Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Iron Man - Mini Movie Review

Well, what can I say? Marvel have hit the proverbial (Iron) nail right on the head here! Iron Man rocks!

I finally got to see this movie last night after months and months of painful waiting (more painful when you've seen the toys, characters and movie footage before anyone else at Hasbro's head office way back in 2007 and been to the San Diego Comic Con unveiling!) but it was most definitely worth the wait. Having been a fan of Iron Man for many years, my fears of another silver screen injustice were laid to rest as I watched an enjoyable, shiny new superhero movie.

Warning: Spoilers

Y'know it's always difficult to watch an initial 'birth of a superhero' movie, more so when you're a fan and you know the whole 'how they got where they are' background story. That said movie studios are getting better at it and recent films such as Spider-man and Batman Begins have been enjoyable outings with a firm promise (and delivery) of more action packed sequels. Once you get past the whole 'birth' part you're free to get on with the good stuff, but it's a necessary evil. I have to say that in Iron Man's case I thought this definitely worked to its advantage and that the creation and building process of the Iron Man armour was an incredibly enjoyable thing to watch. Non fans might think that this dragged a little but this makes the movie what it is, an insight into this characters ability and mindset.

Tony Stark, a multi-millionaire weapons manufacturing industrialist and flamboyant playboy is taken prisoner in the Middle East and forced to create a weapon for the enemy of the United States. During his capture he takes shrapnel to his chest (from one of his own weapons used against him) and needs an electro magnet placed in his chest to keep shards of metal away from his heart. The man who saves Tony's life is Yinsen, another prisoner who ends up helping Tony build a giant suit of armour to escape their prison instead of the proposed weapon.
After escaping his captors with his rough and clunky Mark 1 armour Tony returns to the US a new man, a man with a mission to stop his weapons being used against his country and his fellow Americans. He decides that his company can no longer follow the course of manufacturing weapons and must go in a different direction, much to the shock of his colleagues and business partner. As a technical genius Stark begins to upgrade his armour designs, testing a Mark 2 silver version out (with some laugh out loud moments of hilarity which Robert Downey Jr pulls off perfectly) and eventually settles with a sleeker, more powerful red and gold version which runs smoothly from a new miniature Arc Generator placed in his chest (which replaces the old electro magnet installed in his prsion cave).
The film focuses on Tony's building and testing of his new superhero suit while his business partner Obidiah Stane is shown to be a back stabbing, money hungry turncoat, intent on Tony's downfall and death. Stane obtains the specs for the Mark 1 armour and builds and new prototype 'Iron Monger' armour which he intends to eventually make billions with on the weapons market. The only way he can make the armour work however is with Tony's Arc Generator and no-one else has the techno-savvy to remake it. Commence the battle for power...

Robert Downey Jr was born to play the role of Tony Stark, much as Patrick Stewart was a perfect Xavier in X-men or Christopher Reeves was for Superman. His one liners and dry humour in the movie hit the mark and his scenes sparkle with a natural ability to draw the audience in to believe this man could really do what he's doing.
Gwyneth Paltrow is simply stunning as Pepper Potts and shines as Stark's faithful assistant and genuine love interest. Their scenes together seem natural and you can almost believe a playboy like Tony would give it all up for her, which is what we all want to see isn't it?
Jeff Bridges plays the greedy bad guy well and looks almost monstrous with his bald head and beard. I still can't believe that's the same guy that was in Tron and Starman! His defection is played well and again the believability factor is there in spades.
Terence Howard in a very likable addition and comes across well as Tony's friend and confidant. The character of 'Rhodey' will be known to fans as the future 'War Machine', another suit of armour that Stark builds with a black and grey paint job and heavy artillery. Let's hope we see this brought to life in the sequel as I know it'll kick ass if it's included. It's even hinted at when Howard sees the Mark 2 armour and quips "next time" with a smile on his face.

All in all the movie couldn't have been executed much better than it was, sure there's a few incongruities and a few 'he wouldn't have survived that' moments but hell, it's a superhero movie and we forgive all that to see the shiny special effects and the pretty explosions. Hopefully we'll see a lot more screen time for the actual armour in action, there just wasn't enough of that here for me this time round. Need the eye candy dammit!

Warning: Super Spoiler

OK so now one of the best bits. If you stayed behind after the credits you would have seen a special scene with Samuel L Jackson cameoing as Nick Fury: Director of Shield. This was always going to be a cool addition since the 'Ultimates' comic book introduced a black version of Nick Fury (based on Jackson) to the new take on the Avengers way back in 2002. Although Sam only has a few lines to say, they are the single most important lines in the whole movie and hint at something fans will be wetting themselves to see in cinemas soon. Fury states to Stark that he's not the only superhero in the world and that he'd like to discuss with him something call the 'Avengers Initiative'. Now for all you people who have no idea what the Avengers are then here's why it's so important. The Avengers are a team of superheros created back in the 60's that originally comprised of not only Iron Man but also Captain America, Thor and Hulk among many others. This is one of the most famous and much loved Marvel comic books of all time and reflects the DC Universe's super team 'The Justice League of America' (a film recently scrapped by studio bosses).

Luckily enough for us fanboys the Avengers is in the works for a July 2011 release date. Before that time though we have Iron Man 2 set for April 2010, Thor for June 2010 and Captain America (titled 'The First Avenger') scheduled for May 2011. Many more Marvel movies to come then! AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!!!


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