I’ve come to the conclusion that comic book movies have to be rated on a different scale than regular movies. I think everyone would agree that you shouldn’t walk into The Incredible Hulk expecting to see Schindler’s List. So if we rate Spiderman 3 as a one (and I really can’t stress how sh***y that movie was) and Batman Begins as a ten (which will soon be replaced by The Dark Knight), Iron Man rates about an 9.
I never really read any of the Iron Man comics, so I can’t say how faithful the movie was to that story. I can say however, that the movie did what a lot of comic book movies don’t: present it’s story in a way that doesn’t make you want to immediately call BS. As I read that back to myself it kind of sounds like I’m saying, “The movie was good because it didn’t suck,” but that’s not at all what I mean. If you can take a crazy story, about an iron man and present it in a way where I’m not thinking the entire time, “There’s no way!”, you’ve won me over.
In the movie, millionaire playboy and weapons magnate Tony Stark is attacked and captured by terrorists during a missile demonstration. They make him a deal, build them a batch of Jericho missiles — the newest and most high-tech in Stark’s arsenal — and they’ll let him live. Instead, he builds an Iron Man suit and kicks everyone’s ass. And as I watched this magnificent superhero single-handedly defeating the forces of terror I knew America’s path and the cause of freedom was righteous and true, and I went home and enlisted in the Army. No but seriously, can you imagine?
Standing in Tony’s way is Obadiah Stane, who’s been secretly selling Stark brand weapons to terrorists and wants to use the Iron Man technology for his own gain. When Tony finds out that it was Stane who engineered his capture in the first place, the gloves come off, and all sorts of smash-’em-up-bad-assery ensues.
Casting Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark was a stroke of genius. He was really able to sell the idea that Iron Man is a different kind of superhero. He’s not a Superman or Spiderman, who lives somewhat insulated from his actions behind a secret identity. By the end of the movie, the world knows who he is and what he’s been doing. I loved Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane, although every time I saw him on screen I wanted to say, “Yeah, it-it’s a, it’s a bummer, man.” And special kudos to the filmmakers for making me like Gwyneth Paltrow, a feat that before seeing this movie I thought impossible.
It’s always struck me as funny that these days, movies like this have sequels and franchises built into them, and I don’t think there’s any question that we’ll see at least two more Iron Man movies. I’m wondering where they’ll take the whole thing. Anyone who stays for the secret ending after the credits knows that reference is made to superhero group The Avengers. Terrance Howard plays James Rhodes, who in the comics eventually becomes War Machine. And the terrorist group responsible for Tony’s kidnapping is The Ten Rings, backed by Iron Man’s comic book nemesis The Mandarin, so there’s plenty of material there for a few sequels.
Too often, we walk out of superhero movies feeling disappointed, so it was nice coming out of this one thinking that the filmmakers had done things right. Don’t wait for the DVD, catch this one in theaters. A