Monday, November 7, 2016

Sci Fi Top 100, #70: "Iron Man" (2008)

Movie Stats:
Released 2008 (Australia)
American, in English (multiple foreign languages, sometimes translated, sometimes not)
Director - Jon Favreau
Stars - Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard

Plot Summary:
After being wounded and captured by a group of terrorists, billionaire ne’er-do-well Tony Stark (Downey) decides to do more with his life by becoming a superhero. Paltrow co-stars as Pepper Potts, Tony’s personal assistant; Bridges as Obadiah Stane, Tony’s business partner; and Howard as James “Rhodey” Rhodes, Tony’s BFF.

Violence; gore.

Bad Stuff:
It suffers a bit from “action movie physics” syndrome. I’m willing to suspend a lot of disbelief in action movies simply to enjoy myself, but it only goes so far. For example, I highly doubt that a suit made in a cave out of metal scraps is going to protect the person inside of it from injuries due to fire or falling from great heights.

The villain goes from 0 innocuous to 1,000 crazily evil rather quickly, and without much explanation. That character needed some better development/more screen time.

Good Stuff:
I really enjoy Tony’s story arc. I like that the trauma he experiences makes him become a better person without changing the essence of who he is. It brings out the better parts of him that were hidden under the surface, but it doesn’t smooth all of his edges. That feels much more realistic than characters who go from sort-of-bad to all-good.

I like that Pepper isn’t a damsel in distress.

Great pacing. Starts with a bang, and rarely takes its foot off the gas the whole way. This is not a film that’s likely to bore you.

Most of the special effects have held up really well.

The Verdict:
I like this film. I saw it in the theater when it came out. I enjoyed it then and I’ve enjoyed it every time I’ve seen it since. I wouldn’t call it fun because, honestly, it’s kind of heavy. But it’s certainly entertaining, and they throw in a good measure of Tony’s snark to lighten the mood (the banter between Tony and Pepper is also quite amusing). The villain definitely needs a little more fleshing out (I assume that this character is better developed in the comic book). Other than that, I think it’s a pretty solid story with believable characters and a satisfactory climax. Is it ground breaking? Earth shattering? No, but this is one superhero movie that was done right.

I give it 4.25 stars.


Patricia said...

Yep-per, this has been an enjoyable film whenever I watched it. I get irritated at the Madonna/Whore-he-gets-them-both thing throughout the film. Pepper Potts is the Madonna, and man does he whore around in this. Ms. Potts is kind of slut-sham-y too, though possibly escorting the various trists to the door on the morning after probably got old after the first couple. However, I do enjoy the Potts/Stark banter as well as the Stark banter. Oh, and Terrance Howard is a weak link. Good trade-up for Don Cheadle in subsequent films.

I like the opening sequence right up to where he is captured. It's compact, so much happens, and you learn so much about the character.

balyien said...

I agree re: Howard. I've never cared for him as an actor. Cheadle was big improvement. And yes, that opening sequence is spot on. It grabs you and doesn't let go.