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Review: Iron Man

Iron Man
05.01.2008
9 10

Plot: Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), a billionaire weapons manufacturer, is ambushed during a trip to Afghanistan, and captured by a terrorist cell. He deceives his captors into thinking that he's building them a guided missile system, when in reality he's actually building a deadly armored suit that he uses to escape. Upon returning to his old life, Stark realizes that he's not the same man he was prior to his abduction, and decides to use the technology he developed in captivity for good. He becomes IRON MAN, an armored super hero dedicated to fighting evil and protecting the innocent.

Review: Finally! A summer blockbuster that lives up to the hype! IRON MAN is one heck of an entertaining film, and the best popcorn film to come out in ages. While I wouldn't call myself an avid comic book reader, I know a good super hero movie when I see one and IRON MAN is one of the greats.

You've really got to hand it to Jon Favreau. While over the years he's proven himself to be a capable director, I truly had no idea that he'd be able to pull off a film of this scale. The action sequences are absolutely spectacular (and actually further the plot, unlike those in SPIDER MAN 3), and the special effects are some of the best I've ever seen. Obviously no expense was spared in the production of this film, and it shows onscreen.


Eye candy aside, what really sets IRON MAN apart from other super hero movies is the fantastic job done by Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role. One cannot overstate how good he is in this film. His Tony Stark is one of the most believable super heroes ever put on film and he absolutely nails the part. Unlike the saintly Peter Parker, Stark is a flawed man. He's a selfish, middle aged, womanizing boozer who's totally enamored with himself and only lives to have fun. He makes deadly weapons and doesn't care who they hurt as long as he gets paid. His transformation into a true hero is what drives this film, and the filmmakers wisely never lose sight of this. I also like that Stark doesn't posses any super powers beyond his keen intellect- and is actually a physically weak man due to a shrapnel wound he suffers early on. When he suits up and becomes IRON MAN, it's really exhilarating - as Spider Man is still Spider Man with or without his suit - but Stark is nothing without his armor.

Truth be told, while the supporting cast is definitely a cut above for this kind of film, IRON MAN really is essentially a one man show. That said, I quite liked Gwyneth Paltrow as Stark's loyal secretary- Pepper Potts. She's very sweet and likable in the role, and has good chemistry with Downey Jr. Terrence Howard plays Stark's close friend Jim Rhodes but he doesn't have a heck of a lot to do here besides look exasperated at Stark's constant shenanigans. I'm sure the role will grow in future installments, and anyone who's read the comics knows that Rhodes eventually becomes the hero War Machine. His future role in the franchise is hinted at towards the end and I look forward to seeing what kind of super hero Howard will make.

None other than The Dude himself, Jeff Bridges, is on board to play the sinister Obadiah Stane and Bridges is a surprisingly good (albeit minor) villain. While some may complain that the film doesn't really have a strong villainous presence- I think that there simply was not enough room in the film to establish a better villain- and it's better that the filmmakers did not try to cram too many characters into one film (ahem!- SPIDER MAN 3- ahem!).

Probably the only area that I was somewhat disappointed in was the fairly generic score by Ramin Djawadi. The score was produced by Hans Zimmer, and it shows. It's your typical electronic, pulse pounding action score and while there's nothing really wrong with it, there's nothing that really sets it apart either. Still, that's a fairly minor quibble, and does not detract from the film at all.

Also there's been a rumor floating around online that Samuel L. Jackson pops up as Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D after the credits. While that organization is mentioned briefly, Jackson does not appear in the version that I saw. However, it is rumored that all versions of the film shown prior to opening day would be missing that scene if indeed it does exist so I suggest sticking around until after the credits - but no promises.

Overall, I thought IRON MAN was a total blast and judging by the tremendous reception it received at the sneak preview I attended a sequel is a given. IRON MAN is the best superhero film to come along since BATMAN BEGINS and is one hell of a way to start off summer of 2008.

Grade: 9/10

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Source: JoBlo.com

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