Iron Man Movie Review
What do Robert Downey Jr. and Tony Stark have in common? Well, they are both charismatic, have a fantastic sense of humour and are rich playboys. In fact, there is no difference between them because they are one person and both of them are Iron Man!
Genre: Action / Fantasy / Sci-Fi
Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Faran Tahir, Jon Favreau, Shaun Toub, Clark Gregg, Sayed Badreya & Paul Bettany.
Run Time: 126 min.
US Release: 02 May 2008
UK Release: 02 May 2008
German Release: 01 May 2008
This is the movie that started it all. The one film that got the Marvel Cinematic Universe spinning and into production, and my god it is a fantastic and entertaining popcorn flick. Iron Man is one of the best comic book adaptations I have seen so far, nearly everything about this movie was done right and Robert Downey Jr. is perfect as the lead Tony Stark. I am a huge nerd when it comes to comics! My childhood basically consisted of reading through various kinds of cartoons, like The Adventures of Tintin (of which I have a whole collection from the 50’s/60's in Spanish), Lucky Luke, several DC heroes - mostly Batman stories and of course a lot of Marvel Comics. Although I was usually entranced with Spider-Man (he was most popular in Germany), I did read through the occasional crossovers with Iron Man.
Iron Man, however, I watched on early Saturday mornings TV cartoon slots. Next to Spider-Man and the Batman Animated Series, Tony Stark was one of my most beloved childhood superheroes. Therefore when I heard they were planning on doing this movie I was crossing my fingers and hoping the Studio and Favreau (who I just knew from Elf back then) would not frack this up. Then the first trailer went viral and my jaw simply dropped. It looked beautiful, graceful simply perfect and that’s what this movie is, one of the best Marvel adaptations to date!
Iron Man, directed by Jon Favreau and starring Robert Downey Jr, Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow was released in the spring of 2008 and took me completely by surprise. The film has beautiful-looking effects, a great and talented cast and is, apart from Batman Begins, the best origin story of a superhero I have seen on screen.
— WARNING, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! —
After having been held captive for months in a cave, Tony Stark - genius, playboy billionaire and philanthropist- creates a weaponised suit of armour to escape his captors. Arriving back home, he is greeted by his assistant Pepper Potts, Air Force Lt. Col. (and friend) James Rhodes and his father’s old business partner Obadiah Stane. But Stane holds a dark secret and soon Stark will need to use his armour to protect those in need, from his own weapons.
I love how Tony’s origin is depicted in this movie. It stays true to the source material but sets it into our timeline. Instead of being kidnapped by the Vietcong, Tony is captured by a terrorist organisation in the middle east. That organisation is no other than the Ten Rings. If you are familiar with the Iron Man comics, you’ll know who they are.
Iron Man has a great balance between action, drama and comedy. The comedic factor doesn’t come off as forced or too much, thanks to Downey Jr.
Favreau treated the material with great respect and he did deliver one of his best films. Robert Downey Jr. is brilliant as Tony Stark, he fleshes out the character so well and gives him new depths. Jeff Bridges is fantastic as Stane, he changed so much physically to fit the role, I did not even recognise him at first! I love the interactions between him and Downey Jr. It's a shame these two actors did not get along because their chemistry was beyond magnificent.
Terrence Howard is alright as Rhodes, but I do prefer Don Cheadle who gives the persona a kind spirit. Howard seemed more arrogant and his chemistry with Downey Jr. wasn’t as good. Gwyneth Paltrow plays basically Gwyneth Paltrow, but she is a good actress and I do like her Pepper Potts representation.
The movie contains amazing special effects, such as the Iron Man suit, which looks very real! I like how they managed to depict Tony’s face inside the helmet while wearing his armour. The action sequences are amazingly captured and the FX team also made use of some practical effects, which I appreciate. I also believe that the change between cameras, while Tony is developing the Mark II, gives the scene a greater sense of realism.
Ramin Djawadi composed the score for this brilliant film. The music is based on heavy metal tracks, a perfect genre for the atmosphere this movie creates. The theme keeps changing, depending on Stark’s mood in the blockbuster. I also like how they use the old cartoon TV theme as an easter egg. It appears either as a ringtone or as an introductory song during the Gala at the beginning. My favourite track though must be the Black Sabbath’s Iron Man track during the credits!
Verdict: Iron Man is everything I wished for. We finally obtained a Marvel comic book adaptation that was not campy and didn’t suck. The performances are great and Robert Downey owns the role of Tony Stark, I wouldn’t be able to see anybody else as Stark now. The camera work and effects are brilliant and the supporting cast is superb. I will give this comic book adaptation a 9.0 out of 10!
My next post will be for the Incredible Hulk. I would like to know though what you guys thought of this movie! Did you enjoy it? Did you think it was a good comic book adaptation? Please leave a comment below.