Iron Man (2008), or There Are No Ugly Superheroes

4 01 2009
Are you really a superhero when you dont have any superpowers, Tony?

Are you really a "superhero" when you don't have any superpowers, Tony?

A quick shout-out to the person who asked me to watch this movie. And that person is every single person I have known since this movie has been out in theaters. I am officially the last person on Earth to watch this movie. Oops! Better late than never, huh?

This is going to be the one that gets me in trouble. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t dreading watching this. I’ve been bad-mouthing this movie since I first heard about it in ’07. As a comic book aficionado, I feel very strongly about comic book movies, especially the whole Marvel Comics vs. DC Comics debate. I DO NOT LIKE MARVEL COMICS. Just throwing that out there. So, as you can imagine, when I heard that Iron Man, in my opinion one of the least interesting Marvel heroes and the weakest link in The Avengers since their conception, I was rather doubtful. When I saw the special effects and the big names they had herded into the cast, I was still rather doubtful. When I had heard that Iron Man had smashed box office records and had become a critical darling, I was yet still rather doubtful. So for this review, I decided to clear my head for a few hours, get all of the bad juju out of my thoughts, and get more objective. After all that time, it took me a while to start thinking positively about the film. And with a calm, clear head, I can safely tell you people this:

Meh…

Assuming you don’t know anything about comics or care about superhero movies, let’s start from scratch. Tony Stark is a wealthy industrialist. His father Howard Stark was a weapons manufacturer, one of the biggest around, and when Tony come of age, he took over the family business. Stark is an unapologetic bon vivant asshole, and I guess everyone around him thinks it’s cute, because he is an allegedly likeable guy. He and his company have been working on a new type of missile called the “Jericho” that Stark is going to give a demonstration of in Afghanistan to the military. Everything is going great until the military convoy that Stark is being driven around in is attacked, the soldiers protecting him are killed, and he is kidnapped. He is taken to a mountain hideaway where a mysterious Middle Eastern group known as the Ten Rings demand that he reproduce the “Jericho” for them. He grudgingly agrees, thinking that perhaps some of the supplies they give him to make the missile he could use to help him escape. What he comes up with is not a bomb, a gun, a vehicle, or anything you or I might conceive to make if we were given a shit load of supplies and a bunch of time on our hands. Instead, he makes a giant metal suit of armor(!) and busts through the front door like a fucking gorilla(!!). He indeed does escape, and makes it back to the States. But after his captivity, he has a change of heart. No, he’s still an asshole, but he decides that maybe he should do some good for the world instead of making missiles, and maybe it could involve that monstrous suit of armor he made. And, thus, Iron Man is born…

All right, let’s get down to brass tacks here. The film is directed by Jon Favreau, and it shows. There is more banter in this move alone than in all other superhero movies combined. Between his assistant, his Army buddy, the press, his computer AI Jarvis, and the assembly-line robot hands that inhabit his shop (I’m not making that up), he spends roughly half of the movie acting smarmy and shooting his quick wit out like a shotgun blast. It works at first, but quickly becomes abrasive. I will say that the dialogue is smart, to the writer’s credit, and fast-paced, to Favreau’s credit.

The soundtrack flat-out sucks. Ramin Djawadi, if you can hear me from your Hollywood penthouse, stop composing. Get a job at Hobby Lobby selling disposable knick-knacks or something, but please don’t ruin another soundtrack with ultra-generic rock guitar riffs. I know Stark’s a badass, but that doesn’t mean whenever he’s in the Iron Man suit I should be assaulted with some half-ass bar chords. Oh, and Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” was a really subtle choice, too. I had almost forgotten what movie I was watching, and then I heard the song, and it just popped back into my head. Thanks, guys!

What are some good things about it? Well, the cast is certainly talented. Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark, for what it’s worth. He makes you feel like he’d be an asshole in real life (I mean that in the nicest way, Robert). And everyone else owns their part; it does feel very organic when the dialogue happens, be it good or ill. The villain is pretty generic and not very engaging, but that is the same with every opener in a superhero franchise. I guess they have to steep themselves in reality first before they can justify fighting space aliens and magicians, so Iron Man gets a free pass on this one. And, if you like that sort of thing, the special effects are pretty incredible, although the Iron Man suit does look way too shiny to actually exist.

So what’s the verdict? I tried, I’m telling you. I tried to like it, and I will say I liked it slightly better than I thought I would. But I did not like it very much at all. It’s big, dumb, noisy, and full of self-absorbed smarm from the hero we’re supposed to rally around. And if you like turn-your-brain-off-and-enjoy-the-ride movies like this, I highly recommend it to you. But if you want to see a superhero movie with any brains at all, skip this and watch The Dark Knight. I give Iron Man 4 assembly-line robot hands out of 10.

See you tomorrow! I have not decided on tomorrow’s movie yet, so please send in your suggestions to me! I’d love to hear what you want me to watch!

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3 responses

14 09 2009
Jenni David

good work my friend…but really you couldnt say anything about how badly gweneth paltrow sucked balls!?

14 09 2009
cinematronica

The strange thing about it is that I can see that now. But at the time, all I could think about was how much I disliked everything around her. She WAS lame, and so was Jeff Bridges, jumping around and yelling in that metal suit like a titanium gorilla filled with suckiness. But if I had more time to do the reviews, I probably would have said something about it. Keep an eye out after the end of the year for an extended remix of this review!

28 09 2012
“Iron Man”: All about the “billionaire, playboy, philantropist”, Tony Stark « Radu presents: The Movie-Photo Blog

[…] America, he starts work on an improved version of the suit and after weeks of building and testing, The Iron Man is born in all its shinny glory! Using this new “toy”, he will try to eliminate the terrorist […]

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