Iron Man (2008) – Marc’s Review
Posted By Heather On 20 May 2008. Under 2008, 4 Stars (Phenomenal), Action Tags: 2008, Action films, Batman, box office success, Gwenyth Paltrow, In theatres, Iron Man, jeff bridges, Movie, Movies, Robert Downey Jr., Spiderman, Superheroes, X-Men
“Tony, you’re three hours late…..I had to do a piece for.”
Why are some movies of the Superhero Genre so well received compared to others? What drives Spiderman 1 and 2,, 1 and 2 to heights of critical, financial and the most hard won of all, core fan success? That question, and what I believe to be a common answer spread out across all of these films came to me while I was watching . What is it? Characters. Three dimensional, fleshed out characters. Not just the basic chess pieces moved from square to square in service of the plot, but well written, well acted, well directed people inhabiting a story which JUST HAPPENS to include supernatural and or science fiction elements. If the delivery of them is flawed, if the audience is not able to identify and relate to the people involved no amount of Special Effects, no strict adherence to character back stories will mean a damn. It’s in that area of characterization that Iron Man puts it’s efforts first – foremost – and for the length of the film.
The additional supporting players,, Terrance Howard, all turn great performances as well. They are each given distinct, real and functional areas of Tony’s life to interact with. I’d like to give special notice to and though. As the Chairman of the Board of Stark Industries, turns in one of his best performances in many many years. He brings a very real sense of experience and age to the role and gives a nicely textured performance.
Terrance Howard has the shortest screen time of the three supporting roles, but is clearly a character to grow in importance in the all but inevitable ( and in my opinion greatly anticipated ) sequel. I’ve never been a big fan of, but I have to say that I’ve never seen her more elegant, beautiful, charming, sexy or endearing in a role as this one. Her portrayal of the long suffering, loyal 24/7 personal servant is in some ways a strong anchor for the film, and she pulls it off in spades.
It’s with her performance in mind that I want to return to my original point about the importance of characterization. Why Iron Man worked so well for me, the base of it’s greatness in my opinion is that I’d be just about as interested in seeing these actors inside these characters in a courtroom drama. The Tony Stark we see defending his company from a leveraged buyout takeover. They’d have been fascinating in a survival movie. The crashing of their corporate jet high in the mountains. But as the story we see goes, he becomes Iron Man.
Characterizations aside – it is a very well crafted film. John Favro turns in work as a director that’s not revolutionary by any means, but very solid. The action sequences are delivered with punch, flair and just unique enough to earn him a ‘B’ on directing. With this one done, we can expect to see an ‘A’ game next time. The effects, done by ILM are first rate, with any and all scenes involving the transition from physical suit to CGI coming off flawlessly. In the becoming of Iron Man, the film delivers an origin sequence of designing and evolving the technology for the suit that’s far and ahead any of the usual ‘musical montage’ sequences we have seen in the past. There is a logic – a real world texture given to the devices, machines and idea’s that culminate in his creation, a real pleasure to watch.
If I could find a fault with the film, and a mild one at that, is I’d love to have seen another 10-15 mins. Just a few more out of suit moments between the characters, a little more time during the suit design phase. I have a good feeling I’ll get my wish in the eventual DVD release.
Stay THROUGH the credits, little gem well worth your time.
I give this movie a very heavy, solid iron cast four stars out of four stars.