September 9, 2008

Movie Review: Iron Man

Now we are getting really recent. Here is another movie review, but this is strictly a fun movie, Iron Man. There is nothing theological here. I just love movies. Indeed, before I was called to the ministry, I wanted to be a film director. Here is my review of Iron Man posted May 8, 2008


The plot of the movie was really excellent. The origin story for Iron man is accurate to the comics, with the heart battery, Yin Sen, and the need of building a suit to escape. The person that originally captured Tony in the comics was Mandarin, but he would have been rather corny on film (he has magic rings). I believe his kidnappers playing with his rings was a little nod to the Mandarin though. Yin Sen was rather annoying at first, choosing to morally chastise Stark until he realizes that Stark is trying to escape. Then he redeems himself.

The choice of the Iron Monger as a doppelganger villain was rather excellent as well. For origin stories, it is often best to tie the man villain in with the origin, like Ras al Gul in Batman Begins, or Norman Osborn with Peter Parker in Spiderman. Because you have so little time, you need to try and keep the movie to one plot, which means intergrading the origin of the hero with the battle of the first villain. Since the creation of the Iron Monger suit moves with the creation of the Iron Man suit, plus the parallel professions of Stark and Stane, integrating the villain in was done smoothly.

Because most of the origin of Iron Man takes place in a lab, as opposed to the powers just coming to him, and good part of the film had to be devoted simply to the logistics of building the armor. They managed to do this with enough humor to avoid it being tedious. (plus the first fight with the final Iron Man armor in the desert was awesome!)

One of the key points of the movie was a demonization of weaponry, or iron mongers as Stane says at one point. It manages to walk the line between being anti-military, and being anti-weapons. Indeed, Tony doesn't seem to shun the military, or go against the US, but is mearly trying to keep his weapons out of the hands of terrorists. He doesn't have a problem with weapons, but is upset when they are used by the enemies of America. This doesn't really seem to change. He simply stops trusting his own company and his customers to keep the weapons out of the wrong hands. Indeed, most of the anti-weapon attitude comes from Stane's interpretation of Stark's opinion, rather than Stark's own words.

The heart battery was done poorly in my opinion. It doesn't really explain how a perpetual battery is needed to keep things out of his heart, and how just turning it off and on keeps him alive. I know this was the orginial story arch in the comics, but I think a glorified pacemaker would make more sense at this point. That's the way it seems to function, yet that's not the way it is explained.

No comment on the scene after the movie other than its awesome.


The action sequences are really good. The first one where Tony is escaping is a perfect blend of realism and sci-fi. Because we are dealing with the original suit as it was made from scrap, it should feature problems/imperfections. These keep the scene believable and funny. Instead of a superhero, you get more of a tank kind of feel to it, like you are watching a war movie. The camera movement felt more like a war movie as well. This, with the chaos factor being way up, made the scene believable, as well as suspenseful. Out of 5, I give it a 4

The first battle with the armor against the terrorists was essentially showing off what the suit can do. It made you believe that here are some features that helped out here, but that his full power wasn't really used. He walks around with an invincible swagger that gave the scene the perfect feel. This is especially true in the way he handles the tank and the hostage situation as mere nuances instead of real threats. Out of 5, I give it a 5.

The jet scene that follows wasn't so much an action scene since Tony wasn't really fighting the jets. It was more a revelation of the suit to Rhodes. The scene has a lot of suspense, as well as demonstrating that these jets could still beat him (that may not have been true if we were willing to fight back). Out of 5, I give it a 3. Passable, but not really memorable, for the action anyway.

The final scene with Iron Monger wasn't quite as good. Some of the action was confusing. Mind you, it was still a fantastic fight scene, but it suffered some of the problems of Dirty Harry with the scene being a bit too dark for a lot of it. Also, the way he wins in the end was confusing: how did that blast not kill Tony? I mean really? It just seems to knock him out of the way, and he was just lucky to survive. Still the feeling of desperation was fantastic; I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Out of 5, I give it a 3.5.


They did an absolutely perfect job of Tony. They got the full complexity of the character. He truly beleives in the American government in the beginning, and never stops believing in the American ideal. It shows his immorality in the beginning as immoral and unfulfilling, and you dont see him engaging in it after his conversion, though his recklessness remains. The character is based more on the ultimate version than the original, which is further demonstrated by the hidden scene at the end. His first press conference when he comes back is a beautiful expression of his current vulnerablity and new found direction. Further, they keep him consistant without keeping him rigid.

Rhodes they don't do enough with to find something to complain about. What they do with him is great, and the reference to him becoming War Machine just before the final battle was tastefully done.

Pepper they did wonderfully. They didn't overemphasize the romance between her and Stark, which is what I was worried about, and kept her character intact. Also, they played with her in the plot line in a way that was very respectful to the character. The scene where she is caught by Stane was beautiful.

They showed Happy, but they never named him. For those who aren't Iron Man fans, the two civilian assistants that Stark has are Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan. In the movie, Jon Favreau is in multiple scenes in the beginning. He's the guy that raced Stark to the jet plane, and he's the one that Stark turns to when the attractive but obnoxious reporter comes up to him. In the credits, he is under "Hogan", and is clearly a reference to Happy. This was more of a fun throw in, and I enjoyed it.

Stane was nothing like he was in the comics. I dont mind that. Quite frankly, I was expecting that. Stane was what they needed him to be, and no one else could have worked. It was slightly on par with Batman Begins treatment of Ras Al Gul. His character was tweaked a bit to intertwine him in with the origin. The character that they turned Stane into was exactly what the story needed. He performed the part beautifully.

Overall, I think the movie was excellent. I would say on par with the original Spiderman, impact wise.

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