Directed by Jon Favreau.
Written by Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway.
Based on the Marvel comic.
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow and
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 5/8/08
Robert Downey Jr. can really never be
accused of "taking the big check", so when it was announced that he
would be playing the title character of the new live action comic
book "Iron Man", that was a pretty big deal. (It came out
later that he was a huge fan of the comic books back in the day.)
It is his presence that carries the first half of this new
franchise, but even he can't save what eventually becomes, well, a
big robot fight.
Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark, arms dealer
extraordinaire and owner of a vast, multibillion-dollar family
fortune; his Stark Industries is the world's number-one producer of
weapons both large and small. When making a presentation to US
government officials overseas for a new missile defense system, he
is captured by rebels bent on capturing some of Stark's technology,
so they capture him, put him to work on replicating the missile
technology in a fucking cave in the middle of nowhere, and over the
course of three months he develops not a lick of this missile
business, but instead, a big iron suit that he can use to bust out
of the joint. He does so with aplomb, and back in the world,
Stark has an epiphany--why continue to make weapons, when he can
save the world by building a better version of that suit to be used
to help those less fortunate.
Stark's second-in-command at Stark
Industries, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), has other ideas, because
he wants to keep building weapons and making money for the firm's
stockholders. As one can easily infer, these two will come to
odds later, over robots, magically-powerfully heart units, women
and, of course, world domination. Or something.
"Iron Man" is a good ride for quite a while,
very funny thanks to Downey's performance and the addition of a
strong supporting cast, like Bridges (channeling some shade of his
inner Dude), Terrence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow. The special
effects are very good and the action--what little there is--works
for a spell as we get to meet Stark and watch him work his wily
magic with the ladies, the press, or whoever he's talking to at the
time. The pacing of the film is strong and the gadgets are
cool; while never blow-out awesome, I thought that "Iron Man" was
solid until the three-quarters mark, when things started to slide a
Some of that--only a bit, really--is that
the film is a bit long and it has some of those great, predictable
must-haves for films that dumb it down for the people. We get
a sequence where Paltrow's character, Pepper, must retrieve files
from a computer in the Stark Industries' offices; blah. We get
a big robot fight to the death at the end...blah. We get the
requisite "Kryptonite" sequence late, when Stark loses the
artificial nuclear reactor heart that is keeping him alive, because
that's his only weakness...blah, and check. You probably won't
even believe that the film's main crop of bad guys for a while are
Middle Easterners; in some ways, irrelevant, but at least you know
that if you are of Middle Eastern descent, there will always be work
for you in either major Hollywood action films or "24", whichever
comes first. (You will note that the lead bad guy besides
Bridges in "Iron Man" stars not only in this film, but had a small
bit part in "24.")
But, the big thing about the last half-hour
of the film was that it was strangely underwhelming. It felt
vaguely like the bad finishes to both of the "Fantastic Four"
movies; it needed to be bigger, or badder, or just better, but
instead, it was just kind of a letdown. Some of that was due
to how much I loved the start of "Iron Man", even as I wondered how
a person could power so many powerful tools, computers and equipment
setups in a cave in the middle of fucking nowhere. The reviews
for "Iron Man" are largely positive, and I would agree that the
flick is worth seeing. And, don't forget to stick around for
the end credits, because we get a little sneak peek at the sequel,
which should be a little more interesting with the addition of
everyone's favorite Mutha Fucka.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard