|A two-hour-long geekgasm|
At this point, superhero movies are starting to become old hat. We've had entire trilogies based on Marvel's favorites, Spider-Man and the X-Men. The Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the Punisher, Daredevil, and plenty of others have likewise graced the silver screen with varying results. Out of this prestigious group of do-gooders, Iron Man has never ranked very highly on my list; after watching one of the best superhero movies of all time that has changed.
From the very start this movie grabs you with its style and humor, with Tony Stark - amazingly portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. - cracking some jokes and showing his charismatic nature, getting some soldiers to loosen up. This natural character development continues throughout the entire film, with Stark alternating between genius, playboy, and all-around good guy.
This movie really does end up being character driven. Aside from feeling like Tony Stark would be a great guy to hang out with, you also fall in love with Ms. Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), grow suspicious of Mr. Stane (Jeff Bridges), and become slightly bemused by a recurring and sexy journalist (Leslie Bibb). Jon Favreau has really managed to get the most out of his actors, making them feel like they jumped right from the pages of the comic.
Every element of the movie feels that way, however. The visual style combined with the little Marvel touches pay direct homage to Iron Man's origins without becoming mired down by them. The movie isn't afraid to modernize and break continuity (Jarvis isn't a butler, but an AI system for example), but in doing so it only helps matters. There are even plenty of in-jokes for diehard comic book fans, such as Tony at one point saying, in reference to the long-standing alibi used in the comics, "My bodygyard? People will never believe that."
Despite striking a perfect balance between humor, action, and character development, the movie isn't itself perfect. The story is probably its weakest point. That's not to say it's bad, it just doesn't live up to the rest of the film. It's very much about Tony getting a reason to build the suit, then spending the majority of the film working on the suit, with a big fight at the end. No major twists here (at least none that you can't see if you've ever read an Iron Man comic). Despite this, I can't truly find fault with the simplistic story for the very basic reason that it works.
As has become standard in every Marvel superhero movie, Stan Lee makes a humorous appearance, upping the geek factor. The final burst of geekgasm comes after the credits have finished. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but let's just say fans of The Ultimates will get an extra-special kick out of it. My inner fanboy let out an external *squee!* of glee.
I really don't know what else to say. This movie is colorful, action-packed, funny, well-acted, and simply incredible. You would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't go see it at your first possible opportunity. Even if you've never been that big of an Iron Man fan, like myself, you will still love this movie. Without any hesitation, this film gets my Seal of Approval.
Written by Hyperion, 2008-05-03 23:33:03
IMDb page: Iron Man (2008)