Monday, May 5, 2008

Iron Man

Summer blockbuster season is upon us. Leading off the year is the latest superhero comic book adventure- Iron Man. I'm not terribly familiar with the comics (at all), so I can only review from that perspective. A number of colleagues who are authorities on the subject, however, have enthusiastically signed off on it. In my uneducated opinion, it is one of the best comic adaptations to date. It's fun, it's action filled, and it doesn't take itself too seriously.

The cast is what made the movie for me. I love Robert Downy Jr, and am a fan of almost everything that he does. He fully captured the suave egomania that embodies Tony Stark. I was bothered by Jeff Bridges only because I could not pick out that it was him. I knew the voice immediately, but could not place it with his face- it really doesn't look anything like him. Gwyneth Paltrow is finally back in major picture after a few years of some very good, but under publicized roles (Proof, The Good Nights) and some minor misses (Infamous, Runing With Scissors). It's nice to see her back in a fun and rather sultry role.

Tony Stark (Downy Jr.) is the mechanical genius/CEO of Stark Enterprises- who among other things, manufactures weapons for the military. During a publicity demonstration in Afghanistan he is taken hostage and instructed to assemble a missile. During his imprisonment he sees the damage his weapons are causing, and vows to turn the company around on the side of good. When bureaucracy proves too much for the industrialist, he takes matters into his own hands, and becomes Iron Man- a global vigilante.

One of the appeals of Iron Man to me, is the fact that he doesn't have superpowers. He simple takes his resources and uses them for good. This adds a bit of humanity and vulnerability to the character for me. This was shown in the movie through the long process of him developing his suit, and his dependence on this technology to live. This was ruined a little for me by some of the flashier, more outrageous scenes (him out maneuvering a pair of F-22s as seen in the trailer).

Iron Man proves that comic book movies can be light hearted and still good. I'm hoping the new Hulk movie will follow suit. Pretty much from here until the end of summer is non-stop blockbusters on the horizon. This week is Speedracer, Then Prince Caspian, Indiana Jones, The Incredible Hulk, The Happening, Wall-E, Hancock, The Dark Knight, and many more. Some of those will be better than Iron Man, and others will probably fall short. This wasn't a bad way to start off the season.


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