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Iron Man (2008)

December 3, 2009

8/10 Pimp Suits

It’s too bad The Dark Knight had to come out and totally steal this movie’s glory, ’cause this was one kickass ride.

Iron Man is about weapons manufacturer Tony Stark who has a change of heart (pun intended) about his line of work after nearly dying at the hands of his own weapons that were being sold to Afghan terrorists. So, naturally, he decides to build a bodysuit out of iron that will both keep him alive and give him the power to fight back against the weapons he helped create. He throws some rocket jets on its feet and hands, jam-packs it with hidden missiles and such, and paints it red and gold so that everyone knows he is a total badass…far more so than his facial hair makes him out to be.

Since the first Iron Man 2 poster was released this week, and now that I’m giddy as all hell for May to roll around, figured this was as fitting a time as any to get around to reviewing this unfortunately overshadowed movie.

As far as comic book movies go, this is one’s up there. There’s not much of a message, nor is there a whole lot of depth to be found, but man is it fun as hell. One of those movies that goes by so fast it’ll have you doing a double-take at your watch to make sure you didn’t just take a quantum leap two hours into the future. I like when that happens.

The reason this here movie stands out amongst the droves of shitty comic book movies that come out each year is that it knows it has a cool superhero to work with it and it plays to its strengths. Iron Man has always been one cool bastard, inside and out of the suit, and it doesn’t take a whole lot to convince the audience of this either. It helps that the special effects are great, because once Tony Stark realizes how sweet it is to fly and blow shit up with pulsar beams, everyone else watching realizes it, too.

And being that Robert Downey, Jr. is one eccentric mofo to begin with, he does well here to keep that “I’m hot shit because I’m Iron Man and you’re not” vibe going without making him seem like a total dick. His character’s probably a little too brash and pompous in comparison to his personality in the comics, but still, you could cast Downey, Jr. as a corpse in a ditch and he’d still be watchable.

Gwyneth Paltrow is fine as Tony’s assistant/ambiguous love interest, Pepper Potts, Terrence Howard is fine as Tony’s military buddy, Rhodey, but the real kicker here is freakin’ Jeff Bridges taking a turn towards the dark/bald side as Tony’s surprise nemesis, Obadiah Stane. It’s not often you get to see Bridges play the bad guy, but since he’s the man, he’s pretty darn good at it. Only problem is that his character doesn’t exactly do anything super evil – aside from try to kill Tony – to the point where he’ll have you going, “This a-hole needs to gown down. NOW.” Might not be the most memorable supervillain out there, though he does fit quite snugly into Iron Monger (despite the fact that there’s not a man on Earth with shoulders wide enough to fit into those arms).

But who cares? Iron Man isn’t aiming to drop knowledge on nuclear physics, this bad boy’s about taking everything that went right with The Rocketeer, getting rid of all that crap from the 1950s, throwing some hot rod paint on it, and dousing it all in awesomeness from one scene to the next.

Tony’s one-man-army raid on the terrorist base in Afghanistan? Word to your mother.

Man, this is just one fun movie. There’s not much down time to found, it’s paced at the speed of jet engine, it’s a got a good sense of humor, and director Jon Favreau (who’s come a long way since Swingers – great movie all the same) does a fantastic job of ensuring that the novelty of a guy flying around and dropping fools in an iron suit for two hours never loses its novelty. I’ve only seen this one twice, but I’d be more than happy to give it a couple more runarounds.

Not quite as dominating as the Black Sabbath ditty, but still a time all the same.

A fitting adaptation for one of the best in Marvel’s roster.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2009 8:30 am

    fun enough movie, but people tend to overlook how lame the action sequences in this were. had they cast anyone in the role of Tony Stark (rich selfish guy who wants to stop trading weapons by building, uh, the ultimate weapon) but RD Jr it would have been a complete mess.
    good to see some AC/DC at the start and some Black Sabbath at the end though

    • December 3, 2009 12:21 pm

      agree with you on RD, but I stand by the action on this one. some cool shit here, man. and the AC/DC was a nice touch.

