IRON MAN - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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  • Movie: Iron Man
  • Reviewed Format: Theatrical Release
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Written By: Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway, based on characters created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby
  • Directed By: Jon Favreau
  • Distributor: Paramount Pictures

IRON MAN

Abbie's thoughts on the new Superhero flick.

By Abbie Bernstein     May 02, 2008

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Robert Downey Jr. in a super-suit!

It’s no slight to the very good CGI effects in Iron Man to observe that this is one of those rare superhero movies where the most noteworthy aspect of the project is the performance of the leading man. Robert Downey Jr. as genius Tony Stark, an arms dealer who sees the light, is hip without being self-conscious, emotional without overdoing it, ferociously smart and in every respect the best thing about this Marvel Comics adaptation.

Iron Man opens with Tony being kidnapped by terrorists after having just happily demonstrated his latest creation, the Jericho missile, to his U.S. military buyers in Afghanistan. Although Tony winds up with shrapnel near his heart, he is saved by a kindly doctor (Shaun Toub), who is also a linguistics expert and fellow prisoner. The leader (Faran Tahir) of the bloody-minded international band of brigands keeps Tony alive so that the scientific whiz can build a new weapon for the terrorists. While being held prisoner, Tony uses the time and resources to construct a flying metal suit that allows him to escape. Changed by his experiences, Tony decides he’d like to use the vast resources of Stark Industries to help people instead of blowing them up, which doesn’t sit well with his business partner, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges). Tony isn’t too worried about Obadiah’s opinion–he’d rather refine the super-suit than deal with boardroom politics.

Director Jon Favreau approaches Iron Man a bit like a character study. He has the good sense to get inside the helmet with Tony when Iron Man is flying around, so that the viewers get face time with him even when he’s presenting a metal visor to the world. Downey makes the most of this, dazzled, exhilarated, surprised and scared as the occasion warrants, with all the conviction one could ask. Bridges does a bang-up job of channeling John Huston from Chinatown as the villain and Gwyneth Paltrow is just about persuasive as Tony’s super-assistant with no life beyond her work.

The dialogue in the screenplay by writing teams Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway is often enjoyably, purposefully droll, and the story doesn’t require suspension of logic along with belief, flowing along reasonably within its own strictures. So what are the caveats?

While Iron Man and his eventual toughest adversaries are fun to watch in motion, the effects are reminiscent of those in the recent Transformers, a comparison that in turn invites the thought that there’s both a bit less spectacle and a bit less at stake here. On the other hand, Downey as Stark is good company, so it’s not a terrible trade-off, but by the end, it feels that there are long gaps between the action in what’s billed as an action movie. Apart from very general desires for money and power (which, granted, are motive enough in the real world), the villain has rather hazy motives and a game plan that appears to be formulated somewhat late in the running time. All of this makes Iron Man feel a little uneven.

