Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Gwyneth
Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Shaun Toub, Leslie Bibb, Bill Smitrovich,
Nazanin Boniadi, Micah Hauptman
Released By: UIP
Official Website: http://www.ironmanmovie.com/
Opening Day: 30 April 2008
Based upon Marvel's iconic Super Hero, "Iron Man"
tells the story of Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist
and genius inventor who is kidnapped and forced to build a
devastating weapon. Instead, using his intelligence and ingenuity,
Tony builds a high-tech suit of armor and escapes captivity.
Upon his return to America, Tony must come to terms with his
past. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications,
he dons his powerful armor and vows to protect the world as
“Robert Downey Jr. is the life of this movie and Director John Farveau had made a great choice in casting him as the title character. Everything else just fall automatically into the right places such as the supporting cast, the blazing computer generated effects, the witty exchange of dialogues and the lovely slow boiled retelling of Iron Man’s origin. There might be some loopholes to this movie but otherwise, it’s another great example of how comic character should be brought to life on the big screen”
Iron man has always been one of those 2nd tier superheroes in the Marvel Comics Realm to me. A man in a robot suit with hardly any striking or memorable milestones in it’s long existence in the Marvel Comics. His lack of outstanding rogue gallery failed to raise him to the status of Batman or Spider-man. Even during Superheroes teams / crossover events, he is often regulated to the sidekick role that is there to lend heavy artillery support.
But when Iron Man the Movie’s trailer started it’s rotation online and in the cinema, everything changes as it blew me away and made this second rate character’s movie a must watch for me. The only question left was if this movie could sustain the same level of energy, wits and heart through out the whole feature length.
It did and it left me clamoring for more.
Robert Downey Jr. owns Tony Stark character and no one can dispute that. Stan Lee, the creator of Iron Man had based Tony Stark on Howard Hughes (refer to Aviator), a rich inventor who is adventurous, popular with the ladies and a nutcase. There are folks who questions Robert Downey Jr’s ability to carry a blockbuster on his own (much like Johnny Depp during his Pirates days) but let’s just say that he had aced in every aspects that Tony Stark character is meant to be and brought such rich characterization to Tony Stark that will elevate interest for this character that the comics had never achieved before.
That’s the most important choice that Director John Favreau, an Iron Man fanatic fan himself, had made for this film. Once he had gotten the right actor to lead his tale of Iron Man, the job is pretty much half done. But obviously, both of them didn’t stop right there. They went on, with much love for the characters and story in Iron Man’s history, to slowly build up the Iron Man’s origin, explaining to the switch of Tony Stark character from a weapon manufacturer to a superhero. It might be slow build up but if Robert Downey Jr’s performance, John Favreau’s storytelling and couple of witty dialogues; it was a blast to follow the building of a superhero.
Another aspect that made this film great was the casting of Terence Howard, Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow in supporting roles. Gwyneth Palthrow’s faithful female assistant role, Pepper Potts played off with great chemistry with Robert Downey Jr. Jeff Bridges had limited screen time as Obadiah Stane but managed to deliver a menacing performance every time he is on screen. Last but not least, Terence Howard as James Rhodes, Tony Stark’s best friend and military commander was an excellent counterweight to Tony Stark’s wild irresponsible attitude. Nothing much here on his role but for comic fans, the potential of what James Rhodes will become really adds to the anticipation for the sequel.
There are also plenty of minor information that planted in this movie that makes this comics fan (and plenty others) smile with delight. There’s the amazing short but funny Stan Lee’s cameo which he does in all Marvel character movie that he helped created. Then (Potential Spoiler Alert) there are S.H.I.E.L.D. references all over and James Rhodes looking on the Silver version of the Iron Man suit, uttering “Maybe Next Time” that droves this fan crazy as it’s a well known fact in comics that he is the next Iron Man (War Machine as we remembered) (End of Potential Spoiler) and this type of teasing will make fans drool with anticipation for the next one.
Praises aside, this is not a perfect picture as there are some glaring loopholes if you think out of the box that the film makers and actors are working on. The captivity scenes in Iron Man bear resemblance to the inefficient monitoring abilities of the old James Bond’s villains. With such dumb villains, it downplayed the heroic effort in the origin story.
The slow build up might not go well with those impatient viewers that want to see Iron Man as soon as possible and the finale might not be as climactic as one might expect. But to these complains, I would like to offer the reasoning that this is just the first step and sometimes, we need to walk before we can run.
But then again, there are much to like in this movie and since the Director had plans for a trilogy (Potential Spoiler Alert) (such as Tony Starks battle with alcoholism which will be great since Robert Downey Jr had his own fair share of bad history of addiction, James Rhodes becoming the second Iron Man (aka War Machine) and finally Iron Man’s nemesis The Mandarin), (End of Potential Spoiler) it really depends on how well this film does at the box office. They need your vote at the box office and I am recommending you to help them make the second one. If you liked it as much as I did, tell your friends about it. This is one flick that deserves it’s sequel (only and specially in the hands of Director John Favreau and Robert Dowing Jr)
(Best Comic Movie Since Batman Begins)
by Richard Lim Jr