  2. mcarteratthemovies permalink
    December 3, 2009 1:46 pm

    THANK YOU, Aiden, for giving props to Jeff Bridges for doing such a great job as the supervillain! Everybody talks about RDJ and Terrence Howard, but nobody mentions Bridges. I mean, who the hell know that Jeff-Frickin’-Bridges could be that cool and sinister?

    Speaking of Terrence Howard: What are your feelings on the Don Cheadle switcheroo? I’m a fan of both Howard and Cheadle, so I can’t decide if this is breaking even or trading up.

  3. December 4, 2009 4:45 pm

    I don’t think that this movie was overshadowed when it came out. People thought it was going to bomb, but when it hit big that weekend. People took notice. Iron Man was a good movie. The ending left cold as did The Dark Knight. They are equally good films.

    • December 4, 2009 5:03 pm

      Oh yeah, people totally took notice, this thing made a shit load of money and is still in the 90s on RT. Just felt like it was doomed to be forgotten after Heath died and Dark Knight came out. Still think Dark Knight is better, but they’re two very different movies. Regardless, can’t wait for Iron Man 2.

  4. December 4, 2009 8:20 pm

    Iron Man is everything a super hero movie should be, it has just the right amount of humour and camp. Downey Jr and The Dude (happy birthday to Jeff Bridges BTW) are clearly having so much fun. That’s why it is so good.

    The Dark Knight however is the complete antithesis of what a supper hero movies should be. It is dark disturbing and thoughtful. That’s why its so good!

  5. December 5, 2009 1:07 am

    I still don’t understand how Pepper Potts survived the lab explosion scene at the end. One moment she is inside right before the big explosion, the next moment, she has teleported outside to a safe place

  6. October 2, 2010 5:23 pm

    “…you could cast Downey, Jr. as a corpse in a ditch and he’d still be watchable.”

    Loved that line. I may quote you on that.

    This is one of those movies that I do not tire of, though I absolutely know that it’s owing a lot to the fact that I’m RDJ’s bitch and would chew my own arm off if he asked me to. Kidding. Sort of. Might bite off a finger to show my devotion.

    Seriously, though, it’s such an amazing, amazing ride with such a great arc throughout it. I love watching him become Iron Man and that opening sequence must be one of the best and most current, or whatever you want to call it. It just hits home so perfectly. Imagine making these weapons, thinking you’re in complete control of them, of your destiny, and then BAM, you’re in the hands of terrorists who not only want to kill you dead, but also have an arsenal of weapons with your logo on the side. Oh, and also, it was your own weapon that put the shrapnel in your chest and forced you to evolve into a hero. I’m sorry, it’s epic and the setup is told through so few scenes it just gives me goosebumps.

    It’s not the depth and range of, say, The Lives of Others, but for an action flick I still think that the characters are well-rounded, the dialogue is fantastic, the action scenes don’t need to be “bigger” because the suit kind of IS the action in this movie, and the character dynamics are well-balanced. Good stuff.

    Favorite scene?

    Mine is, for sure, the first time he tries the rocket boosters for take-off and flies into the wall and is doused by Dummy. I love how that joke keeps paying off throughout the movie. Given the fact that pretty much the whole script was improvised on the spot it goes to show just how great RDJ is at what he does, and John Favreau as well, naturally. Too bad Iron Man 2 didn’t quite keep up to the promise of the first one, even though I didn’t think the second one was a suckfest or anything.

    Alright, I’ve left a whole bunch of comments and I almost want to apologize, movies make me over-zealous and I can’t bring myself to shut up. However, I am going to now. Pleased to take up space on your blog. Have a great one!

    • October 4, 2010 10:39 am

      Favorite scene was when he drops in on the terrorist village on the suit’s first real test run and takes them out with his shoulder bullets. That whole scene was out of sight. Man, this whole movie out of sight. Absolutely flies by, exactly what a Summer blockbuster should be. Great stuff.

      Iron Man 2 really doesn’t hold a candle to this. Felt spread thin and I hated that it was one big teaser for The Avengers. Weak.

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