Iron Man: Spoiler-free Review

May 2, 2008 at 12:46 am Leave a comment

I just got home from an 8pm Thursday showing and all I have to say is, H-O-L-Y S-H-I-T

This movie was way better than it needed to be. Iron Man is the perfect way to start the summer blockbuster season. It’s well-paced, well-acted, visually exciting, and funny as hell. Many have compared this to the first Spider-man movie, but I would have to disagree; this is better than the original Spider-man.

The movie starts off in a bit of a non-linear storytelling fashion that has billionaire playboy Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in Afghanistan demonstrating the new Stark Industries Jericho missile. Stark gets captured by some anti-Western insurgents and is forced to build them a version of the Jericho missile. Unfortunately, Stark was injured during the abduction and is forced to have an electromagnet embedded in his chest in order to keep himself from dying.

So… awesomeness ensues as we see Stark have a change of heart from drunken playboy who ignores his responsibilities to responsible businessman who tries to change the direction of his weapons development company. For most of the movie’s two-hour runtime, Stark basically tries to deal with life post-abduction, and handling his company whose board of directors aren’t too keen on Stark’s business plans.

Here’s where the comparison to Spider-man comes in. The first movie in Sam Raimi’s trilogy was really just the setup for the rest of the series, focusing on the characters and their world and less on the action and villains. Same goes for this movie. Only maybe a third of the movie is action, but there are plenty of opportunities to see some amazing special effects. Tony’s basement lab would make Bill Gates jealous. 3D holographic screens that respond to touch, robotic arms that respond to voice, and the typical computer network that talks to you all fill his house.

When you see Stark finally suit up in the familiar red-and-gold suit, it basically turns into ass-kicking time. Stark decides to beat some terrorist ass in central Asia (the same punks that kidnapped him), then turns to the homefront as he faces a threat that’s a little too close to home.

Robert Downey, Jr. plays this role perfectly. He’s great as a drunken billionaire with way too many toys to play with, and he’s also great as a super hero that finally hears his calling. Downey Jr. also injects great humor into the role, never taking it too seriously, even when things get a little serious. Gwyneth Paltrow plays Virginia “Pepper” Potts, Stark’s faithful assistant. She’s fine, but really isn’t given too much to do. She kinda reminded me of the role she played in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Terrence Howard is really setting himself up to be a great sidekick and possible foil (for those comic book-savvy nerds out there) for Iron Man as Rhodes, an Air Force officer that tries to clean up Stark’s mess. Director Jon Favreau also deserves notice for pacing this movie so well and having a keen eye for visuals. Look for him in a cameo as Stark’s driver.

While not as good as the near-perfect (in my opinion) Spider-man 2, this is way better than the original Spider-man, pretty much all the X-Men movies, and Superman Returns. An excellent kick-off to the summer season and a must-see for comic book fans and action fans.

Go see it. Now.

9.0/10

Oh yeah, stick around after the credits for a scene with Samuel L. Jackson, a scene that was rumored to have been cut from the movie completely. Fans of the comics will have a nerdgasm watching it.

(images from Yahoo!)

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