Friday, May 02, 2008

Val Reviews The Movie "Iron Man"

Reenactment of key scene in "Iron Man"

"Batman Begins" may be more "arty," "Spider-Man" might have been more of a built-in "instant" blockbuster, but I think "Iron Man" is one of the best superhero films ever made.

This couldn't have been possible without the bravura performance of Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and say that if it wasn't for him and the other top actors in the supporting roles, certain elements in "Iron Man" could have been downright painful to watch. The nondescript but heavily "coded" terrorist bad guys who look like they stepped out of a 1989 direct-to-video action-adventure film. The whole Tin Man "if I only had a heart" extended metaphor. Pepper Potts in a throwback Miss Moneypenny super-secretary capacity. The evil industrialist bad guy who dons super-armor (Green Goblin, anyone?)

But, Downey Jr.'s performance is so intense and so sincere that it outshines all of the cliches and weaknesses in the plot. He is electrifying, and you can't take your eyes off of him when he is on screen. He owns this movie.

Also, the special effects, which are a combination of live-action & CGI, are seamless. Seeing Iron Man fly through the air at sonic speed, he seems completely real & tangible. And when the helmet closes over Tony Stark's head, the personality of the human within the armor doesn't go away. He doesn't become a cartoon.

"Iron Man" is to superhero movies what the recent "Casino Royale" was to James Bond movies. It's a good movie first. It has its fan-service moments, but they are deftly woven into the narrative. "Batman Begins" was also like this, but had a certain ponderousness that "Iron Man" lacks. "Iron Man" is pure adrenalin, pure action.

A special note should be made about the last bit of footage after the credits. I don't want to completely spoil it, but let's just say that a massive fanboy orgasm rippled through the mostly-empty theater as a certain character appeared on the screen. The ultimate (or is that Ultimate?) in fan-service, to be sure. But my skin had goosepimples. 'Cause I'm a bit of a nerd. But thanks to movies like "Iron Man," what was once considered "nerdy" is now mainstream summer blockbuster material.

What did you think of "Iron Man"?


  1. they left nick fury out of the credits on the screenings so now i have to go see it again, argh!!!

    i thought it was amazing too, i really though fishsticks stole every scene she was in.

  2. I'm not going to get to see it until Sunday, I think. But I haven't been this excited about a movie in years. I was a huge Iron Man fan as a kid - think I have every issue from about 1980 until around 1996. It's a relief that they seemed to get the basic concept right: the story's about Tony Stark. Iron Man is just a costume.

  3. I won't read this I won't!

  4. It was one of the best films I've seen this year, both on the comicbook fan level and the action movie fan level. So very, very fun. Run do not walk to Iron Man. ^.^


    Ps. And yes, stay after the credits. Of course if you're hardcore you're going to anyway.

  5. Spot-on take, Val. Downey really helped dull some of Stark's inherent ... well, prickness, while still making him relatable. Favreau should get credit, too, for designing the whole film to play to Downey's strengths.

  6. Judgment call: Too scary for a 7 y.o. boy? (PG13 makes me leery)

    Are Starks's flaws stark on screen?

  7. Loved it, and you're right. Downey is magnificent. Having seen the movie, I can't imagine any other actor in the role.

    The thing that caught me off guard was the fact that at several points the movie was laugh out loud funny. Loved how his interaction with the worker robots not only provided funny moments, but also demonstrated how Stark felt more at home with machines than humans.

  8. "Judgment call: Too scary for a 7 y.o. boy? (PG13 makes me leery)"

    unfortunately, yes, for several reasons: implied sexual situations, lots of violence (machine guns, blood, explosions)

  9. Judgment call: Too scary for a 7 y.o. boy? (PG13 makes me leery)

    I've been going back and forth on this - my 5-year old had really wanted to see this, in part because of the heavy promotion on Nick, in part because I got him all the Iron Man Super Hero Squad toys. He's gotten distracted this week, though, by the Speed Racer trailers and by the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited DVD sets, and I'm kinda happy about that.

    I don't think there's anymore blood than in the Spider-Man movies, but there's a lot more implied death. There are sexual situations, but they're brief and I think unlikely to register with that age group. The tone of the movie as a whole is a lot more adult than Spider-Man, but there are a lot of moments of pure fun.

    So I don't know. I'm hoping he forgets about it, and keeps focusing on Speed Racer and JLU.

