This Week

Scott Pilgrim sought and found

Apr 30, 2008

IRON MAN Movie Made of Awesome

Lets get right to it. Finally. I don’t think that was loud enough. FINALLY! A comic book movie that is everything a comic book movie should be. The Iron Man biopic is sublime, made of awesome and so good you can taste it. Mmmm peaches…

In many circles I am known as a Superhero Movie Hater. Seriously. Check any episode of Fantastic Forum, or read my rants in this very publication and you will find me hating on films from Ghost Rider to Batman Begins to Superman Returns. Not today. Today I’ve got nothing but love. (If I see Jon Favreau on the streets I may lick him. It's that good..)

The film starts with the original origin, swapping Vietnam for Afghanistan (to keep things topical) and jumps right into the action. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is kidnapped by a group of extremist who ultimately want him to build them a super weapon. Of course Stark has never been very good at doing what he’s told. With the help of fellow scientist and lifesaver, Yinsen, he builds the antithesis of a super weapon and launches a legend.

His escape is fantastic but by no means the best action in the film. The flight scenes will keep you grinning. The fights and suit will make you cheer. In a save-the-day face off, with one of his former captors, Iron Man uses all the tricks fans crave and tops it off with a turnabout that gives the power back to the people. Just wait. You’ll be applauding in the theater.

Balancing out the action is a liberal dose of comedy—the banter between Stark and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Stark and Rhodey (Terrence Howard) is whip-smart and dead funny. Stark himself is a strange brew of relentless, self-deprecating and arrogant that is hugely likable. He quips and whips his way through every problem with an aplomb that recalls all the things that made Iron Man great. Some of the funnier scenes feature Stark, two droids and Jarvis (voiced by Paul Bettany) as they work to perfect the suit. Look out for the fire extinguisher…

The script is tight. Everything has a purpose and ties in to the story in some way. The relationships are flawlessly revealed; needing only a single moment to solidify the lifelong friendship between Stark and Rhodes “How was the Fun Vee…?”, while slowly unveiling the complexity of the bond between he and Pepper. Let’s not forget about Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger. Villainous Goodness!

The casting is perfection.

Perhaps one of the best things about the film is the ‘fan appreciation’ mixing in some of the most beloved characters and setups from the entire history of, cad about town, Tony Stark. While there is some Retcontinence, allusions to War Machine and “ten rings” along with the appearance of Agent Phil Coulson of Strategic Homeland Intercession Elite Logistics Division (I hope I got it right) are the kind of nods to the fans that make us happy.

Finally, while I appreciate many Directors’ artistic goals in adding something of themselves to superhero stories. I’ve never understood the need to diverge into the unrecognizable. Often these Directors redesign the characters, both visually and in tone, to the point that they may as well be called Cat Chick, Batdude or Dare Demon. Jon Favreau on the other hand is a true comic book lover. He gets it. He put it on screen in all its glory and it worked far better than most of the Crow infused offerings of late.

Favreau and the writing team of Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum & Matt Holloway are to be congratulated. They have created the perfect Superhero Biopic, combining the essence of the characters (this is Tony Stark), with stories inspired by the book; mixing in action, comedy, gorgeous graphics, a great script and fan appreciation. You couldn’t ask for much more.

Iron Man is everything a comic book movie should be. And to you, my friend, I say “Go Get Some!

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