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Tony Stark. Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. Son of legendary inventor and weapons contractor Howard Stark. When Tony Stark is assigned to give a weapons presentation to an Iraqi unit led by Lt. Col. James Rhodes, he's given a ride on enemy lines. That ride ends badly when Stark's Humvee that he's riding in is attacked by enemy combatants. He survives - barely - with a chest full of shrapnel and a car battery attached to his heart. In order to survive he comes up with a way to miniaturize the battery and figures out that the battery can power something else. Thus Iron Man is born. He uses the primitive device to escape from the cave in Iraq. Once back home, he then begins work on perfecting the Iron Man suit. But the man who was put in charge of Stark Industries has plans of his own to take over Tony's technology for other matters.
As far as I am concerned, the greatest superhero movie of all time is "Spider-Man 2". It has yet to be surpassed. At a close second is the original "Superman" film. Lately, we have been hit with a barrage of superhero films, most as affective as a Band-Aid on a compound fracture. We are thrown out garbage like "Ghost Rider" and "Elektra", and B-grade hero flicks like "Daredevil" and even the latest "Fantastic Four" picture. Marvel has a bad habit of taking some of its best franchises and turning them into pointless, by-the-books slop-outs that do nothing but make thousands of fans angrier than they've ever been. Occasionally, however, they get it right. They got it right with the second "Spider-Man" film. They got it right with the second "X-Men" film. And, now, they get it right once more with "Iron Man", the best superhero film since "Spider-Man 2" and one of the very best superhero films ever made. "Iron Man" succeeds on all levels and starts the Summer movie season off with a real bang - one of the best kick-offs in recent years. The trailer for "Iron Man" quickly became one of the most watched trailers of all-time, and director Jon Favreau has really delivered on that early promise. "Iron Man" has never been one of the most popular comic book superheros for Marvel, but it's safe to say he might become one of the most successful franchises for their film department. Marvel and Paramount have a sure-fire hit on their hands here.
The film opens with a convoy of military vehicles trucking it through the Afghanistan desert, one of them containing billionaire Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), the CEO of Stark Industries, the greatest weapons manufacturer the world has ever known. When the covoy is attacked, Stark is taken hostage, tied up and held captive, forced to build one of his new missiles for a group of terrorists. Stark is also badly injured by a mortar blast, but is healed by a device that keeps the little pieces of shrapnel from traveling to his aorta and killing him. It's this device that gives Stark an idea to construct a large metal suit that would allow him to break free from his captors, which he does. When he returns, he is greeted by his loyal assistant, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), his best friend, Rhodes (Terrence Howard), and his business partner, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges). Tony vows to stop making weapons and devotes his time to constructing a more modernized version of his metal suit, essentially turning him from eccentric billionaire into eccentric superhero. But, some one else has eyes on the design for the suit, but wants to use it as the ultimate weapon. The film really does come in three parts, the first involving Stark's capture and eventual escape; the second involving Stark's return home and construction of the suit; and the third involving Starks' realization that his friends might not be as friendly as he once thought.
Let's start with the script from Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, who also penned the "Children of Men" script. It's sharp, it's precise and it's full of great one-liners and even better pacing. I also have to credit director Jon Favreau for a nice, humorous editing style and doing his best to keep the film fresh and exciting. What Favreau lacks in the whole parameters of the 'big budget filmmaker', he makes up for with his pitch-perfect wit and true sense of how to use his actors. The special effects were fantastic, and I love how Favreau chose to do everything he could practically, without resorting to CGI-ing everything just to make things simpler. I am sure it ballooned the budget of the film tremendously, but it was worth it in the long run. But, the pacing and the timing is what is most impressive about the film. The directors, the actors - everyone seems to be on the same page with the film throughout, and that makes a huge difference. Everyone seemed like they were having a blast with this picture. On a side note, make sure you stick around past the end credits for a special surprise that will leave most geeks oozing with excitement.
As for performances, the role of Tony Stark seems tailor made for Robert Downey, Jr. It is always nice to see him at work, and he basically carries the entire film on his shoulders. "Iron Man" is his picture, and he makes every second of it work. As Obadiah Stane, Jeff Bridges is just as he needs to be and really adds a sense of depth to a character that could have been one-dimensional, as with most comic book pictures. Gwyneth Paltrow is the best she's been since "Proof" and really makes Pepper a lot of fun and an equal to Stark on so many levels. Terrence Howard doesn't get much to do in this film, but he does it very well. Howard is one of the most consistent actors working today, and though he's made some bad pictures, he's never bad in them, and that says a lot. Even Clark Gregg is humorous in a tiny role that turns out being one of those 'oh my God geek moments'. On the whole, to say the cast was perfectly assembled would be an understatement. This cast works together so well and Favreau brings them together so well. "Iron Man" would not have been nearly as successful without these actors in these roles, especially Robert Downey, Jr.
