Iron Man Reviewed

Iron Man is a great movie! I am not alone in that opinion since it took in an estimated $104 million, domestic, $96 million overseas, in it’s opening weekend.

The film succeeds on the comic geek level and the civilian level, also proved by the box office estimates since the comic geek population can’t have that much money, or have gone to that many repeat showings in a four day period!

Most first time comic films can get bogged down when spending as much time as this one does getting the main character into his superhero outfit and into the big fight(s). Iron Man has the advantage of having cast Robert Downey Jr. who is actually more engaging as Tony Stark than the glimpses we get of his face within the Iron Man armor when he’s in action. Iron Man also has the advantage that he is more suited to CGI than your regular lycra-clad character such as Spider-Man or Superman. Plus his “thing” is the armor, unlike Batman who they had to armor to some degree to make him believable to a film audience.

I’m not a huge Iron Man fan although I was a sporadic reader of his solo comics from the sixties up until the late seventies. Iron Man is a very important fixture in the Marvel universe and made appearances in most all the other comics. He was a founding member of the Avengers, and may be so again in the film sequels. It’s a given that there will be at least one more movie based on the opening receipts. Anyone with the patience and an iron bladder that stayed in the theatre past the excruciatingly long credits are aware of a possible direction for said sequel.

All the important notes from his origin are in the film, updated in a very acceptable fashion. His supporting cast from his beginnings are present, Pepper Potts, the faithful secretary not-so-secretly in love with her playboy boss, “Happy” Hogan, the faithful chauffeur and dogsbody (played by the film’s director) who, in the comics, actually married Pepper if my memory serves. James Rhodes is a cast member from the late seventies comics who would become the second Iron Man when Stark had an alcoholic interlude and later died (as much as any character “dies” in comics – he got better!) When Stark went back in the armor “Rhodey” was given (or possibly took) his own slightly different designed suit of armor and became known as “War Machine.” Clunky code name. I don’t recall Obidiah Stane as a comics character. I just checked Wikipedia and he is listed among Iron Man’s enemies first appearing in 1982. His armored character was called Iron Monger but then Jeff Bridges’ version didn’t hang around long enough to be christened.

The only element that occasionally took me out of the movie experience was the height of Gwinneth Paltrow’s shoes! I don’t know how she could walk in those much less run away on slick floors! I wonder how many times she fell or what shoes she was really wearing during the fleeing scenes?

At Iron Man we saw trailers for the new Batman movie which was my first exposure to the Heath Ledger Joker. Not bad, but it looked and sounded as if Ledger was channeling Steve Buscemi. Also a minimalist trailer for the SPIRIT. That was just bad. Bad, bad, bad. The SPIRIT wears blue, not black, Will Eisner’s name should come first and be the largest, not Frank Miller’s, the rooftop running and jumping was unconvincing and they appeared to be building to the character standing atop a trademark Eisner architectural SPIRIT logo, but no – some crappy font instead. This looks like a disaster in the making.

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One Response to “Iron Man Reviewed”

  1. Well, I agree with pretty much everything you said in this blog.

    I know the Iron Man suit wasn’t all cgi, because there were interviews where Downey Jr. said he wore the darn thing for like 12 hours.

    I don’t know what Pepper Pots and Happy Hogan’s current status is, but the last time I read the comic they were divorced, and she had gotten pregnant by him, and then lost the baby.

    I thought it was interesting that Stark’s computer was Jarvis: I can see why they did this, because they already had Pepper as the all-purpose assistant, and they didn’t need two people in that role.

    The Spirit: I’m not a spirit expert, but why does the Spirit have to jump around on the rooftops like that? Hasn’t he heard of streets and sidewalks? Plus, it was over obvious that it was wire work. I’ve heard Miller’s argument for a black suit is that that was what was represented with the blue ink. Looks like a watered down version of Sin City.

    I’m reserving judgement on the Heath Ledger Joker until I see it.

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