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Iron Man

A 2008 movie starring Robert Downey Jr.

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Your "Friendly Neighborhood" Shellhead....OOPS! Wrong Super-Hero!!!

  • Dec 24, 2008
Rating:
+4

The next anticipated movie from the Marvel line of comic books is "IRON MAN". There has been an overload of comic book films and thankfully, this one doesn‘t have "Fantastic Four‘s" quality. "Shellhead" goes to the big screen courtesy of director Jon Favreau with a solid screenplay by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby. Yes, the movie is great and as with "Spider-Man" is the cardboard cutout of everything a comic book film should be. Yes, everything but it didn't quite unseat "Spider-man 2" as Marvel's best comic adaptation. (in my opinion)

Anthony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is a billionaire industrialist/inventor and dubbed as a "Merchant of War"; Stark makes most of his fortune making weapons for the military. One day, fate intervenes and Stark finds himself captured and injured by terrorists. With the aid of a man named Yinsen (Shaun Toub), Stark creates a suit of armor from scratch and escapes the clutches of the terrorists.







This experience had apparently affected Stark in a life-changing way. Now he intends to use his resources to the betterment of mankind, much to the dismay of Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges). To atone for his sins, Stark builds a steel-mesh suit and becomes the ultimate human fighting machine…

When I said that the film is a cardboard cutout of everything a comic book film should be, it is because the screenplay carries references to the Shellhead's comic series from his very origin. Never try to "fix" something that's not broken. The backdrop has been changed from Vietnam to Iraq; and this is a very clever move since it does relate to current events. Characters from the comic make a appearance; Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Yinsen, Obadiah Stane (strong references to "Ultimate Iron Man"), Jarvis the robotic assistant (Jarvis the butler was probably avoided due to similarities to Batman's Alfred) and Jim Rhodes (Terrence Howard). S.H.I.E.L.D., "War Machine" and the Avengers Initiative anyone? The film carried a surmountable amount of teases that can have the avid comic fan very excited. Writers Fergus and Ostby definitely did their homework on this one.

All these factors and the solid direction by Favreau makes for a very entertaining fun movie. The direction has near-excellent structure. I didn't notice any plot holes at all and the execution is solid, the direction knew exactly what it wanted to do and sticks to it. This can be a double-edged sword and I'll explain in a minute. I truly commend the first act of the film as Stark is portrayed as a man very much in for himself who realizes the consequences of his inventions. Why is it so much easier to invent weapons of destruction than to make things to advance mankind? The film does have a strong moral message and a nice touch of humanity. We're fallible, but what matters is how we make our following choices.





The film is also blessed with a great cast. Downey does make a good Tony Stark, and the supporting cast does mesh well. Gwyneth Paltrow's "Pepper Potts" may seem a little "doopie" but I rather thought that it was her character in the comic. Tony is a playboy and boy, I was very amused by his escapades. Hopefully, the cast is signed for its sequel. The action scenes are decently shot and the best one I think is Shellhead's invasion into enemy territory. The battle with "Iron Monger" is a little short and not exactly as bone-crushing as I would've preferred it to be but I suppose it fits the film's pace. Boy, the CGI can trample the EFX in "Tranformers". Shellhead is a "global" super-hero with concerns that surpass bank robberies and criminals.

Now, before anything else, let me make it very clear that I really thought that "Iron Man" is a great movie. Great structure, AMAZING special effects that puts most CGI to shame and clever dialogue. But the film seemed too ‘safe" and while the script was very good, it just didn't feel that it was willing to take risks and somehow, I think it didn't realize its full potential. The villain is a little underwhelming and as to be expected, the hero will encounter his exact opposite, that ends up being predictable. Just who is Obadiah Stane in the comic book? He is the man who trampled Stark to the ground and drove him to alcoholism. The man should be cunning and evil, not reduced to a power hungry, greedy businessman. As great as the movie is, it just didn't offer any surprises and I felt like I was just watching just another "super-hero" movie and I‘m ready for the next one. Maybe if this came before the first "Spider-man" (that launched the super-hero new wave) then this film would be just awe-inspiring. The film just put me in very familiar territory that I really felt as if it was the same old thing. Some scenes proved too silly for my tastes but it was still entertaining. Are these signs of super-hero overdose?

Despite the feeling of "super-hero" burnout, the villain becoming too routine and with the film being too "safe" for its own good, I really believe "Iron Man" is still a great effort in the super hero genre. At least, it knew what it wanted to do; entertain the young and old alike. The film is not pretentious and despite the limits it imposed on itself, the film is a very entertaining and a great summer film. Undoubtedly, this film will stand as one of the best super-hero flicks to grace movie theaters.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! [4+ Stars]

This review was drafted in June 2008.

