Monday, May 5, 2008

Iron Man

Well, here I am 24 movies into the year and along comes one of my most anticipated...Iron Man (2008). It has been an interesting year. There have been 6 complete dreck "Weasel is Hungry" flicks which weigh nicely against the 6 "Weasel is Full" flicks (which, a bit of simple arithmetic tells us, means there are 12 "The Weasel is Satisfied". Probably my favorite so far this year was The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) by which admission I just invalidated this entire blog...then again, I also have a rom-com in my top 6 so far, the Katherine Heigl vehicle 27 Dresses (2008) which if I were to go back in time I would probably down-grade a bit to Weasel is Satisfied...along with several other favorites. They just don't hold up well in the memory bank.

Welcome to my new favorite, Iron Man. I had low expectations going in. The pre-views did not grab me...they actually kind of annoyed me. But hey...I wanted to see a superhero flick so off I went with the brother, his wife and kids, my wife, and Kevin.

Early on I was nervous. The opening was...well, first off, you have seen all you need to see of the first 10 minutes in the theatres. and the way Morton Downey Jr. was playing Tony Stark was...well...boring. He was SO dry it was boring, not charming.

But as they went into the flashback he became more likable and fun. It started to fit and make sense.

Now, some people heavily criticize the flashback use as "writing for people who don't know how to write." However, in this case it was brilliant because it allows the action movie to start out know...action. Otherwise there would have been 15 minutes of character establishment before you got the first action. It was brilliantly done.

So then we get into the movie proper. Short form; builds suit, escapes bad guys with it, is rescued, goes home, decides should not sell weapons any more, builds better suit in his high tech garage, learns how to use it, wipes out Afghan terrorists with it, fights air force, wins, bad guy builds bigger, stronger, better suit, Tony outsmarts him, bad guy dies.

First, the bad; plot holes galore and not enough Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).
1) why would the bad guys not have a guard INSIDE the chamber?
2) why does the Air Force attack someone who HELPED them?
3) the business with his heart magnet...
4) It was pretty obvious early on who the "secret" villain was.
this is just a small sampling of the most egregious examples. There were more.
Have you seen Gwyneth Paltrow in heels, tight dress, and made up? More Pepper is not a bad idea...

Second, the good.
Everything else.

And finally, the great:
The War Machine reference.
The interplay with Jarvis the machine...especially the fire extinguisher.
The battles.

Admittedly, the final battle with Obadiah Stane, the Iron Monger (Jeff Bridges) is a bit short...but they did such a good job of setting it up that it is hard to complain. It has everything the American movie-goer looks for; an outgunned underdog hero overcoming the odds to outsmart and defeat a physically superior opponent. The suit integrity issues are awesome.

And ultimately, this movie delivers one thing first and foremost; fun. Lots of fun.

Is it believable or realistic? Not even close. But should you care? Smurf no, this is the world superheroes show up in. And it rules. From beginning to end. This one is an opening DVD release day purchase. And probably worth seeing a second time in the theatre whether you know the Iron Man mythology or not.

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