Batman Begins is still the best comic book movie (and I’m sure it’ll be topped by The Dark Knight), but Iron Man, stomping its way into theaters today gives it a run for its money. Like Batman Begins, this movie is heavily grounded in reality, but Iron Man has more of an edge by eliminating the need for a silly costume. The movie is perfectly paced, heavy with character development, and full of awe-inspiring moments.
I appreciate the fact that this movie is unapologetic for its violence and Tony Stark’s nature as a drinker and a womanizer. The script isn’t dumbed down, nor does it does it ever talk down to its audience. And there’s so many bricks laid down for the next movie and Marvel film continuity as a whole that fans like us will gobble it up. But none of these “inside” clues will detract from the casual movie goer’s experience, and that’s why this movie works so well.
Another reason this movie works is its scale. It’s not a global threat or city destroying monster Tony has to fight – it’s his mentor, his father figure. It’s also an industrial war of sorts, not just on a weaponized scale, but on a corporate and economic scale. What makes the final confrontation more heated is that it’s become a family affair, and when it’s that personal, it means a hell of a lot more.
Performances are excellent across the board. Everyone’s been raving about Robert Downey Jr.’s performance as Tony Stark and there’s nothing more I can add that hasn’t been said. He was born for this role. He not only plays the flawed side of Stark perfectly, but he also shows a lot of vulnerability as well. Jeff Bridges is fantastic is Obadiah Stane. He plays a very likable character, and when he goes off the deep-end, I can honestly say I felt just as betrayed as Tony. Yes, I knew it was going to happen, but that’s how believable Bridges’ performance was.
The movie isn’t perfect, however. Ramin Djawadi completely fails with his Iron Man score. The score is pure background noise – completely nonexistent. Why Marvel has been unable to forge a score that echos the “iconicism” of its characters is beyond me. Perhaps the closest was Danny Elfman’s Spider-Man theme, but even that was lacking. Other small nitpicks include Mandarin’s race change, Jarvis being relegated to a computer, and making the audience wait through 10 minutes of credits just to see the Nick Fury scene, which by the way, is brilliant. The scene is strictly for the fans – casual movie goers won’t see any value in Fury’s statement to Tony Stark. But for us, it means everything. I am incredibly pleased with how this movie turned out and can’t wait to see it again. (Grade: A)
- J. Montes
A Second Opinion
Iron Man lived up to its hype and then some. It was, in my opinion, the perfect example of what a superhero movie should be. Tony Stark’s character, while somewhat revamped, remains true to the spirit of the comics, and at the same time tells new viewers everything they need to know. The evolution of his character from the beginning of the movie to the end is flawless and believable. Likewise, the villainous characters also make sense, and don’t come off as the average “insane with revenge” bad guys. The story, itself, also comes off as plausible. Usually, when watching a superhero movie, you have to hold up your suspension of disbelief and keep in mind what you are watching. With Iron Man this is not the case; it feels like something I might hear about on the evening news. Granted, several of the technologies are futuristic, but they do not draw attention to themselves as being so as in, for example, the X-Men and Fantastic Four movies.
Perhaps, most importantly, this movie was just plain fun to watch, I laughed out loud several times from pure enjoyment. Cheesiness was kept to a minimum (there was a bit present, but never enough to make me groan), and the humor was witty and appropriate. As I type this, I am still getting over the elation of seeing this movie, so I admit my opinion might be a bit biased when I say this, but: Iron Man may just be my favorite superhero movie yet, though I’ll have to see it two or three more times before I can be sure. And here is one very important bit of advice to all movie goers: STAY UNTIL THE END OF THE CREDITS. Trust me, you will NOT regret it. (Grade: A+)
A Third Opinion
Just to clear things up, I know almost nothing about Iron Man. How he came to be, who Stark was before – it’s all a mystery to me. I wasn’t a Marvel fan growing up (and still not). Basically, superhero comic books have and never will appeal to me. I read Civil War (because of Michael Turner’s covers) and came out hating Iron Man and his bloody “registration act”. Now that you know where I’m coming from, let’s get back to the movie.
The marketing group at Paramount has done a great job letting every single person on this planet with a TV or internet connection that the movie is coming out. The hype, the bombardment of photos, teasers, trailers, comics, Iron Man here, Iron Man there… I was expecting the “Second Coming” after all that. But it wasn’t. The movie has only three big action pieces in its 2 hour runtime and I wanted more. But regardless of my greed, it’s actually a fun movie. The three action scenes are also worth the price of admission. I also loved the character progression throughout the story, the humor, and the drama. Now Marvel, you’ve won me over with this movie. Please make Iron Man 2 more action oriented! (Grade: B+)
In case you were wondering, here’s my Top 10 movies adapted from comics so you can get a reference of where Iron Man fits:
1. Batman Returns
2. Batman Begins
4. Iron Man (B+)
9. The Crow
10. The Punisher (Thomas Jane)
A Fourth Opinion
People have been saying to me for the past few months, “Hey, Iron Man looks like it will be really good.” To which I usually reply, “Yeah but they all look good in the trailers.”
Iron Man was always one of my favorite characters so I tried to guard against having big expectations for this one. Well I’m delighted to say that this movie did not disappoint in any way shape or form. This was really a first rate super-hero movie. The packed theater audience seemed to agree with. There was ample laughter (there are a lot of funny bits in the film), applause when Iron Man first swings into action, and a healthy round of applause at the end.
The acting is first rate. Robert Downey Jr. is perfect as Tony Stark. He’s witty, charming, and charismatic and you walk away feeling that no one else could have done this role justice. The chemistry between all the stars is excellent, they really work well together and I look forward to seeing more of this cast in these roles.
The movie presents a version of Iron Man’s origin that is updated while staying true to the original. The action scenes are first rate with Iron Man’s first adventure, the taking out of some terrorists using Stark weapons, being a highlight of the film. There are great little touches in the film, Stan Lee’s customary cameo is perhaps his best yet, and Tony is constantly conversing with an English-accented artificial intelligence named Jarvis. If one listens carefully during the Vegas scenes early in the film you can the melody from Iron Man’s theme song from the old Marvel cartoons, you know, “Tony Stark makes you feel . . .,” you know the rest.
What I really liked is that there are several story elements introduced early in the film, such as when Tony finds a limitation in his armor design when taking it on a high flying test flight, that take on greater importance later in the film. Nothing is wasted or throw-away, everything fits together nicely. Most importantly, the movie was just plain fun, and left feeling like I couldn’t wait to see it again. (Grade: A+)
A Fifth Opinion
I am going to make it a point to keep this short and sweet. I don’t want to go over everything that was already said so, instead, I will just say that Iron Man is one hell of a good superhero flick and all fans should take the time to check this one out. Robert Downey Jr. was an absolutely perfect Tony Stark, the teases for future Marvel movies worked incredibly well, and overall I could not be much happier with how the movie turned out… Bring on Hellboy II, Hulk, and The Dark Knight. It’s a good time to be a comic book fan. (Grade: A)