Saturday, February 23, 2013

I am Iron Man May 06, 2008 4:39PM PST

Iron Man

While I still feel the DC hero in that video has the best recently released superhero movie, Iron Man comes in a very well-paced second.

The plot was actually quite intriguing, especially when it grounded itself in a somewhat believable reality. The anti-war sentiments and dealing with modern warfare with regards to Iraq is actually quite cliche at this point, but the writing board knew just how to play with these themes: take it slowly and build the character of Tony Stark with constant injections of his humorous charm and when necessary put some action in it. Reviews that stress the point it takes a while to see the final incarnation of the Iron Man suit aren't wrong, but unlike snoozefest The Incredible Hulk there is plenty of action to keep you entertained during the initial sequences. You feel your getting your money's worth well before the last 30 minutes (I'm looking at you Bruce Banner).

Where the movie falls apart, as I'm sure you've heard by now, is its ending. I could appreciate the twist in just who becomes Iron Man's first true villian counterpart and the at least competent writing that actually made such a plot point surprising and interesting, but it's the action of the final battle scene that causes problems. Where all previous segments of the movie had done a nice job of taking a well-known superhero and placing him in a relatively down to earth plot (minus impossibly cool spaceman suit), Iron Man's final enemy produces a predictable battle in which unlikely chances are given through unneccesary Saturday morning cartoon villian monologue and not Tony Stark's cleverness that made both him and his superhero counterpart so endearing to begin with.

Of course, the movie's strongest points are its brilliantly casted actors. Robert Downey Jr. is perfect as the quick witted, whiskey on the rocks sipping weapons manufacturer turned international sympathizer. Interestingly enough, the movie doesn't do much to deal with his alcohol problems, but Downey delivers the role with a sense that he is troubled despite his charm regardless of how the script reads. Terrance Howard is fantastic as always as the responsible best friend that acts as Tony's voice of reason (even if he doesn't listen to it much). Gwyneth Paltrow doesn't annoy the audience by drawing as much attention to Pepper Pots as was given Mary Jane in Spiderman, but doesn't make herself as one-dimensional as Katie Holmes in Batman Begins either. It's not saying much but she's definitely the least offensive female lead in superhero movies so far.

Finally, the special effects are obviously fantastic. The most enjoyable bits of Iron Man's actions scenes are those where he surpasses missles and Air Force jets with his rocket-powered suit. It reminded me of how fun it looked to be Spiderman the first time I saw that film, except even more fun, faster, and much higher in the sky. The machine guns, missiles, and super strength make the audience feel his power just as well. Not to mention everything Tony Stark owns looks effing cool, from his beachside California dreamhouse to his top name brand cars and motorcycles.

Iron Man is in no way the second coming of superhero movies, but it definitely proves it's worth a couple sequels and nails most of what its producers were clearly going for (except the anticlimactic ending).

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