Iron Man ****
One Liner Review:
A pretty fantastic superhero movie, from it’s creative origin story to it’s surprise villain to it’s fun and exciting action.
Iron Man is the superhero movie that gets everything right. The last time a superhero movie was this good was Christopher Nolan’s first batman movie, batman begins, and even that film lacked a sense of humor. Iron Man, on the other hand, has got humor spilling over the sides. And yet it’s not a comedy. It’s an action movie with a lead character, tony stark (Robert Downey Jr.), who is just a laid-back playboy billionaire with a hell of a sense of humor. This guy is not only relaxed and funny, but also super smart. His one flaw is arrogance, and he doesn’t seem to care about that one a bit.
The movie opens with a car ride in military hummers, through a desert in Afghanistan. We get into one of the vehicles with tony stark and a bunch of soldiers and listen to their conversation, which is filled with jokes. Then suddenly the hummer blows up, the men outside of the vehicle are fired upon, and tony ends up getting taken prisoner by a group of terrorists.
We cut to twenty-four hours earlier and see an awards ceremony that begins with a video montage of tony and his father and the way tony rose up and took his father’s place. The video is filled with magazine covers and newspaper headlines about Tony’s life in the technology business, and it also shows a lot of Obadiah (Jeff Bridges), the character who used to be the partner of Tony’s father. Now Obadiah is Tony’s partner.
Stark industries manufactures weapons and that’s the reason why stark is out there in the desert to begin with. he’s there to demonstrate a new missile, known as the Jericho. he even gives a cool little speech before the demonstration about how the best weapon is the kind you only have to fire once. then we get the demonstration and then the scene of him in the hummer and the attack. now we are back to where the movie began, and ready to move forward with the story.
stark is in a cave, being held prisoner by these terrorists, and being forced to build a weapon for them. only he doesn’t build it. instead, he builds a suit which is big and clunky and will be the original prototype for the iron man suit. he has a pretty great escape scene where he slams down his giant metal fists on bad guys and sends them flying across the cave. and he breaks out of there with flame throwers and a jet pack that sends him up in the air, but just not for very long.
all of this is pretty cool, and it’s a great first act. by the time it’s over and stark is back in the states with his personal assistant, pepper potts (gwenyth paltrow), we are already a solid portion into the movie. and we’ve seen a lot of wild action as well as a detailed and interesting storyline about how the suit was created out of necessity. i like the idea of our hero having to escape from a situation in a distant land and learn something over there before he could come back to his own country and use what he took away from the experience. it’s really the same idea as was used in batman begins, with bruce wayne having to escape not only a prison, but then also the league of shadows, before he could return to gotham. the idea works great in both movies, and while it’s very dark in that film, it is handled with some fun humor in this one. considering that these are two of the best superhero movies ever made, i would say the coincidence might actually not be a coincidence at all.
the next part of the movie involves tony designing his suit and making improvements. there are some great tests of the flight equipment, and a really cool moment where tony is sticking his hand into a hologram projection of the wrist armor and moving it around. he’s also got a hologram trash bin that he throws things into from the hologram wrist armor as he continues to design it. tony interacts a lot with his robotic voice butler, jarvis, who helps him design everything about the suit.
meanwhile, there are problems with the company. tony has gotten a new sense of morality since his experience over in afghanistan. when he comes back, he makes a pretty interesting speech to the press about whether his father ever had to take responsibility for what he was doing, making weapons for the world. tony was always naive enough to think he was making these weapons for america, but the truth is that once the weapons are made, they can and often do end up in the hands of whoever will pay the most.
this is a superhero movie with brains. it’s not only got the great action, but also the thinking man’s storyline. there’s plenty of creativity spread out in action scenes, going around here, including an aerial dogfight scene where iron man takes on two fighter jets that are sent out to get him. and then there’s a cool scene where he goes back to a village in afghanistan and fights off all the terrorists there. the best thing about all of the action here is that every moment seems fresh. every move this guy makes is meant to show off another amazing thing about his suit and it’s capabilities. by doing that, nothing ever feels repetitive or tiresome.
one of the best things about this movie is the villain. it’s kind of a surprise. especially in the connections that this villain has to other bad guys from earlier in the film. the villain ends up in a giant monstrous suit that is pretty cool to see in action. and aside from all of the humor, and the action, and the smart plot with it’s twists about who the villain is, there’s also great casting here. the four primary players are downey jr., paltrow, jeff bridges, and terrence howard. bridges and downey are the ones who really deliver the most. both of them are absolutely perfect in their roles, and bridges really is a believable tycoon who you don’t know if you feel good about trusting. iron man is one of those movies that just delivers in every way. the action and plot are the most important things in a movie like this, and they are both exceptional, but there are also a bunch of other great things going on here as well, starting with the wonderful sense of humor. what a terrific film.