Written by Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby
and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway
Directed by Jon Favreau
Running Time: 2:05
for some intense sequences of
sci-fi action and violence,
and brief suggestive content.
Iron Man was a good, but not great, comic book film that looked fantastic but didn't have a lot of action...
Tony Stark is a billionaire playboy, but a brilliant man as well. His company specializes in military hardware, and on a trip to Afghanistan to showcase his latest technology, he is kidnapped by a local terrorist group. He is almost killed, but a fellow prisoner saves his life using a unique technique designed to keep floating metal shrapnel from entering Stark's heart. It is powered by a car battery. The terrorists want Stark to recreate his greatest weapons, so they can take control of the Asian land mass. But Stark has other ideas. He first devises a better device to keep his new heart protection unit running. And then, using his inventiveness, he builds an iron body cast, complete with weaponry, and manages to escape. When he returns home, he decides that being a weapons manufacturer isn't the right thing to do, and instead he focuses his energy on creating an even better iron suit. Needless to say, he succeeds, but not everyone agrees with his decisions. Obadiah Stane, who ran the company after Stark's father died, doesn't like the idea of the company going into the toilet. He steals Stark's ideas for the iron man outfit and creates one of his own. The battle is now on.
I was never into Iron Man when I was a kid, so I didn't know much about his story before the movie. I purposely didn't read up on it because I decided this time I was going to go in blind and see if the movie could excite me. For the most part it succeeded, but there were issues. First off, Robert Downey Jr. is fantastic in the lead role. I enjoyed the fact that he kept everything very light, but not in a cheesy way. Stark didn't remind me of a guy destined to become a superhero, but one who decided it was the right thing to do. So he was never always moody and sad, he was constantly upbeat and enjoying his newly created abilities. It was the right choice for the role. The rest of the cast was mostly disposable. Gwyneth Paltrow and Leslie Bibb both looked good, but the roles could have been played by anyone. Terrence Howard was the same way, looking like he mailed the role in, although from some of his comments it seems his character plays more of a role in Iron Man lore. Jeff Bridges had more to do and looked the part of the bad guy. His facial hair (and lack of head hair) was kind of a dead giveaway as to which way he would turn, but he certainly looked more menacing then I imagined he ever could. The terrorists were a stock group of dark skinned brothers, also interchangeable with just about any actor out there. Thankfully Downey Jr. was in 95% of the film and his charisma was more than enough to compensate for everyone else.
The special effects were pretty impressive. Whether it's because effects in general are getting better and better with each film, or because director Jon Favreau used more real techniques than CGI, I'm not sure, but everything looked spectacular. The action sequences really stood out because they were done so well. They also stood out because there weren't a lot of them. The film starts with a flashback and after a couple of explosions, we're in a cave watching Stark build his iron man outfit. After a cool escape, we're again waiting around for something to happen. Now, the first time he really uses the suit is pretty amazing. The sequence you see in the trailers with him flying and being chased by fighter jets goes on for a few minutes and is a complete adrenaline rush. Once again however, the movie slows down when that sequence is over, and it's not until the last 10 minutes of the film that we get another action moment.
The film clocks in at just over 2 hours, and I don't think there was more than 15-20 minutes worth of action. I'm all for telling a story and getting to know your characters, but other than Stark, they didn't really even do that. So that means that the action needs to be fairly consistent and the lack of it is what really hurt the film. What I saw looked great, but I wanted more to keep me on the edge of my seat. With all the expectations of being the film that kicks off the summer season, and all the buzz that has built up, the movie should have been more. And would it have killed them to use the actual song 'Iron Man' at some point during the film? There's a tiny bit of it over the closing credits, but c'mon... it would have been a signature moment if at one point in the movie, we see him completely as Iron Man and then the music kicks in. I have no idea how they blew that, unless for some reason Ozzy decided he didn't want his song used. But that wouldn't make sense since we all know how far Ozzy will go to make a buck.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I liked Iron Man, I just didn't think it was the greatest movie ever. It looked fantastic and what actions sequences there were, were spectacular. Robert Downey Jr. was perfect in his role. But the lack of attention grabbing moments, and an almost unimportant supporting cast, hurt the film. I'm gonna say we'll see a sequel soon, so here's hoping that one is even better.
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