Iron Man review by The Grim Ringler
Is it safe? I mean, seriously, can it really, truly, honestly be safe to go to a theater to see a comic adaptation and have it be good? Hell, not just good but great? Is it possible? Sure, we have had the aberrations from time to time, the random good to okey doke comic adaptation but when it comes to superhero films, man, a great adaptation is a true Christmas miracle. Heck, I can even tell you that the original BATMAN film is overrated. Sure, its fun and all but come on, Nicholson is a ham in that thing. It seems though that suddenly the studios are starting to get things right. Sure, you get your GHOSTRIDER but if I can get an IRON MAN every once in a while, I am a pretty happy guy. Needless to say, somehow, someway IRON MAN isnt just good, its freakin amazing.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is an American Icon. An inventor, an entrepreneur, a captain of industry, and the planets leading weapons manufacturer, Stark takes his role in keeping America safe very seriously. Well, he takes it as seriously as a womanizing alcoholic can take such things. While in Afghanistan for a demonstration of his new missile system, Starks caravan comes under attack and he is wounded and taken prisoner. As a prisoner he is tasked to re-create the missile system for the terrorists who have captured him or he will be killed. The tricky thing is that Tony took considerable shrapnel in the attack and is being kept alive by a miraculous device a fellow prisoner created for him. Things look pretty bleak for Stark. His fellow prisoner, a doctor tells him that, in the end, he will die in a week and must live that week wisely; he decides not to build the missile, but to build a weapon he will wield against the terrorists. The weapon Stark builds is a robotic suit of armor that is fortified against attacks and is stocked with weapons to fight with. When he is able to escape, Tony begins to question what his company is doing and what it means to be a weapons maker when your own weapons can be bought by terrorists and used against the people you swore to protect. When his companys board starts fighting him on his new vision for the company, one without the weapons, it becomes clear that Tony must find a different way to fight the terrorists who are using his weapons against the innocent. Taking what he created in a cave in Afghanistan, Tony builds a new, better suit, one that he will pilot and which he will fight back with. Just as he has created a new identity for himself though, those who had captured him, having found the original machine in the desert, are planning their own surprise for the world, and Tony may be the only person that can stop them before its too late.
The beauty of IRON MAN is that the director JOHN FAVREAU and his filmmaking team give the film enough time to develop Tony Stark as a character. Stark is sort of the polar opposite of BATMANs Bruce Wayne Stark loves attention, loves the life of a playboy, and loves the idea of being a superhero. Many question the wisdom of hiring troubled actor Downey Jr. for this film but he has proven his critics completely wrong with an outstanding performance and easily one of the best of his career. The film also has a beautiful subtext that hints at the darkness in Starks heart, a darkness which fans of the comic know all too well and film goers will see more of as this series progresses and Tony becomes less and less the lovable drunk and a more tragic hero. Favreau is another director who came into films with a small indie movie but who has proven to have the talent and skill to pull of such a big film. As spectacular as the special effects and action sequences are the heart of the story is always Stark and with that comes the strange relationships he has with his assistant Pepper Potts (GWYNETH PALTROW) and his robotic assistants.
The biggest complaint I can offer deals with the usual suspension of disbelief stuff that fills movies of this ilk but, really, none of it bothered me deeply or got in the way of the film. The acting is superb, the direction is very good, and the story is a great starting point for this new franchise. Honestly, you cant ask for a much better start to the summer movie season.
IRON MAN is a fantastic movie and is definitely a film best seen in a theater. The only downer here is that now our hopes are up again with superhero films and itll only take another GHOST RIDER to kick us back down again. For now, bask in the glory that is the Iron Man.
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