Iron Man

2 05 2008

Iron Man Poster

Theatrical Release: 1 May 2008

Running Time: 126 Minutes

Websites: Official Site, IMDB Page, Wikipedia Article

Iron Man is the latest Marvel comic book adaptation released, and the first (I stand to be corrected here) in a long string set to be released this year (see Hulk, Batman etc.). For those unfamiliar with the comic book (like myself before I watched this movie), Iron Man is a story of a rich playboy who owns a weapons manufacturing company. While demonstrating a new weapon in Afghanistan, he is captured by a terrorist group and ordered to build one of his new weapons for them. However, instead of complying with their wishes, he builds himself a super powered suit and makes his escape.

Let me get something out of the way: the director (Jon Favreau), has already made clear his intentions to make this movie in a trilogy, and all of the original cast have signed onto the next two films. So expect more of these, probably in the same manner as Spiderman.

The casting in the film seems perfect, and the cast manage to pull off a very believable world, with characters we can really get behind and become involved in. For instance, the moral dilemma that Tony Stark (Robert Downy Jr.) goes through when he finds out that the weapons his company has made were used in a massacre in the middle east is very believable. It also seems to foreshadow a future plotline: where Stark has turned into an alcoholic and Jim Rhodes (Terrence Howard), Stark’s friend, ally and contact within the military, dons the suit in his place. The relationship between Stark and his secretary Virginia “Pepper” Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is also very honest, and seems awkward and unsure, but in a good way, like a real relationship between two inexperienced people might be.

Of course, no super hero movie would be complete without a super villain, right? Naturally. In Iron Man, there is a villain, but I cannot name him without spoiling the movie. Let’s just say that his technologically inferior (it still used jet fuel to fly) but better powered (he steals Stark’s updated power source) copy of Stark’s suit is quite a match for the upgraded Mark III that Stark uses. The final battle in this movie is somewhat lacking, as it is more one sided than most, and eventually the villain is overcome (like we didn’t see that coming) by the teamwork of all the “good guys”. Nevertheless, it was still quite an epic battle, albeit a little formulaic and predictable.

Another thing that bugged me a little bit about this movie is the hypercommercialism that is present throughout. Certain parts of the movie are essentially Audi R8 adverts, as one of Stark’s supercars is the aforementioned R8. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful car, and I personally love it, but its presence and exposure (more than a car normally gets in a movie, with the exception of Firewall and it’s Chrysler) distracted a little bit from the main movie. In addition, there were numerous other Audi’s in the movie, like the Q7, the S6 Sedan and the S5 Sports Coupe. As I mentioned, not a major issue, but it was a little distracting. And another thing, none of the Audi’s got wrecked in the movie, although I did notice a few Fords getting crushed or blown up…

Needless to say, the special effects in Iron Man were incredible. Everything from the suit itself, down to the amazing gadgets that Stark has in his house were well presented and strangely believable. Speaking of the house, Stark’s California mansion looked amazing, and it was surely an architect’s dream to study it and just generally drool over all the little features, like the part supported by stilts, or the spiral staircase separated by a curved glass waterfall. For those people, it would probably be worth watching this movie just for that house. Some of the incredible technology at this house included: windows which doubled as computer screens, a holographic display that reacts to human touch, voice activated and responsive robots, and a talking, seemingly sentient computer which ran the house, and later became integrated into the suit.

The suit looked good and had a nice array of powers at its disposal, including flight, numerous weapons such as a minigun and a rocket launcher, super strength and what looked like a kinetic shockwave type weapon that was used to physically push enemies away with extreme force. Everything looked good, as one would expect from such a big budget movie such as this.

Despite being an action movie, there were a few scenes which were actually quite funny, such as when he first attempts to fly, but the thrust is too strong to handle, and he goes flying into a wall, or when Potts comes down to his workshop and he attempts to explain how it works, and again goes flying into a wall. I was actually laughing at those scenes, which is quite something. The comedic timing I suppose was just brilliant, and the fact that one doesn’t really expect it to happen in such an otherwise serious movie.

At times, the dialogue was too fast and had two or three people all talking over each other. This bothered me a little bit, because I like to hear and understand everything that’s being said, and, although it was obviously done on purpose and was not meant to actually contribute anything to the plot or movie in general, it was still a bit of an issue for me because it happened about four times that I can remember. Again, not a major issue, but still.

Anyway, sorry for the long review, I’ll finish up now. At the end of the day, this is a fairly standard blockbuster that you are probably going to go see regardless of what the critics say. And rightly so, because in my opinion, this is one of the best movies that have been released on our screens in a while. There’s also been a lot of hype around it online, not so much in South Africa though: I guess the “nerd”/”geek” (Whatever that means!) demographic must still find a voice here in South Africa. I would give this a 4.5 out of 5, but I don’t use half stars, so I must round it down to a 4 out of 5, because it didn’t deserve 5. Go watch this movie, you will probably like it.

Highlights of the movie: The character and portrayal of Tony Stark, Stark kicking ass in Afghanistan while testing his suit out, the Audio R8 (beautiful car) and the scene where he is being fitted for the suit.

Lowlights of the movie: Low screentime and development of Jim Rhodes character (although he will feature more prominently in the sequel), the somewhat contrived and predictable jokes and the audience who laughed at said jokes.

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5 responses

6 05 2008
Grant

“but it’s presence and exposure”

Should be its without the apostrophe.

6 05 2008
Mike

Fixed.

14 05 2008
Koolsonic

Wew sounds great! I haven’t watched it as of yet but i will! πŸ™‚ Hoho

8 06 2008
kellyansara

This Movie was Amazing the house was nothing more than SPECTACULAR, and the cars oh the cars *sigh*….. THE BEST COMIC BOOK, MOVIE ADAPTION EVER!!!!!! Its funny, action packed and has a slight tension between charaters… LOVED IT!!!!

19 06 2008
Easterner

Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation πŸ™‚ Anyway … nice blog to visit.

cheers, Easterner.

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