Thoughts: I’ve always enjoyed the idea of comic books. It comes with the nerd territory I’ve invested myself in my whole life. The problem with comics however is that there are decades of history to consider (45 years of Iron Man, for example). You can’t just go to a comic book store, pick up the latest copy of “Iron Man” or whatever this particular miniseries is called and understand what is going on. So I always appreciate the condensed/modernized/adapted versions that hit the movie screens, as they tend to bring me all the information I need without a masters degree in the Marvel Universe.
I’ve never really given the character of Iron Man a second thought (except that he was my favorite character to play in the Captian America arcade game). I mean, he’s no Batman or Spiderman, or any of the other flagship characters in his particular universe, or so I thought. After doing some research, it turns out that Iron Man was a bigger deal to the Marvel Universe than I imagined, but that really has no bearing on this review, just an interesting fact.
Onwards to the review. Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark, typecasting himself as a womanizing, over the top playboy, nothing like he was in real life a few years ago. The role was made for him before he was born. If there was any justice in the Academy, he would be nominated for Best Actor. All of the support roles are great (Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges), but Downey makes this movie everything it is.
A lot of first superhero movies get so bogged down in becoming the superhero that they become boring or silly. Peter Parker takes 15 minutes of the first movie to get bit by the radioactive spider, another 15 minutes to figure out what this means, then another 5 minutes designing an outfit (to be fair, I don’t like Spiderman all that much anymore after seeing how whiny he is, but that’s not important right now). Batman Begins and Iron Man are all about becoming the hero because for them, its a choice. Peter Parker could have been bitten by the spider and then spent the rest of his life just crawling up walls at parties, but he would always still have those powers. He really didn’t have a reason to do heroic things. Batman has his vengeance (humorous comic about that), but Tony Stark really just has the guilt of all the bad things he’s helped to happen. He is truly a hero by choice and not circumstances. He ends up using the technology he had created to destroy things to help protect those he himself had endangered.
I found Iron Man to have the perfect blend of humor, action, and superheroics. It’s amazing to read that a lot of the movie wasn’t scripted and lines were made up on the spot. The special effects are flawless, and the whole movie was a thrill from beginning to end. As much as I love watching movies, there are usually parts in the movie where I wonder how much more is left. Not so with Iron Man. The whole two hours flowed incredibly, and I can’t imagine any sequence being cut from it.
But don’t just take my word for it. On the way there, Jessica was not excited about seeing “another dumb superhero movie”. She said this is the last one I would ever drag her to see. As the credits were rolling, she could not stop talking about how awesome it was, how Iron Man is now her favorite superhero, how we need to get it on DVD as soon as it comes out, and when we could take her mom to see it again in theaters. I may get her to see Edward Norton’s The Incredible Hulk, as Tony Stark has a cameo in it, but I very much doubt that Hulk will warm her heart as much as Tony Stark does.
VERY IMPORTANT: Do not leave until after the credits. I will not spoil it for you, but the final scene gave me shivers in nerdy places I had forgotten I had.
Overall: This summer is full of them, but for now, Iron Man is my favorite superhero movie of all time.