Saturday, May 03, 2008

Iron Man: Ten Kinds of Awesome


UPDATE: Okay, now that I'm down off of my Iron Man high, let me break down the awesomeness.

10. Cocktails!
I don't know that the general movie going public is aware of what comics readers have grown up with-- Tony Stark eventually evolves into a raging alcoholic. I can't imagine this not coming into play should more movies make to to screen. That being the case, it is a rare scene in this inaugural outing that Stark is shown without some kind of drink in his hand. Nice.

9. In jokes.
Not unlike the above, plenty of references to Iron Man lore far and wide.

8. Toys. The movie is full of male fantasy power toys, from private jets with stripper poles to sports cars to the armor itself. Who wouldn't want to suit up in an impenetrable, flying, war machine? Aside from the gaping hole in your chest, I mean.

7. Script.
It's very well written. No, it isn't Shakespeare, but in the class of many superhero flics (or even just your average summer blockbusters) it's tight. There's plenty of Star Trekky techno babble, suppressed romantic sub-plot, and tack-sharp one-liners. The funny stuff is funny (it's got more humor than I'd have guessed) and the serious stuff is serious. And while the movie as a whole plays out in hollywood beats, at least it doesn't insult me.

6. Pepper Potts.
Usually Gweneth Paltrow is a reason not to see a movie. But here as Stark's ever-present Girl Friday she's great to watch. Her and Stark's relationship through the course of the film is a genuine development, and Paltrow is a surprising and pleasant feminine presence in a testosterone dominated story.

5. Quirk.
There is some just plain out weird shit in this movie. Redonkulous. Not just the odd, fumbling "I've got to learn how to be a superhero" kind of thing. The suspension of disbelief has to be, uh, suspended fairly early. The science fiction isn't exactly as grounded as it is thrown at you with flagrant plausibility. This is where I thought the movie would lose me, as I'd have preferred some hard-core science, but instead it takes more of a roller coaster approach with extrapolation of technology we see every day. And honestly, when Iron Man is bringing the thunder, you don't really care.

This movie was directed by Jon Favreau. Really? Elf Favreau? Zathura Favreau? He will always be the swinger we know and love, but I tell you he put together one hell of a big-budget hollywood blockbuster while keeping a pretty true core of what makes Iron Man so cool. The acting in the movie from all players is fun and tight, and I'm guessing Favreau has alot to do with that. Throw in the management of all the crazy effects sequences and I say "Good show, old man!"

3. Stark.
Robert Downey Jr. owns this role. It doesn't hurt that's he's surrounded by a great cast, either.

2. Kick-Assery.
Dude, Iron Man kicks so much ass in this movie. Actually I take that back. He didn't kick enough ass, there really needed to be more ass kicking. Tony Stark is indeed the billionaire playboy, but in that suit it is all motherfucking business. MOAR!

1. The Armor.
It looks sooooooooo cool! Face it, the armor was what was going to sell this movie. And the prospect of future movies with the built-in gimmick of new armor is like money in the bank.

I know the movie wasn't perfect, not that there could be a perfect movie. There's a few elements that border on cheese and hollywood screenwriting business-as-usual. But I sure enjoyed it, and it's by far the best representation of a comic to date. Prior to this I only held Spider-Man 2 and Batman Begins in such high regard, nowadays (for me) Iron Man is the one to beat. Give me sequels! Screw the Avengers, 'cause I guarantee they're gonna screw that one up, just give me more Iron Man.

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