Monday, May 05, 2008

Movie Review: Iron Man

I mentioned it back when the Simpsons Movie came out but if I actually bother to spend exorbitant prices to go see a movie opening weekend, you can guarantee it's going to be #1. This weekend was no exception with the movie I've been anticipating ever since I heard details on the cast and crew: Iron Man.

Ok, let's get the guy from Swingers to make a comic book movie starring Robert Downey Jr as an alcoholic conservative super hero, Gweneth Paltrow as his assistant and Starman the Dude (Jeff Bridges) as his business partner. What's not to like?

I was never a big fan of Iron Man comics growing up because quite frankly he's not that interesting on a monthly basis, especially with the poor writing staff that was usually relegated to the Iron Man title but he always had so much potential. He was usually best as a foil to that namby-pamby liberal Captain America. The Captain says killing the Supreme Intelligence is wrong and the Avengers all vote to not kill it and then Iron Man goes and kills it anyways because he doesn't care about the lovey-feely idea of let's-not-kill-a-severe-threat-to-earth-as-we-know-it. He just takes care of business as he sees fit.

The movie was quite interesting because it managed to remain mostly faithful to the comic books without being overly stupid. I'm not a big believer that comic book movies should stay all that true to the source material if they can make a better movie by discarding it but I do respect a production crew managing to remain so faithful while still putting out a good product. Robert Downey Jr was absolutely incredible as Tony Stark. I had high expectations and he met them. There were silly bits. It's a comic book movie. That's inevitable. But for the most part the silliness was kept to a minimum.

I hope Marvel has the good sense to not let this franchise slide into the kiddie movie genre like all the other Marvel sequels. (A sequel is inevitable since it handily beat opening weekend box office returns for every other Marvel franchise except Spiderman.) Fortunately, I don't think any returning cast would let that happen. They're all A-List actors who tend to avoid poor movies (with obvious exceptions).

It also did fairly well with the wife factor. Let's face it: this entire genre is male movie territory. It's the modern-day 80's-action-movie. Yet my wife actually enjoyed large parts of this movie, especially those involving Gweneth Paltrow's character.

If you're on the fence about seeing this movie, go ahead and check it out. You'll like it. If you're not really into this sort of thing, check it out when you can rent or see it on TV. It's still worth a watch. Make sure to watch the closing credits. There's on of those extra scenes at the end a-la Ferris Beuller.

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