Iron Man (2008)
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Review Date: September 04, 2008
Director: Jon Favreau
Writer: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway
Producers: Avi Arad, Kevin Feige
Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark
Terrence Howard as Rhodey
Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts
A really really rich guy who runs an arms company in the United States finds himself kidnapped and stuck in a cave in Afghanistan, forced to build a weapon for some terrorists, eager to blow shit up. Instead of abiding by their request, the man builds himself an iron suit jacked up with artillery (he’s also a tech genius, by the way), bullet-proof surroundings and the ability to fly (yeah, he’s McGyver 2008). The fun continues when he returns to the United States and decides to change his company’s course…
A fun ride and an entertaining “origin” film that doesn’t really get going until its second half, but once it does, delivers on the goods, especially in any scene in which Robert Downey Jr. is in the Iron Man suit, or any scene in which there is a close-up of Jeff Bridges’ ingenious beard. In fact, Downey Jr. could not have been better cast in this movie as the arrogant billionaire who likes to drink and spout dry humor and sarcasm all over the place (close to his real-life persona actually, only he’s a multi-millionaire, not a billionaire). That said, I could also see how the man who was attached to this project for years before Downey, could also have been good in the role. His name? Tom Cruise. The special effects of the Iron Man suit and any scene in which it was shown kicking ass, zooming around the skies or getting jacked up, were high points in the movie for me, as were the two top relationships in Downey’s life, starting with his assistant Pepper Potts (aka Gwyneth Paltrow) and the surprisingly effective companionship that he established with his computer Jarvis. I also enjoyed Bridges’ character and his performance, which was almost a 180-degree turn from his classic turn as the Dude in THE BIG LEBOWSKI. As mentioned earlier, I also really appreciated his beard and felt the need to nuzzle with it as several points throughout the movie.

There weren’t too many things that I terribly disliked about this picture, although I thought the first hour concentrated way too much on him “becoming Iron Man”, specifically building shit and playing with his computers. We got it!! After a while, I just wanted him to get into that costume and kick arse, but thankfully once he did, I was back in the saddle again. A couple of small plot points also bothered me like how those Arabs were able to find all the pieces to his blown-to-smithereens suit, how the secondary character who also gets in a suit later on in the film is immediately an expert in terms of its functionality and at the beginning of the film…how the shit did they get electricity into those mountain caves? Small plot holes aside, I dug the film’s vibe which wasn’t too serious, and included plenty of humorous lines by Downey, loved the actual suit of armor and any scene in which it was featured (we need more of them in part 2 though) and liked pretty much all of the relationships established in the film, although Terrence Howard’s character didn’t really have much to do (I assumed they were setting him up for a greater role in part 2).

In the end, the film definitely delivers in a variety of entertainment categories including action, comedy, thrills and even some drama, thanks to Downey’s well-toned acting chops. It’s not the greatest superhero movie ever made, but it’s a damn fun ride and definitely an impressive opening round for a comic book fave that could easily become a cinematic fan-favorite in years to come (especially if they allow his drinking and womanizing to get out of hand). I suspect that the next installment will be the greater film of the two though.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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