Movies Worth Seeing: Iron Man May 17, 2008Posted by Jim Berkin in Movies.
I’ve never read any issues of the Marvel Comic Iron Man in my life – I was never a reader of superhero books when I was younger, I was more a fan of the Uncle Scrooge McDuck adventures by Carl Barks and later Don Rosa, and while I loved the television version of Batman, even to this day I’ve never read much of the comic book. Sure, I admired the early ’90s animated Batman series and liked Batman Begins a lot (looking forward to The Dark Knight as well). Evidently, Iron Man has a lot in common with Batman – neither have super powers the way that a Spiderman or Superman or Harvey Birdman Attorney At Law have – they’re just wealthy guys with some kick-ass only-in-the-movies technology at their disposal that they can utilize to smash, burn, shoot and explode things whenever picking up convenient movie scuzzos and flinging them into (or through) concrete walls gets mundane.
When asked to come along to a screening of Jon Favreau’s new version of Iron Man, I was a little ambivalent, though the decent reviews it’s been getting kept me from passing altogether. And I’m glad I went – Iron Man is a lot of fun, a superhero film with no pretensions that moves along at a decent clip, even during it’s “origins” segment for the first third of the film (the development of which was perfect for guys like me who never read the comic book and were totally unfamiliar with this particular comic book universe).
A lot of what makes this movie work is the great job of casting, and for someone who is usually annoyed by Robert Downey Jr’s fast-talking Mr. Cool act, I thought it worked brilliantly here since it fits the character of Tony Stark so well – a glib and superconfident weapons designing genius who has a Road To Damascus experience when he sees his weapons falling into the hands of the wrong people, but thankfully decides to build an even BETTER weapon to go blow the living crap out of them, as opposed to getting everyone together for a round of kum-ba-yah. I suppose I’ll have to wait for Jimmy Carter’s version of Iron Man if I want to see that. Maybe he could even be attacked by a rabbit.
Key to this movie is Downey’s great on-screen chemistry with Gwynneth Paltrow, his slinky librarian fantasy of a do-it-all gal Friday, who thankfully only provides us with flirty back and forth banter as opposed to boring mushy lovey dovey crap that prevents us from seeing MORE stuff blow’d up real good. Jeff Bridges also does good work here as Downey’s business associate who goes batshit crazy for no other reason than to provide us with a plotline, but who cares? If I wanted realism, I wouldn’t be seeing movies about guys making flying metal battle suits powered by what looks like a glowing travel alarm in the middle of the gaping hole in their chest.
Wait, that’s what powers Bea Arthur? Really? Who knew?
But I digress.
Rounding out the cast is Terence Howard as Stark’s military bud who gets mostly comic moments, and stick around after the end credits for a teaser of the inevitable sequel, featuring Samuel L. Jackson with an eye patch. Now you just KNOW Samuel L. Jackson in an eye patch is going to kill LOTS of bad guys, and not with his golf clubs. Or maybe he WILL use his golf clubs. That’d be cool!
Thumbs up! It deserves the money it’s making!