Saturday, November 1, 2014

Iron Man (2008)

With the recent huge announcement of the expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I figured now is as good a time as any to go back and look at the path we have already traveled to get here.  I've already covered the second Captain America film so now, we're going back to where it began.

Iron Man.

Iron Man is, to me at least, the best superhero movie of 2008.  Yes, The Dark Knight is damn good and deserves the praise it's gotten but let's be honest, by the time it came out Batman was already pretty well ingrained into the general pop culture mindset.  To me, it's more interesting to see a take on a character we haven't seen multiple incarnations of on film.

For the most part, Iron Man (and the rest of the Avengers for that matter) was sort of a second tier hero.  Sure, he'd get a good storyline in his own book or a high-profile spot in a major company-wide arc but for the most part, Spider-Man and the X-Men tended to get the majority of the attention with maybe the Fantastic Four pre-80's.

And if my reviews of other comic book movies have told you nothing else, dear reader, it's that I have soft spot for the second tier guys.

Iron Man is, by necessity an origin story and a damn fine one at that.  Told simply and in a nicely streamlined and efficient manner, it follows Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) as he goes from callous playboy to callous playboy who fights for the good of the world.  The entire movie is basically the origin story which ordinarily would lead to pacing issues but the script is so deftly constructed and the performances so energetic and fun that the spacing out of the action beats ends up making the film even better.  Come to think of it, the scenes where Tony is designing and building his stuff are even better than the scenes where he's actually using it.

When the action does come, it hits hard and heavy.  The first version of Iron Man is awesome as Stark escapes from a cave where he is being held captive and the finale is a nice punch-up as Stark goes against his insane business partner, Stane (Jeff Bridges).  The action would be just sound and fury though, without a good cast.

Right of the bat, Robert Downey Jr. pulls you in as Tony Stark, giving a cocky and arrogant jerk who is still likable enough to where  you want to root for him.  It helps that Downey is an intensely likable guy in his own right and he makes Tony a genuine, complex human being which helps.

The supporting cast is good too with Jeff Bridges giving a fun villainous turn, Gwyneth Paltrow turning in a charming performance as Pepper Potts and Terrence Howard doing solid work as Rhodes.

Iron Man started off the Marvel Cinematic Universe about as well as anybody could have hoped.  Jon Favreau directs things smoothly and efficiently, the script is well done and executed, the action and f/x work is great and the cast is even better.  Iron Man is quite simply awesome.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.