Iron Man Review: “Truth is… I am Iron Man.”

Posted: 11/01/2013 in Movie Reviews
Tags: , , ,

By Keith Crandell Jr.

(Editor’s Note: Iron Man should always be enjoyed with a side of AC/DC. Listen here.)

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What most people (myself included) could not have predicted when Marvel Studio’s hit Iron Man released in 2008 was that A. Robert Downey Jr.’s career had been revitalized and that he would go on to be one of the biggest stars in the industry, and that B. Iron Man was actually the first in what would become a multi-billion dollar franchise. Leading man Robert Downey Jr. stars as everyone’s favorite genius billionaire playboy philanthropist and weapons inventor/dealer Tony Stark.

When Tony Stark takes a trip to Afghanistan for a weapons demonstration for the United States military, he and his convoy is attacked by a terrorist organization called the Ten Rings. Their motives are simple: terrorize the crap out of the region using Stark’s own weapons. Stark is taken prisoner and the attack has left him with shrapnel stuck in his chest, requiring him to use a battery powered electromagnet to prevent the shrapnel from entering his heart and killing him. Instead of creating the weapons his captors desire, Stark, along with fellow prisoner and all around decent human being Ho Yinsen (Shaun Toub), create a miniaturized Arc Reactor; a super electromagnet capable of keeping the shrapnel out of his chest, and, as he puts it, “power something really big for fifteen minutes.” The duo work to create what becomes the first Iron Man suit, and Stark manages to escape. He is forever haunted and changed by his experience and Yinsen’s dying words to make something of the second chance he’s been given.

Back in civilization after months in captivity, Stark shuts down the weapons development department of his company, which puts him at odds with his business partner Obediah Stane (Jeff Bridges) and his best friend and Stark Industries/U.S. Military liaison James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Terrence Howard).  Fortunately, he has his AI butler J.A.R.V.I.S. (Paul Bentley) and assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) to help him through his difficult adjustment phase post-captivity. In the months to follow, Stark focuses almost solely on developing his Iron Man suit, and then fighting back against the terrorist organization that captured him in order to ensure that no one is put in harm’s way by his weapons again.

Personally, Iron Man is my favorite of the “Phase 1” movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Going in knowing next to nothing about the character or the studio’s plans, 16 year old Keith was blown away entirely. Seeing the simultaneously awkward yet endearing relationship between Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark and Paltrow’s Pepper Potts is a treat; the dialogue between the two (along with the rest of the movie overall) is very humorous, and they have great chemistry together. While the Tony at the start of the movie is kind of a dick, through his experiences he matures enormously and becomes an actual hero.

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The hardest part isn’t actually building the suit, it’s figuring out exactly how it works when it all comes together.

My absolute favorite thing part of the movie is during development of what becomes the Mark II Iron Man suit. Unlike almost every superhero seen on the big screen thus far, Tony Stark has zero super powers, and has to create his own badass suit of armor in order to enter the fray. One of the most comical and interesting points of a superhero movie is the powers, or at the very least, the exploration of those powers. In this regard, Iron Man is arguably the best. Stark’s testing of his Iron Man suit throughout its development is hysterical, and helps ground the movie. Sure he’s a genius, but that doesn’t mean he gets it right the first (or second or third) time, and it’s great watching him learn from his mistakes.

The final fight between Iron Man and the Iron Monger is one of the weakest points of the movie, and the most noticeably CGI heavy portion.

The final fight between Iron Man and the Iron Monger is one of the weakest points of the movie, and the most noticeably CGI heavy portion.

Wrap Up

Iron Man helped revolutionized the “superhero” genre. For a man with no powers, in a universe where gods, aliens, other dimensions, and a giant being that eats planets all exist, director Jon Favreau and Marvel Studios instead chose to ground the character in a much more real world setting. Though the Iron Man technology and Stark’s home are clearly much more advanced than the technology we have today, nothing in the entirety of the movie stands outside the realm of possibility, and that makes it that much more awesome. For me, Iron Man is the best of the Phase 1 movies (Captain America: The First Avenger is right on its ass for second place though) and is arguably one of the best superhero movies ever made.

+RDJ and Paltrow are fantastic in their roles

+The perfect choice to lead the Marvel Cinematic Universe

+CGI is looks damn near realistic, with the exception of the final fight…

-…With a weak villain

-Some pacing issues overall. The highs are high but the lows are REALLY low

Score: 8.5/10

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