After the atrocity of Eric Bana’s Hulk (I cringe every time I mention it), I used to be able to take or leave Marvel movies. Then I saw Iron Man. Robert Downey Junior, as Iron Man. It has an impressive enough line up, with Jon Favreau, Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow, to spark anyone’s interest.
The plot has been updated substantially- to its credit. Tony Stark is still the multi-billionaire genius playboy he was in the comics, and is CEO of Stark Enterprises, which mass-produces weapons. On a visit to Afghanistan, he is captured by terrorists and gets a piece of shrapnel stuck near his heart, with a friendly scientist constructing a small gizmo to keep the shrapnel from killing him. Stark builds a deadly suit to escape, and well, re-builds it to stop his weapons being misused by insurgents.
Richard Branson’s next conquest?
For me, Robert Downey Junior is Tony Stark. He brings energy and comedy to the movie that no other actor could really pull off. Stark is lovably cocky and sure of himself, but Downey conjures up some sympathy for the character. He’s lost both of his parents, and is the (literal) superhero with all this money, and seemingly no friends (other than Pepper Potts). The acting is great, and his chemistry with Gwyneth Paltrow leaves you thinking ‘hmm, if there’s a sequel, will something happen there?’ It’s got an epic storyline, and I call it epic because when there’s not tons of action and special effects left, right, and center, you’re still genuinely interested in what’s going on.
I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you
The special effects are awesome. The technology Stark uses is beyond impressive; it gives the movie its intelligence, whether it’s right at the beginning when you see Stark’s weapons being demonstrated, when he’s changing the rather disgusting chest-shrapnel thing, or when he’s driving off in his Audi R8. Or using his suit, of course! It’s changed/upgraded in The Avengers and Iron Man 2, but I really don’t think it needs to be.
Jon Favreau directs this brilliantly. I only really thought of him before as a comedy actor who doubled as a (not very good) director, but this shows him in a shining light. I can’t emphasize how intelligent a movie this is, not in the Dead Poets’ Society sense, but a bit like a brighter, slightly comedic Batman Begins.
It made Iron Man my favourite superhero, and showed me how much better Marvel is than DC. Tony Stark is just, well, downright cool.
Take a Drink: every time Stark says something cocky.
Take a Drink: when the sexual tension between Potts and Stark becomes too much.
Do a Shot: when Agent Phil appears (you know he’s your favourite Avenger).