Perhaps the most impressive thing I can say about "Iron Man" is that it's a good movie. Not that it's a good superhero movie, or a good action movie. No extraneous adjectives need apply. It's a good movie on any terms, and that's what impresses me so much about it. Usually, I think, superhero movies are beautiful spectacles but they don't have a lot of oomph to them once that polished sheen wears off a few years after their release.
"Iron Man" is different than that because the story is actually compelling and so is the main character. Multi-millionaire Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is larger than life and he knows it. He's not a meek Peter Parker or a mild-mannered Clark Kent. He schmoozes women, blows off important events and takes life about as seriously as the known world today takes Uwe Boll or Jack Thompson.
As the movie opens, Stark is accompanying a military group on the way for a demonstration of his newest weapon. He's an arms dealer who subscribes to the second part of the old Roosevelt adage: "Walk softly and carry a big stick." The first part, he doesn't quite have down just yet. He's blustered his way through life, and that's part of why it comes as such a surprise to him when everything goes wrong for him.
I won't say what it is that goes wrong--you can read other reviews or any discussion that this draft might inspire if you're looking for spoilers--but I will say that Stark's world view changes. He comes back from that visit to the East with an artificial heart and a conscience. That doesn't sit well with his business partner, the long-suffering Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), but Stark doesn't particularly care.
He works on the development of a spectacular weapon: a suit that lets him fly, shoot flames from his hands, fire bullets and much more. Along the way, he contemplates his relationship with his assistant Pepper (played to unusual perfection by Gwyneth Paltrow). Then there's the rest of the movie, a bunch of glitzy special effects an downright awesome combat sequences that show just how far special effects wizardry has truly come.
Naturally, a lot of people who go to see "Iron Man" will be interested in that latter part, but to me the most interesting points of the film were the human conflict. I thrilled when Iron Man did his thing (I'd have to have been looney not to) but this was a movie that stands on its own two feet even before that stuff comes into play.
The cast, gargantuan crew, directors and writers all deserve every bit of praise they're getting. "Iron Man" is a fantastic blockbuster and a great way to kick off a summer season crowded with one must-see film after another. Even with Indiana Jones, Batman and Maxwell Smart waiting in the wings, it's difficult to imagine how things could possibly go up from here...
|Most recent blog posts from Jason Venter...|
|Halon - May 09, 2008 (10:06 PM)
This was probably the biggest surprise I've seen in a while. I still prefer the first two Spidermans but this is a pretty close second.
|darketernal - May 13, 2008 (10:14 AM)
It is indeed a fairly good movie. Iron Man is the Batman of Marvel on the outside. Playboy millionaire whose power comes from the resources and his own intelect. No need to dwell beneath the surface and find that Batman is a lunatic in a way. The main difference, and what will hurt Iron Man in the future unless they bring in something else is the lack of good villains.
Honestly, I liked Obadiah, even though he is in comics at best a second rate villain even for Iron Man, but honestly when you look at his rogue gallery there is nothing better. You have the Mandarin, which is undoubtedly going for the sequel as the villain. Hopefuly they won't milk him alone though like they do with Lex Luthor on Superman.