US Release Date: 05-02-2008
Directed by: Jon Favreau
- Robert Downey Jr., as
- Tony Stark / Iron Man
- Terrence Howard, as
- Jim Rhodes
- Jeff Bridges, as
- Obadiah Stane / Iron Monger
- Gwyneth Paltrow, as
- Pepper Potts
- Leslie Bibb, as
- Christine Everhart
- Shaun Toub, as
- Faran Tahir, as
- Sayed Badreya, as
- Abu Bakaar
- Bill Smitrovich, as
- General Gabriel
- Clark Gregg, as
- Agent Phil Coulson
- Jon Favreau as
Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man.
I am one of those people that never felt any amount of pity for Robert Downey Jr when his drug use landed him in jail. The guy had the world on a string and he was trying to piss it all away as fast as he could. Every time the media wrote about his latest court appearance, they included a comment on how talented he was, as if that had anything to do with his crime or his sentencing. Because of his complete lack in personal judgement, and lack of a hit film, I had dismissed him as a has been, eighties relic. Iron Man proves his career is anything but over.
Tony Stark is an inventor and a billionaire industrialist. He manufactures and sells weapons to the military. Some, of which, end up in the hands of any faction that wants them, including the Taliban in Afghanistan, who see Stark as a their savior after they kidnap him and try to force him to build a devastating weapon. Instead, Tony builds a high-tech suit of armor and escapes captivity, by blasting his way out, in what is the first of only three action scenes that feature Tony in an armored suit.
Back in the U.S.A., Tony decides to stop selling weapons and become a super hero. This upsets his business partner, Obadiah, who is a combination of Lex Luther and Earle from Batman Begins. He manufactures his own armored suit for a showdown with Iron Man.
Iron Man is a tad skimpy on action scenes but the cast makes up for it. Downey is as charming as he can be. Even when he abruptly dismisses an excited girl who asks, "Remember me?", he comes across as likable. The movie opens with him calming some nervous soldiers with his easy going wit. Paltrow is equally quick witted. Her best moment comes when she is showing a reporter to the door, after the reporter spent the night with Stark. The reporter ask if she does everything for Stark, and Pepper responds that her duties even include taking out the trash.
Much like Batman Begins, Iron Man takes its time getting through the origin. It is that double edged sword. It establishes the character but we want to see some action! When Iron Man does engage in a confrontation, it is exciting and fun. The final fight even includes the obligatory loss of the heroes mask so we get to actually see the star, instead of just the computer animation.
With its classic Heavy Metal soundtrack, Iron Man rocks and Robert Downey Jr is the man!
Robert Downey Jr. and Terrence Howard in Iron Man.
I can't say I ever pitied Robert Downey Jr., but I never wrote him off. People are referring to this role as a comeback, but in many ways Downey never left. He was great on Ally McBeal's last season. I loved him in 2003's The Singing Detective and 2005's Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang. I couldn't give a shit about his court appearances and can't say I ever read any of the articles detailing them. All I know is I've been an admirer of his for many years and his performance here only increases my admiration for him.
Eric, you say that this movie takes too much time on Iron Man's origin and it takes too long to get to the action. For me, the origin is the best part and the big final battle is the most over-the-top moment in the movie and the least enjoyable. The best parts of the movie and the best thing about this movie is that I cared more about and wanted to see more of Tony Stark than I did about Iron Man. Although the other good part is that you never forget Tony Stark is Iron Man. Peter Parker and Clark Kent both go to great lengths to appear very different from their alter-ego. Tony Stark and Iron Man are the same person and Tony Stark wants you know that he's a superhero. That's a refreshing change.
The only weak part of this movie is the villain. I guessed who it was the instant he appeared on screen. It's not subtle, although it's supposed to be a secret.
One refreshing thing, and I'm surprised you didn't mention it Eric, is that the US government is shown in a positive light. An agent of the government organization SHIELD is shown coming to the rescue at the end of the movie and it isn't the military shown being the bad guy, but terrorists and arms dealers.
For any superhero movie to work, you have to care more about the guy in the super suit than you do about the super suit and Robert Downey Jr. as the charming, hedonistic Tony Stark is never showed up by the special effects. So long as he stays in the lead, I hope we'll see a few more sequels to this one.
Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man.
Robert Downey Jr. completely carries this movie. His Tony Stark is a real guy, he drinks too much and leads a sexually promiscuous life. Sure he’s a gazillionaire engineering genius, but thanks to Downey and these all too familiar flaws, he is relatable. As a brilliant scientist/inventor of incredibly deadly weapons he is hardly a man of peace either. His transformation into Iron Man represents far more than just a flesh and blood body that puts on a hi-tech suit of armor; it also shows his transformation from a self-centered hedonist who doesn’t care enough to realize that his technology is enabling terrorists and making smugglers wealthy, into a hero, albeit a somewhat reluctant one at first.
The scenes of Tony as Iron Man are brief but very well done. The transition from reality to CGI is fairly seamless. Far more subtle than any of the Spiderman movies, where it is painfully obvious when Tobey Maguire becomes CGI Spidey.
My only real complaint is with the villain. Until I read that Scott wrote it was supposed to be a secret I had no idea because it is instantly clear who he is in the movie. And it is a story that has been done over and over. Eric mentioned the Superman and Batman movies having similar arch villains, but the Green Goblin from Spiderman also fits. At any rate it is time for a different angle on the whole Super Villain concept.
Neither of my brothers stuck around to see the teaser for the next movie after the credits. It certainly doesn’t qualify as a scene, it runs maybe 20 seconds. Samuel L. Jackson merely introduces himself as Nick Fury leader of the clandestine group S.H.E.I.L.D.
Photos © Copyright Paramount Pictures (2008)