Shellhead in flight Stane with Iron Monger armor shellhead poses Iron Monger Stark forging first armor Iron Monger

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July 15, 2010
Yeah this is one of the best films from Marvel for sure, great review WP.
 
May 07, 2009
Agreed! Iron Man is one of the best comic book movies ever! :)
May 07, 2009
thanks for the read and welcome to Lunch!
 
April 01, 2009
I don't know why I haven't seen this movie yet-everyone keeps telling me how good it is! I think your review might be the tipping point.
April 01, 2009
Thanks! I think this was an enjoyable popcorn film--not complex but great fun for all ages!
 
March 06, 2009
Thanks, everyone! This flick was a lot of fun! Not the best superhero flick of 2008 (that honor goes to "The Dark Knight")but still unquestionably great!
 
March 04, 2009
Iron Man exceeded my expectations and made me excited about the upcoming Avengers tie-in movies. Great review!
 
January 26, 2009
I suppose we're entering the Golden Age of Comic Book Movies, at least it would certainly seem so when you take a look at the past several years; SPIDERMAN 1&2, HELLBOY 1&2, BATMAN BEGINS & THE DARK KNIGHT, and now IRON MAN. (Not to mention all of those I'm not mentioning like the second HULK) The telltale sign of a good genre film such as these is when they can cross genre lines and appeal to mainstream audiences and they certainly are doing that. Great review of the film that is my personal favorite so far, though HELLBOY 2 and SPIDERMAN 2 are close behind. (Nope, still haven't seen TDK)
 
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More Iron Man reviews
review by . February 11, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
***1/2 out of ****     I admittedly state that I'm no comic junkie. While I often times will read something that's going to be or has been adapted into film, seldom do I actually read such forms of literature. Nevertheless, I like it when a director rises up to the challenge of making a huge, epic superhero movie and succeeds. And by "succeeds", I of course mean that they successfully make it for both audiences; the comic book fans and the non-associated. What makes John Favreau's …
review by . May 02, 2011
Tony Stark: Millionaire, Genius, Playboy, and star of the 2008 summer blockbuster Iron Man, one of the greatest superhero movies of all time. To be honest, I was never really interested in Iron Man until news of The Avengers came out and I wanted to finish off the franchises I haven't seen. I was expecting this movie to be just some nice dumb fun, which I have no problem with, but it ended up being much more than that. I was also worried that I may have to have some prior knowledge (of which …
review by . August 28, 2010
My daughter is almost 12 and is clamoring to watch PG-13 movies "like all her friends do."  We recently watched this as a family.  I had read detailed reviews that said that there were a few swear words, and a scene of a couple in bed (she was still wearing a shirt but was on top of him).  I covered her eyes on that part, and I thought the rest was pretty appropriate.      The beginning was a bit long (and boring?), but in general this is a fast-paced …
review by . May 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
RDJ is back and better than ever......
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Quick Tip by . October 06, 2010
Wonderful adaptation of the original graphic novels, great action adventure for most ages, good fantasy with always relevant topics of self-discovery, morals and ethics
Quick Tip by . August 30, 2010
Fantasitic movie that moved Iron man to the forefront of Marvel's list of heroes that are household names.
Quick Tip by . September 02, 2010
This movie def changed the way super hero movies are watched. The humor in it made it much more enjoyable and it def opened it up to a much larger more commercial audience!
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
I was never really into the comic book, but I thought the movie did a great job telling the story while keeping the action constant.
Quick Tip by . August 09, 2010
I'm more enthusiastic about films (or maybe I have lower standards) - the only false note, to me, was the slut-shaming Pepper directs at Christine: I'm gonna blame bad writing, but the rest of the movie was above that. Good and actiony.
review by . December 23, 2009
Tony Stark's Iron Man MK III armor
Iron Man for all intents and purposes remembers the sole, number 1 rule of comic books and it's the rule that the X Men and Spiderman movies forgot about - to be fun.      Spiderman may have been high flying adventure and X Men may have had it's colorful cast of heroes but all the movies in the series are so racked with melodrama and long stretches that as great as they are they could sometimes be a trial to get through.  Iron Man has drama sans the melo and is …
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About this movie

Wiki


Iron Man
tells the story about a wealthy man who becomes involved in building an armored suit after a life- changing experience, and then begins to use his new suit to fight evil.

Directed by Jon Favreau, Iron Man was released on May 2, 2008, and won two awards at the Golden Trailer (Summer 2008 blockbuster), MTV Awards (Best summer movie) and was nominated for 3 other wards.  The film stars Robert Downey Jr., Terrance Howard, Jeff Bridges, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

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Details

Director: Jon Favreau
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Release Date: May 2, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 2hrs 6min
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