Since I didn’t really read the Iron Man comics, I didn’t really have any way to discern whether the script really followed or stayed true to the books. This way I couldn’t be disappointed. But at the same time, I didn’t have the benefit of having a built-in emotional investment in these characters like I did with Batman or Spiderman. This is really the first time I didn’t have any personal knowledge to reference when it came to seeing a comic book movie, so it could’ve gone either way.
That being said, this movie is still chock full o’cool. Obviously, the effects are all really great. Of course we’re talking ILM and Stan Winston. You’re getting the cream of the crop. There are about five other companies involved, too. This thing is loaded. And it all looks amazing, both digital and practical. I know Jon Favreau likes to do as much practical effects as possible to add to the realism and I like that. In particular, the Iron Man suit, which, let’s face it, is more a character in this film as any of the actors, really. It is wonderfully detailed and beautiful.
This brings up a great point: I was really impressed with how much time was taken to show the details of the suit and its’ construction. They really thought it out. I don’t think you’ll find any little gaps physically or conceptually in it. You know how sometimes you see some mechanical device in a movie and you think, “Man, there’s no way that could physically exist- there’s isn’t enough room for all that to be in there.” Like in the Transformers. Clearly they couldn’t actually transform into those robots. Where the Hell is all the crazy mechanics and jet propulsion coming from? Okay, maybe just myself and the scientists from JPL wonder about that. But you didn’t care because it looked cool and you suspend your disbelief. But here, the Iron Man suit actually looks like it could exist. I can’t imagine even the fanboys will find fault with it. Dude, it’s like the coolest thing ever. : )
I also thought it was rather well cast. Robert Downey, Jr. was really perfect as weapons dealer and international playboy Tony Stark. Jeff Bridges played a great bald-headed antagonist. And I think he must have gotten Treat Williams beard on loan and dyed it grey. Poor Treat. Where are you, man? Maybe someone will do a sequel to “The Phantom”. But then they’d also have to find where Billy Zane is hiding. And for the record, Gwyneth Paltrow was…well, perfectly adequate.
There are some really funny moments, too. Hey, you try and test jet boots without incident. And Downey, Jr. certainly knows his way around timing and reaction, especially with robots.
It’s no small factor that this story is unique. I mean, an alcoholic weapons manufacturer flying around in a high-tech weapons suit of armor? I’m surprised it hasn’t been made earlier. Good for us it wasn’t, because then we wouldn’t have the visual effects we have in this. We might have gotten the duct tape and aluminum foil version.
However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I thought maybe we could get a little more action in the final confrontation scene. But that may be just because that suit is so cool, I want to see more of it.
Nevertheless, “Iron Man” is one fun movie. We couldn’t have started the season much better. All hail Fanboy Summer!
–Neil T. Weakley, excited summer movie guy