So, I am delighted to say that Summer Movie Season has kicked off and given us likely one of the best pictures of the Summer, and maybe even the year. It's currently sitting at one of the best ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, and I have a feeling fans of the comic book will not be disappointed. This might be the best 'fan friendly' comic book adaptation ever. "Iron Man" keeps a dry wit and a very astute sense of humor throughout all the explosions and fights, and that is what separates it from every other superhero flick on the block. Sure, they all have senses of humor too, but they don't have someone like Robert Downey, Jr. to make it all come together and work. "Iron Man" easily has a sequel in the works because I don't see how it couldn't. And if you stick around after the credits for the ending of the film, you'll know why. I can't recommend this film enough. It has been a long time since I've been able to give a superhero film this high a score, but I am proud to say that I can again. I have never been a fan of Jon Favreau as a director, but he has given me some reason to start being interested. "Iron Man" is one of the best pictures of the year.
- added May 2, 2008 at 3:59pm
7 Oscar nods between all the main cast. Favreau
based it off the comics, yes kept it open-ended so
that people who don't even know who Iron Man is
will be pleased. I agree with the rating
completely. Saw an early screening of this by
winning my local radio station competition. 10/10
- added May 2, 2008 at 4:33pm
I am not going to lie to you. When I first saw the
previews for this movie, I thought it was going to
be utter garbage and I had no intentions watching
it. But after the constant positive reviews and
watching a few clips, I really want to see this
- added May 2, 2008 at 5:59pm
I've wanted to see this since I found out it was
RDJ and Jon Favreau a few years back. So when I
watch it and enjoy it, it'll be legit. I'm not
just a review whore.
- added May 3, 2008 at 2:54am
Iron Man = Fantastic. 9/10
- added May 5, 2008 at 2:36am
And, once again, I have no need to review it.
Right on, Billy-Ray. 10/10 for certain.
grain of sand
- added May 7, 2008 at 12:00am
This was cool, better than I expected.. 9/10
because I can't watch Jeff Bridges do ANYTHING
without seeing him as 'the dude'... Not a bad
thing though, gave the movie a nice little comedic
twist in my mind ha
- added May 7, 2008 at 12:10am
^^Agreed on the The Dude comment. My friend and I
couldn't stop quoting that movie every time he
came on the screen.
- added May 7, 2008 at 12:26am
I absolutely loved this. I was like Nirrad when I
first saw the trailers. I didn't think it looked
like garbage, but I wasn't at all interested. But
when I saw the crazy reviews it was getting, I had
to see it. And I'm totally glad I did. Robert
Downey Jr. was a fantastic Tony Stark.
- added May 7, 2008 at 1:57pm
What can I say about my new favorite comic book
movie? Absolute genius in every way. No one was
remotely slouching in their roles, it was greatly
witty, action-packed but not overladen, and at
some parts just serious enough to be meaningful.
I love spidey, he's my favorite, but Iron Man just
took the lead in the film department.
- added May 14, 2008 at 6:03pm
the best movie , thats from me man, if a movie
should be the best for me this is the new comics
movie called ''Iron Man''.Here , in this country
we cant read many comics , but , iron man is a
comic book i could find when i was younger.my best
marvel character , a new form of a Knight birthed
- added May 16, 2008 at 2:52pm
HE IS THA NEW FORM OF A KNIGHT, TOO
- added May 20, 2008 at 11:30pm
A good, solid comic book flick...
i was very
impressed with Favreau's respectful use of the
Marvel license. He kept the character true to his
roots and still managed to keep a nice fresh
I'm a bit
overly-critical of this genre because of what I do
for a living... so the little things bothered
me... like how the suit is actually far too slim
to be able to house an actual human being inside
it... and how such a thinly padded suit can resist
being utterly crushed into slag from a free-fall
from orbit... to name just a few little quirks.
Some dialogue choices were pretty cheesy as
well... but it is what it is.
these are nitpicks and didn't keep me from
thoroughly enjoying this film. It's not perfect,
in my humble opinion... but easily ranks as one of
the better super-hero pictures ever made!
I give it an 8.5 out of 10
For the record... the clunky, original suit that
Stark cobbled together in the first act of the
film is BRILLIANT... and for me, this scene was
the high point of the film.
- added May 24, 2008 at 1:26am
Man, I got really blueballsy over that War Machine
tease. Hopefully they use him in IM2
- added October 25, 2008 at 9:43am
Nothing I can add here - I never got into the Iron
Man comics, but this movie was great. 10/10.
- added May 25, 2010 at 1:42am
I can't believe I haven't said anything about my
favorite superhero. It was perfect and he has
such a cool name. 10/10