Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Awesomeness that is Iron Man

I was recently witness to a cinematic experience that renewed my faith in both God and man. And yes, as you can guess by the title of this article, that film was Iron Man. As Marvel's first time out of the gate with a movie produced entirely by themselves without the interference, er, I mean partnership with a major motion picture studio it was an unquestionable success. Of course only time and box office numbers will tell if Iron Man is a success in the true sense of the word (ie. money) but as an obsessive moviewatcher, casual comic book reader (very little background in reading Iron Man comics), and general fan of awesomeness, I was definitely impressed. The special effects were superbly blended with the live action actors, the plot was well-thought out, and Robert Downey Jr. did a fantastic job as usual. And of course there is the wonderful direction of Jon Favreau (yeah, that guy from Swingers).

The casting obviously was a major part of what made this movie great. Cudos to Robert Downey Jr. for playing himself: a drunken, womanizing celebrity who exudes charisma from virtually every bodily oriface. He did a fantastic job of portraying Tony Stark, mixing the right amounts of humour, arrogance and humanity that made him so accessible to the audience. This was a great character study of a "flawed" hero. His chronic drinking (I mean, who brings alcohol to a weapons deal? I'm no expert, but ever since my uncle lost his leg after my cousin's 17th birthday party I have been a big supporter of the philosophy that "Booze and guns don't mix" let alone "Booze and weapons of mass destruction don't mix), and inability to commit to a serious adult relationship (Banging the reporter who questioned your ethical obligations as a weapons manifacturer: priceless) really brought him to the level of a mortal man, rather than some kind of goody-goody, indestructible super man.

Of course it was great seeing Jeff Bridges playing a bad guy. Ever since The Big Lebowski I have loved that guy. Of course after that flick I always think of Jeff Bridges as The Dude (He was a lazy man, and my personal hero) and it's difficult for me to reconcile the fact that he doesn't have a white russian in one hand, a roach in the other, and a flabby stoner's body, but he does an excellent job in Iron Man as the antagonist Obadiah Stane. Gwyneth Paltrow, who I was very surprised to see in this type of film, did an excellent job as usual. I've always loved Gwyneth (that's right, we're on a first name basis). She has an elegant beauty and she carries herself with such grace, not to mention the fact that she can act circles around most so-called actors today. It was also really cool to see Jon Favreau giving himself a small cameo in the movie. I mean, come on, wouldn't you?

As far as plot goes, this movie was lightyears better than several other superhero movies (need I remind you of the abomination that was Punisher?) The movie takes no time in getting into Iron Man's origin. It was pretty hardcore, what with Tony Stark being kept alive with a car battery at one point and crazy exploratoy surgery in some dank cave in Afganistan. I particularly enjoyed the lack of a sappy love story, although I did enjoy the interplay between Tony and Penny. I think that Jon Favreau really handled Tony Stark's motivation for becoming the metallic hero very well, not getting too cheesy, or having Tony suddenly swing from horny-drunken-millionaire-playboy to ultra-noble-tights-wearing-boyscout. Of course there was plenty of ass-kicking action leading up to the final metal-suit-wearing-man on metal-suit-wearing-man action. I don't know but watching giant metal humanoids fight each other to the death always makes me blow my load (thanks again Transformers for getting me through so many lonely, lonely nights). And thank you Iron Man for helping clean out my pipes again.

So overall impressions of this film? Excellent. Is it my favourite superhero movie of all time? Sorry to Mr. Stark and Mr. Favreau, but no. I can't really think of anything wrong with the movie ("The truth is.... I am Iron Man.") I still don't think it's quite as good as Spider-Man 2 or my personal favourite Batman Begins (which I'm sure will be knocked down to number two once I see The Dark Knight). But if this is a sign of things to come from Marvel's new line of independently-produced movies then I am definitely sold. It also gives me hope for the new Hulk movie. Overall I was very impressed and can't wait to own this puppy on DVD (or Blu-Ray now I guess). What a great start to the 2008 summer movie season. Let's hope it's a sign of things to come, because I just bought a bunch of new underwear just waiting to be creamed in.
Rating 8.5/10 = Shining Metal Helmet of Heroism


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