  10. It is very much a male movie, which is not to say women can't enjoy it...but you're very right about that.

    I think if they brought in the Black Widow in sequels that might even the odds a bit. :)

  11. Thanks. I guess we'll have to miss this one. He got a bit scared at the dragon at the end of Enchanted. And I'm already sure Spiderman would be too much.

    Maybe I haven't hardened him enough :)

    I'll hold out hope for Speed Racer.

  12. "I'll hold out hope for Speed Racer."

    From the promo piece I saw about it before Iron Man, they said it was family-friendly -- so I think it'd be a better choice.

    I don't think The Dark Knight is really going to be family friendly, either. I read an article on some blog where they complained about comic book movies being less and less for kids these days.

  13. I saw it in a theater full of babies and toddlers, so I think it's safe to say this isn't going to be giving pre-13s nightmares.

    Anyway, yeah, this effing rocked. As soon as I left the theater I texted everyone I knew to tell them to see it ASAP.

  14. Iron Man was a great, great film. I also geeked out during the post credits scene, Val. I believe I also pumped my fists slightly, but there were only a couple of people left in the theater, so I didn't think I was being too rude. I didn't make any noise, though, and wouldn't have done it in a full theater. Saw it in the afternoon, by the way.

    One small part of the film that I though was cool: when Iron Man leaves his house and flies through the hole in his home that he previously made. I liked the fact that they didn't forget about that.

  15. "I read an article on some blog where they complained about comic book movies being less and less for kids these days."

    Well, all love and respect to The Children, but they've already got Beyblade and Pokemon and Ben 10. Me, I want my superhero movies and we're finally getting them right. If that makes me a little greedy, I can live with it as I go to see Iron Man again. ~.^


  16. This morning, I woke up after a nightmare of what the film could have been, but reminded myself that all was good, and Joel Schumacher was never was involved in this film. :)

    Jon Favreau deserves a lot of credit on this one. For me, a good example was the first propulsion test, shot with a lens just unsteady enough to make the scene YouTube worthy. And I liked their take on Jarvis.

    I have one criticism, about how they treated the villain in the end, but I’d rather not elaborate and spoil anything about the film. Anyone who hasn’t seen it, please do so, it’s an absolute treat. And the production values make it worthy of the big screen.

  17. I thought it was off the hook good. The right blend of comedy and action with no corny moments in between. The CGI was spot-on and I really didn't see too many glaring plot holes like most movies. Those damn codas, though...if you dunno it's there, you ALWAYS end up missing some cool hell yeah! moments. Now I'm glad I have arrangements that'll have me seeing it at least two more times. Gonna be a looooooong wait for the DVD!

  18. I enjoyed "Iron Man," but I don't know what it did to deserve this much positive feedback. Did anyone notice that Stane didn't have nearly enough time to do all the modifications to the armor that somehow happened? How did Stane know how to use the Iron Monger armor the minute he got into it? How did the chest reactor thing go from only being able to power the original armor for 15 minutes to being able to fly the new armor from LA to Afganistan and back again? I know he switched it out, but then he plugs the old one back in at the end. I just know that in the past people have ripped movies a new one for inconsitencies much more mild than Iron Man's. So what's with the love? Is Downy Jr THAT charismatic?

  19. Don't forget that Stane had the time to go from Stark Industries, ninja-paralyze Stark, put the new and improved chest piece into his Iron Monger armor . . . in the time it took Pepper and SHIELD guy to call Tony.

    I'd guess there was probably some scenes cut in there (Gavok on 4th Letter says about as much).

    I figure the new chest piece was just better and more powerful (it's wasn't built from cannibalized weapons parts in a cave, after all), and that's the one that flies to Afghanistan and back. And that the new Iron Man and Iron Monger suits were, likewise, more energy efficient by virtue of having proper materials behind them. The film doesn't, though, ignore the first piece's power limitations; JARVIS mentions him running out of power several times.

  20. Iron Man is now my absolute favorite superhero movie.

    And my 7-year-old daughter LOVED it, incidentally. :)

  21. Anonymous1:08 AM

    Dittoing all comments in favor and also, in terms of being a "male" movie...well, maybe. But let it be known that when I go back to see it a second and third time, it's mainly to ogle the very male eye candy.

  22. Aw, I KNEW I should stay for the credits but I just had to pee so damn bad... damn you bladder! daaaaaamn youuu!