Friday, May 2, 2008

Iron Man is iron-clad solid.

Last night, my local movie theater had a special preview showing of Iron Man at 8 pm. So a few of my cronies and I piled up in a clown car and headed out. After the new “Dark Knight”, “Indiana Jones”, and “Incredible Hulk” trailers finished, it was showtime.

This was just an all-around good movie. Not just a movie that’s part of the “superhero” genre, but a fun, action-packed movie that everyone can enjoy. Seriously, I’m thinking of asking my mom if she wants to go see it sometime. Possibly for Mother’s Day. While I’m not a huge Iron Man fan, I know the backstory and are familiar with the supporting characters.

For those of you out of the Marvel loop for the past 45 years or so, here’s a quick backstory: Created by writer-editor Stan Lee, writer Larry Lieber, and artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby, Tony Stark (and his iron-clad alter ego) first appeared in Tales of Suspense #39 in March 1963. Tony Stark, after being gravely injured and forced to build a devastating weapon, instead created a suit of power armor to save his life and help protect the world as Iron Man. He is a wealthy industrialist and genius inventor whose suit of armor is laden with technological devices that enable him to fight crime.

And that’s the story in a nutshell. The movie is very similar (small tweaks here and there): Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.),is captured by terrorists in Afghanistan. Ordered to build a missile for them, Stark uses his resources instead to build a powered exoskeleton to make his escape. Returning to America, Stark improves his armor and becomes the technologically advanced superhero Iron Man. Gwyneth Paltrow plays his personal assistant Virgina “Pepper” Potts, Terrence Howard as pilot James Rhodes, and Jeff Bridges plays the villainous Obadiah Stane. And yes, there is a cameo by Stan Lee, probably which has got to be his favorite yet.

Like I said, I wasn’t too familiar with Iron Man, but I can tell you this: Downey is Stark. There is charisma, there is heart, and on top of the fact that he looks like Stark. The movie makes tweaks here and there, but nothing outrageous that even the most die-hard fanboy will find little to complain about. The best part about the movie is the casting. It’s beyond stellar. The script is solid as iron (pun intended). Now, if I did have to knit-pick, I would say that just when you think you’re going to hear our hero’s theme…you don’t. While there are heavy metal sounds here and there, it doesn’t really have a dramatic feel. I also wished they had casted Jarvis, however with Paltrow as Potts doing the “butler” jobs, there wasn’t really a need. Though, he has a role…in a way. The special effects are amazing, but then again what would one expect from the guys from “Transformers” and Stan Winston. It has a great pace and not a second of film is wasted.

Any possiblity of a sequel is answered in the 30 second clip at the end of the credits. “Dark Knight” is 2 months away, so in the mean time check this one out. It’s one hell of a good ride.

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