Still, it’s a kick watching Downey get into the whole flying/self-improvement gig. This isn’t necessarily a great superhero movie, but it does boast a great superhero.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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Wiseguy 5/2/2008 1:06:37 AM
IRON MAN = AAA ......Always been a huge fan of IronMan,(since those old Marvel cartoons with hardly any animation) one of the big hitters of the Marvel Universe. Defended him through out the Civil War and I'm glad as hell he finally got his due. I just can't overstate how big a fan I've always been, not a johnny come lately. Then again growing up a Marvel zombie I guess is understandable................... Caught the 8 o'clock show then the midnight show. I'm revved up so high is unbelievable. Right now I'm putting this as one of the best superhero movies ever. It was fucking awesome, action and cgi were just out of this world, just enough comedy and still didn't take away from a terrific plot. Gwyneth Paltrow, who I've never being big on, stole my heart and was perfect for her role. The entire cast was on the money. I love how they've laid the ground work for the Mandarin with the "Ten Rings" in the future. Will definitely see it again during the weekend. Can't remember the last time I was compelled to go see multiple viewings of a film during the same weekend, not to mention the same night, that's how good this was. I just can't say enough about it. The scene and final line after the credits made me want to wet myself. I'm just giddy right now. Everybody go see this film and take the whole family.................By the way the Hulk trailer looked even more amazing on the big screen and the response from the audience gives me hope that it will be well received....Go MARVEL..............This is the only topic worthy of discussion this weekend. I must spread the word................You're giving this a B? You're nuts.
lazerman 5/2/2008 1:20:55 AM
I have not seen this Film, and I Freakin KNOW that a "B" rating has got to be the WORST freakin decision for rating this film . . I will chime in AFTER I have seen this, but, MANIA, you have to PLEASE do a write up on HOW you come to these grades It Fracken Boggles my Mind. . .
AzuLTaLoN 5/2/2008 1:28:40 AM
IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED IRON MAN FUCKING ROCKED A
samson 5/2/2008 1:30:31 AM
I just got back from seeing it. It was good. Very entertaining. The cast was great, especially Downey. HE IS TONY STARK. However, it wasn't great. I'd give it a solid A-. Keep in mind, an "A" for me is something along the lines of "LOTR: Return Of The King," "Terminator 2," and "Raiders Of The Lost Ark." Or, in the super hero genre, "Batman Begins" or "Superman 2." But, trust me on this one; you will enjoy yourself. And, make sure you stay until after the credits are done rolling. It's worth it.
kwsupes 5/2/2008 5:02:10 AM
I was blown away by Iron Man it was awesome. I thought Favreau did a great job translating the story to film and Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark without question. The entire cast was great. Comapred to the other drivel that Mania typically gives a B, Iron Man should have at least gotten an A-. By the way Hulk and Indy both look better with every trailer that comes out. Personally though something tells me that Incredible Hulk will be the surprise hit of the summer, because let's face it after Ang Lee's disaster how many of us actually had high expectations for this relaunch? Anyways Iron Man was great and I might see it again with my dad next week.
wessmith1966 5/2/2008 5:02:26 AM
I give this one an A. I couldn't find fault with it on any front. Favreau and company delivered on all fronts. Marvel really delivered the goods with this first foray into self made and self financed movies. The cast was perfect. I've never been a Paltrow fan, but she really gave Potts depth and wasn't just the "damsel in distress." Bridges was wonderful as the villain and Howard was great as Rhoades (although his voice always bothers me because it just sounds like he hasn't gone through puberty yet!). Downey Jr. was spot on as Tony Stark; I can't imagine anyone playing the role better. Favreau did an amazing job assembling and directing the cast. The effects were spectacular. The plot moved quickly, but never felt rushed for me, and the story wasn't just an "origin movie," but really showed Stark's journey from playboy genius to hero. The ending of the movie had everyone cheering, and don't you dare leave the theater before the credits end. Trust me, the five minutes of watching names rolling down the screen will be worth the 15 seconds that end the film. After all is said and done I have a feeling Iron Man will be considered one of the top five super hero movies ever made. I doubt anything will ever knock Superman out of first place for me, but Iron Man might be third or fourth on the list. The trailer for The Incredible Hulk looked terrific, too. This is going to be a great summer for Marvel.
goldeneyez 5/2/2008 6:01:33 AM
Saw it last night & Iron Man definitely deserved an A if not an A . Personally I didn't find the pacing uneven. I think from the jump if you were paying attention you could see the tension between Tony and Obidiah all the way from the opening montage about Obidiah running the company then Tony taking over. I think everyone was cast perfectly. Wessmith as far as Terrance Howard having a pre-pubesant voice, I can kind of see what you're saying, but that guy has acting range you wouldn't believe. If you look at his body of work, that guy can more than make up for it. Paltrow was great. Bridges was great. Downey stole the show, however, in what I can't help but feel like is one of THE best performances of a comicbook character to date. Everything seemed to line up for the movie as far as the writing fitting the character and actor, the actor fitting the story, the direction being spot on. It was simply great. One thing I was worried about was the trailers giving too much away and the best parts being shown, but the movie still shined and had much more depth to offer. I really think I want to go back and see it again.
wessmith1966 5/2/2008 6:28:06 AM
goldeneyez...Howard is a great actor. There's no doubt about it, one of the best of his generation. He's been brilliant in everything, even small roles like Mr. Holland's Opus. His voice just needs to change! ha ha!
rojam 5/2/2008 6:40:38 AM
A solid A. I agree with Abbie that Jeff Bridges' character needed a bit more time to be hammered out - but damn - I'll forgive on tat and the 3-4 second "obvious" CG effects during the Ironmonger/Iron Man battle - becuase this was the best superhero movie ever because you got to see the "hero" more than the "super" - RDJr. was downright amazing and if you're going to rate the movie based upon the hero - he will win hands down. Watching his chemistry with Gwyneth made me feel uncomfortable - like I was a voyeur who shouldn't be there. By far and away the best comic movie to date and a solid movie all around. But not a "B." Also - Rotten Tomatoes has this ranked as the best rated film of the year and the best rated CB movie ever...
velgron 5/2/2008 7:00:46 AM
My 5 year old daughter is anxious to see it. Is it too hardcore? I mean blood and guts.
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