Iron Man

Paul Yim Paul Yim: (paulyim-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2008-05-07 03:29:58

Iron Man - Rank A


Iron Man is, without a doubt, my favorite movie this year. There may be better movies, there may be more important movies, but THIS movie is simply invincible when it comes to sheer, full-throttle, flying-through-the-air-at-Mach 3-with-your-hair-on-fire fun! Don't read that to mean that it's a movie without any human drama or important themes. This is a movie with a heart.

Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark, the multi-billionaire arms tycoon without a soul. Yes, he deals in state-of-the-art military grade armaments – the likes of which would put the craziest Nazi scientist to shame – and he doesn't lose a wink of sleep over the vast number of human lives these weapons have ruined or ended; all this in the name of Liberty and the American Way. He's smug, arrogant, and amoral – the true love-child of Corporate America and the Military Industrial Complex. All is well until his convoy in Afghanistan is ambushed and he nearly dies from a shrapnel wound to his heart. If you're familiar with Marvel comics then you know that the Iron Man suit is closely linked to keeping Tony Stark alive because of a heart condition. The movie puts an interesting spin on that old origin story and gives it a fresh, modern perspective which is utterly believable.

John Favreau directs this sleek, sports car of a movie. He got the superhero part right and he also got the man behind the iron mask right. If this sounds easy to you consider that Brian Singer disappointed many fans by pitting Superman against (once again) Lex Luthor in the recent sequel. Is it too much to ask for Superman to go toe-to-toe once in a while with a super-baddy of equal or greater strength? Brett Ratner's colossal goat-fuck of a movie, X-Men: The Last Stand, is a prime example of the pendulum swinging the other way: did any of us care about any of the mutants in that movie? Favreau takes us on one hell of a ride as we see a heartless prick transformed into a true hero and we get to see some of the slickest CGI superhero sequences ever filmed. Very early on in the production he showed the CGI wiz-kids at ILM some scenes from Top Gun and Stealth. He said, "I don’t want Stealth, I want Top Gun!" Take it from me: Iron Man can fly, it's true.

Jeff Bridges and Terrence Howard play good supporting characters and many of you comic book fans will thrill at one of Howard's lines (he plays Tony Stark's best friend James Rhodes). Gwyneth Paltrow is the beautiful and capable Virginia 'Pepper' Potts and, I have to say, that she's looking better than ever. I don't know if it's because of the director of photography or her make-up artist or what, but she is a stunning vision on the screen. She's vulnerable, strong, leggy, smart as a whip, and all around (here's a new word for ya) blondiful.

Iron Man is in theaters as of this writing and is rated PG-13 for some violence and some suggested 'let's get it on!' with a hot reporter. Oh, and Tony Stark does not have stewardesses on his private jet. They are strippers merely posing as stewardesses. What's a billionaire arms manufacturer/playboy to do?

The second link is the 2-disc Collector's version of the film, and the third is the Blu-ray edition.

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