Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Movie Review: Iron Man

A COMIC BOOK MOVIE WORTH ITS "METAL" At this point, everybody and his mother have probably seen Iron Man. And while everyone has a few nits to pick here and there, it has generally been considered one of the best comic adaptations done thus far. But who cares what I think about this movie anyways? It’s a tentpole movie that can really hold up the tent. In this day and age, the cgi from movie to movie is basically comparable to one another. The only real dividing line being the direction, and of course, the acting. I don’t know that much about Jon Favreau as a director. It's bad enough that his name is tough to spell, his name doesn't rhyme with "day," "iceberg," "zinger," or "slimy." But that also works in his favor. With directing credits as far apart as 2005's "Zathura," and "Elf" starring Will Ferrell, people just somehow don't really know what to expect from him helming a film. Oh, and lest I forget, he played Pete Becker, Courtney Cox's dumb-ass UFC-obsessed rich guy boyfriend for six episodes worth on "Friends." But Favreau made it clear to early doubters that he may be part director, part producer, and part actor for airhead roles, but he was definitely all comic fanboy. There was a collective sigh of relief, but quiet excitement and apprehension for geeks across the cosmos. Then he threw Downey's name into the proverbial casting hat. And from then on, whether he liked or not, whether he gave a damn or not... whether he even knew me... or not... Jon Favreau and I (may I call you "Jon"?) were friends.

See here, more than being a fan of Mr. Downey since "Air America," Mr. Downey stars in one my two all-time favorite life-changing movies, 1993's "Heart and Souls,” the other one being Robin Williams' "Dead Poets Society." In "Heart and Souls," Downey practically played a grand total of 5 different roles of both genders and diverse personalities. And when Kyra Sedgewick uttered to him: "It doesn't matter if she says 'yes' or 'no,' [you can't] let her go without letting her know you really feel..." Downey ran for Elizabeth Shue and showed me another rule to live the rest of my life by.

Downey brings all his rehab-resident baggage with him into this movie and wisely channels it into a “been there, done that” persona that fits snugly into how comicdom has known the character of Tony Stark. Throw in the confidence of a maverick actor who has managed to snag an Oscar, whose probably rightful conceit at his own talents resulted in practical self-destruction, and you have the perfect foundations of a gazillionaire playboy genius without a care in the world. At least until his cinematic Middle-Eastern epiphany anyways…

Before Johnny Depp and Tim Burton became best friends, and Burton decided he would turn Depp into the ultimate Hollywood oddball, there was Jeff Bridges, a.k.a. “The Big Lebowsky,” “Starman,” “Flynn” on “Tron,” to name a few quirky characters and anti-heroes Bridges has played over the course of his rather erratic career. Not being a diehard fan of the Iron Man mythos, I am honestly not familiar with the character of Obadiah Stane, which was handed to Bridges’ considerable talents. However, it seems that after outlining Tony/Iron Man, the writers figured that all collateral characters will merely serve as Oscar-nominated wallpaper. I come into this assumption given the seemingly two-dimensional role of Stane, and even Terrence Howards’ James Rhodes. But Bridges being Bridges, you can count on him throwing in a few touches of depth lesser actors wouldn’t have been capable of given the few cheeky lines his character was accorded. Best of all, Bridges looked like he was genuinely having fun.

I respect Gwyneth Paltrow. I find her beautiful, reasonably sexy, and helps put down dumb blonde stereotypes by having that fun-but-no-nonsense demeanor mostly reserved for brunettes. Snappy dialogue aside, Paltrow did a good job as Pepper Potts, but given her regal demeanor, she's too classy for that role. I also don’t think they should have shoehorned that pseudo-romance thing between her character and Downey’s. And what’s with her hair on that otherwise lovely dress? Hope the stylist was fired.

Too early to say anything about Terrence Howard since his role seems to mostly be for a sequel preparation…

If only to give Mr. Downey his due props… I write this one, single statement: if it was anyone else, it wouldn’t have been as good. So whys am I bothering to write this apart from sticking my proverbial tongue out to those who still haven’t seen it? (LOSER!) BECAUSE ROBERT DOWNEY, JR. IS BACK, BIG AND IS DA BOMB, BABY!!!

Now let’s hope he doesn’t enjoy the return of his career with a party in rehab…

There’s no real need to clamor for a sequel, fellow nerds… with its $100Million opening, the Marvel accountants will do the clamoring for us.

Again, I hope Mr. Downey will be sober and ready when the time comes.

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