Iron Man was never one of my favourite heroes growing up. I'm not sure I can pin point why. I mean, one could argue he is basically marvel's version of Batman. If anyone just sat back from their computer screen, hands to both side of their face and said "What the F Boony!" I know, I know, but follow me. Marvel is basically the obligatory PGverse. Whereas DC has always pushed the lines of what a comic can produce theme wise, Marvel has always been content to have Big heroes, Big villains, and Big stories. So Bruce Wayne, billionaire, family tragedy, decides to fight crime. A dark tale of pain and vengeance. Tony Stark AKA Iron Man, billionaire, decides to built a robot suit, decides maybe he's a good guy, and lets the world know he's gunna fight crime. I just never got him. Didn't seem all that interesting. Though I will, in a quick - younger years maybe still current years - comic nerd shout out say I did very much enjoy his role in the Civil War storyline.
Somehow Robert Downey Jr. has turned Iron Man into an electrifying character on the screen. He added what I myself never got on the page, a humanity, a frailness to the character. So I was as pumped as any other ADHD popcorn munching teen might have been to get back in there for another go.
This time around there is a Terrorist, the Mandarin -
Editor's note: Mandarin is also the name of the greatest buffet on earth. I am going there later. Be happy for me. Thank you.
- Is targeting american sites all over the country. He apparently has a way to turn people into bombs. Tony enters the fight after one of his long time friends - Happy (played by the director of the first two IM films Jon Favreau) is severely injured in one of the blasts. He calls out the Mandarin, giving his personal address out over the newlines. Tony and his girl, Pepper (as always played by the still damn fine Miss Paltrow, or is that miss Coldplay... and did she really name her kid apple? Gosh) are having a few relationship issues. Tony himself has been having issues since the events of the Avengers. Not sleeping, anxiety attacks. Well, all of that gets pushed to the sidelines as the Mandarin attacks and destroys Tony's home. Tony and Pepper are inside. She gets out, Tony gets buried in the rubble. The world thinks Tony is dead, and he lets it stay that way as he begins to put the pieces of the plot together, and the pieces of his suit.
|That's right Tony. This time you go in the hard way.|
Ok. First, the supporters. Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin is awesome. I can't really explain how until you see the film, but every once in a while its good to be reminded of the man's epicness. Guy Pearce is terrific, it was very nice to see him have a role he could really lay into, and one of the more dimensional guy/badguy roles. Jon Favreau in a small role as Tony's head of security is very fun. Don Cheadle finally gets a little more third dimension to his role, and lastly Gwenyth Paltrow. I have a confession, I crushed hard on Miss P back in the day. I even saw Shakespear in love in theatre... Yup. And she put some work in for this film. She spends a fair bit of time in this film showcasing the abs, and they are tight folks... like tiger. But, I guess more importantly, she and Downey have no problem at any moment convincing you they are lovers, and closer than their time on screen should allow. But that's what great acting, and chemistry can do.
The change of director seems to have been a good call. Shane Black a man who has written a bunch of classic action gold, to my knowledge has only directed one other film - Kiss, kiss, bang, bang. Also starring Robert D. Junior, and so I can guess who cheerleaded him for the directors chair (BTDubs, for you text speakers lol, if you haven't seen that little film, make time, as a bonus you can find it on bluray for 5-10$ Absolute gem of an rarely seen flick). He owns the budget, owns the scope, and really adds some class to a film that by all means should just feel like audience pleasing fun - and it is- but it manages to be more. A story of a man for one. Tony takes time out of the suit here, a lot. Having to rely on himself while he repairs it. It was nice to see, be reminded just how brilliant the man is. In one non suit fight he creates 3 or four weapon attacks with combinations from a restaurant kitchen. They added a little kid that helps hide him, which should have been Awwww moment shit to please the PG crowd, but leave it to Downey and the writers (and yes the kid) to make so very sarcastically enjoyable.
|Um. I had to... this is why she's hot, this is why she's...|
IRON MAN is the jewel in Marvel's crown. And it is Robert Downey. Case in point ask any comic fan to name his top 5, hell, maybe even top 10 marvel characters... I bet you Iron man don't make the list. But, on screen, he is dominate. Take this into consideration. Opening weekend for this film (north american) - 175 million. Total North American haul for Captain America, and Thor - roughly 185 million each. Ya. Iron Man made that in three days. Also, 700 million worldwide. Pretty freaking impressive. Though after the Avengers it will be interesting to see how the other heroes do in their sequels. I'm guessing not quite that good.
Also hearing this may be the last film, and with how they wrap this one up - could be. Either way I'm fine with it. I think Downey is done with the character (outside taking the boatload of cash for Avengers 2) and why not. If you include the Avengers sequel, he will have played the character 5 times (no I am not including the cameo in another marvel film as that is just silly). Thats a lot.
Movie scale 4 out of 5 stars
Action/superhero scale 4 out of 5 stars
The Tony Stark anxiety and such from the Avengers fallout was very unexpected, and brilliant. One part he mentions how he was fighting aliens, space, and he's just a man. Nice way to keep the film grounded. I will surprisingly miss Downey's Tony Stark if he does move on.
-Chuck B. Boonsweet