The Quarter Bin

Videos, Reviews, and Previews For Comic Fans

You’ve seen it. You’ve read what everyone else has to say. Well now it’s our turn. Hit the jump to see just what thought of MARVEL‘s best movie since SPIDER-MAN. Did I give away too much already?

Before we get too geeked-out here, let me preface this review by informing you I’m not a die-hard Iron Man fan. Most of my Tony Stark fix is handled by team books like any Avengers title, or from his appearances in books that I consistently read. That’s not to say I don’t know anything about the character. I rather enjoy him. He’s quite a fun read when handled by a great creative team: Stan Lee and Don Heck. Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch. The Knauf Brothers and Patrick Zircher. David Micheline and Bob Layton.

Well now you can add John Favreau, Mark Fergus, Hank Ostby and Robert Downey, Jr to the list.

IRON MAN delivers every last bit of awesome you thought it would when you saw the bootleg trailer from the San Diego Comic Con back in September. Tangentially speaking of trailers, the theater I saw the movie at had the following trailers in this order: THE DARK KNIGHT, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, THE SPIRIT, INDIANA JONES and…. DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN. Really? Gonna close with Zohan? I was getting more fired up for the main feature after each trailer, and then they dropped Zohan on me. It was the equivalent of seeing an Ozzy led Black Sabbath play four awesome encores before closing with a song from the Dio era. Sorry, that was a long one. Back to the review.

One of the biggest problems with the comic adaptations has always been the faithfulness of the origin. Borrowing bits and pieces from all the best comic versions, IRON MAN delivers a nearly spot-on version of how Tony came to be more than just the boozing, womanizing, money-making man’s man they set him up to be. Hats off to Fergus and Ostby. Their script gets to the point quickly, while giving Downey plenty of time to shine as playboy Tony before the accident. The writing team also spends enough time crafting scenes to make the tech believable in this movie. So often, the science of things is really left to suspension of disbelief. While suspension of disbelief is important in IRON MAN, as it is in any comic based film, Fergus and Ostby take the time to make you go, “Oh, that’s how that works. Cool.” The story works on all levels, and never once did I look at my watch waiting for something to happen. Though, that’s due as much to Downey as it is the screenplay.

Quite simply, Downey is Tony Stark. There was never a moment where you felt he couldn’t pull this role off. Is this the best performance he’s ever had? No, the man’s been acting phenomenally for years. Will this be the role Downey is most remembered for? Quite possibly. Blockbusters, and this will be a blockbuster by the time all the tickets are counted, have a way of sticking with people. Anyway, Downey’s performance here is as close to a perfect representation of the printed page as humanly possible. The charm and confidence he exudes as Tony on screen will have you immersed in this character. It helps he’s got so many other fine actors to play off of.

The always lovely Gweneth Paltrow does a great job taking everything Downey throws at her as Pepper Potts. Terrence Howard plays the best friend role of James Rhodes to a tee, and hopefully we’ll get to see more of him in the inevitable sequel. No super-hero movie can succeed without a proper villain, and Jeff Bridges does a stand-up job as Obidiah Stane. Never over the top, but quite clever and maniacal, Bridges is a perfect foil for the new hero.

You’ve seen the armor in the trailers, so there’s not much to say. Stan Winston and ILM combined to make one hell of a suit for the main man. Adi Granov should be pleased they did such a bang-up job rendering his version so nicely. The Mark I armor invokes memories of TALES of SUSPENSE era Iron Man, and rightfully so. All you need to know is it all looks amazing on the big screen. Thankfully, there was never a moment where I was taken out of the film by the CGI. It was virtually seamless.

There were plenty of nods to the fans in the film as well. Little visual clues alluding to future appearances by the Mandarin, S.H.E.I.L.D, Stan Lee’s contractual cameo and one more little nod to “ultimate” fans following the credits were among my favorites. I’m sure there were more, but I’ll have to look harder the next time I go see this. And I will be seeing this again in the theaters. It was that good.

I could go on longer, but you already left to go see the next showing at your local theater, didn’t you? The important thing is you go see this, and tell all your friends how much fun it was. Hopefully, that will lead
to more enjoyable adaptations of our favorite comic heroes.

5 Responses so far
  1. Luke Brown Said,

    I also loved this movie. I didn’t have super high expectations given how good Hollywood is at completely screwing up superhero movies, but this was awesome! Totally exceeded expectations.

    Posted on May 4th, 2008 at 5:09 PM

  2. Phony Stark Said,

    Abso-friggin-lutely loved every second of it. The “Ten Rings” reference, the newly envisioned Jarvis, the subtle hints towards an alcohol problem…all perfect. Better than X-Men and Spider-Man, not quite as good as Spider-Man 2 or X2. Still, an awesome way to start off a huge movie summer.

    Posted on May 5th, 2008 at 7:09 AM

  3. improvsean Said,

    Good review! This movie rocked. I had no expectation of enjoying it, having been burned by so many franchises in the past (Hulk, Spiderman, Daredevil…) but Favreau and Downey are the perfect duo to pull it off. You’re right- Downey IS Tony Stark.

    Posted on May 5th, 2008 at 8:24 AM

  4. Luke Brown Said,

    Comparing it to the first entries in other Marvel franchises is the most fair. Though I do think the sequel has enough potential to overtake the very overrated Spider-Man 2 in fan’s hearts.

    Posted on May 5th, 2008 at 11:05 AM

  5. Jill a.k.a. Nerdy Bird Said,

    That was a fun review to read I must say. What a great movie.

    Posted on May 7th, 2008 at 10:45 PM

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