Iron Man

| May 3, 2008

I still can’t believe it. Iron Man lived up to my extremely high expectations. God bless Jon Favreau for creating a true-blood comic book movie that joins the ranks of Batman Begins and Spider-Man 2 as one of the best adaptations of the decade.
Words can’t describe how pleased I was with Robert Downey’s performance as Tony Stark. While some would call me a comic-book geek, I never read the Iron Man comics growing up. The first taste I got of the character was from last year’s Civil War series, when Stark was portrayed as a major douchebag (but without the humor). And while Downey, Jr., definitely got the look of Stark down, he also added a much-needed element to the character–comedy. Tony is funny as hell in this movie. He’s arrogant as shit and is also a womanizing alcoholic asshole… and I loved every minute of it. I doubt I would’ve enjoyed the movie nearly as much if the studio decided to remove the comedy and shoot it straight (a la Christopher Nolan with Batman). They also got the look of the suit down pat. Much like The Hulk franchise, which comes back up for more air next month, the look of the hero in action is very important and can make or break movies like this. And I’m glad they took their time in explaining how the suit–and Stark’s new take on his life and career–came to fruition.
The writing is very witty and the action sequences are just plain badass. The first time Stark takes the new suit for a spin overseas (and then engages in an aerial battle) will be one of the more memorable action scenes in comic movie history. And I’m also glad they didn’t dive into the whole alcoholic plotline just yet (his fatal flaw in the comics was the booze). The movie is lighthearted, for the most part, but dramatic when it needs to be. I enjoyed the friendship angle between Stark and Jim Rhodes (Terrence Howard). It’s nice to see that even the biggest of assholes has a buddy to count on. But besides these two guys, I had some issues with the rest of the cast.
First off, Gwyneth Paltrow didn’t bring much to the table. She showed no enthusiasm in her character and added no traits whatsoever to make the character her own. Any actress could’ve played her part, and I never once bought the romance between her and Stark. The chemistry just wasn’t there, and it certainly isn’t Downey, Jr., who’s the problem. Could she at least pretend like she’s having a good time? Isn’t that what acting is all about? Pretending? I have a feeling she only did this movie because her management team told her she hasn’t had a hit in… well… ever. And they knew a big budget comic flick was just what she needed. Next time, I expect more from you besides just picking up the paycheck, Ms. Paltrow. Nice legs, though.
Secondly, I don’t know how Jeff Bridges became famous in the first place, as he’s one of the blandest actors working today. When he dies, he will probably go to bland-actor heaven with David Straithairn and William Hurt. I just don’t see the appeal in this dude, and I probably never will. But most importantly, he’s the only actor that started to annoy me before the end. He gets ridiculously preachy in the last 20 minutes, and in some scenes, he just will not shut the fuck up. Speaking of the last 20 minutes, the movie gets bumped down a notch or two in my book for the completely retarded finale where Iron Man has to fight an enemy that got ahold of another iron suit, but much bigger. The fight itself isn’t what bothered me. But Iron Man and his “enemy” (see how I’m trying to keep it a secret?) start talking to each other through their suits in the robot voices, and I started having Transformers flashbacks. Favs, for future reference, don’t have these guys talk to each other while fighting. It takes us out of the action. And the finale got waaaaay over the top, as so many comic finales do (think something stupid like in the Fantastic Four movies). If it weren’t for the finale, I might’ve even given the flick an A+. It was doing so well up to that point, but the last 20 minutes left a bit of a sour aftertaste.
The best word I can use to describe Iron Man is fun. Take your kids, take your significant other, take your gay lover and take your retarded brother, because this flick is a blast. And I have a feeling it will go down as one of the best comic flicks in history with nerds like me.
Grade: A-

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