow: you can't think of one without immediately thinking about the other. Rating: 10/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 9.2/10