Movie #50 : Iron Man (2008)

Iron-Man-2008

I am reviewing Iron Man.

Poised with my midnight showing of Iron Man 3 in 3D IMAX, I’m doing the horribly cliché thing and reviewing the original.

I remember a lot of hype leading up to this movie’s release 5 years ago.  A lot of people talked about how great the trailer was, and the tremendous buildup to the film.  Here’s a fun little “news story” that addresses that.  http://www.theonion.com/video/wildly-popular-iron-man-trailer-to-be-adapted-into,14226/

Growing up I didn’t read comic books.  My knowledge was limited almost exclusively to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, because let’s face it, would you need anything else?  I enter into watching these types of films as a common moviegoer and not a die-hard, read-every-comic-watched-every-show type of fanboy.

I don’t know of any other role that was so perfectly meant for Robert Downey Jr.  He makes this movie, plain and simple.

I remember seeing this movie on opening day, and to be honest, Tony Stark’s arrogance was a major put off for me.  As I’ve seen his character develop throughout the other Avengers-related movies, though, I’ve come to appreciate his balance of genius, poor coping mechanisms, and inner drive.  One of my favorite scenes from this movie was when Pepper Potts said she was quitting.   Stark’s assertion that he didn’t die and that because he didn’t, he had a purpose.  His frank, candid moment on-screen humanizes his character in a way that doesn’t appear in others,

This touches on a central theme in film: fate.  As his character has propagated war, killing, and the military industrial complex, Stark’s imprisonment opened his eyes to the practical, tangible losses and effects his company has on families.  His change in character doesn’t come without his struggles, but the change for the better was handled very nicely.

stanleeironman  One of my favorite Stan Lee cameos, when Stark mistakes him for Hugh Hefner.

 

There was one element of this movie that was fixed in Iron Man 2.  Terrance Howard is a tremendous actor without question.  He just didn’t seem to work here though.  Perhaps it’s that Don Cheadle simply does a better job, or the fact that Rhodes is a more integral part of the story-line in Iron Man 2.

Jeff Bridges does a serviceable job in this movie, but who didn’t see him as the main villain from a mile away?

Another thing that sets Iron Man apart from other superhero movies is the fact that Marvel set up their own production company and handled the movie in-house.  I think from that came a story more true to its roots (though I have to take more knowledgeable people’s word on that) and created a more organic authenticity.

While I was originally put off by Iron Man, it has grown on me and laid a solid foundation for the other Avengers-related films.  On-point casting, great visual effects, and a balance of larger-than-life superhero with a candid, human main character make Iron Man an enjoyable film all around.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

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