Published on May 5th, 2008 | by Erich Becker0
Review: Iron Man
Since Batman Begins debuted in 2005 the long standing belief that it was the best, and most faithful, superhero adaptation from comic to screen has been held by many. While Batman’s reboot is still one of the most faithful silver-screen portrayals ever, Jon Favreau’s Iron Man has superseded it as one of the best, if not the best comic to movie transition ever. Iron Man is simply spectacular, reaching heights not seen since Spider-Man 2 and accurately portraying all of the characters involved thanks to spot on casting, a tight script, and the unmatched abilities of star Robert Downey, Jr.
Iron Man, the story of the womanizing, boozing, and tinkering Tony Stark, leaves nothing on the pages of the comic that doesn’t transition here to the big screen. The way the film begins, Stark sitting in a Humvee, with what appears to be scotch on the rocks, and a charismatic, death-dealing personality who makes it almost impossible not to like him, even if his weapons are responsible for possibly hundreds of thousands of deaths.
His life-long ambition is changed when he’s held captive for three months, forced to build a missile of incredible power for a terrorist sect in
Really, the most amazing thing about Iron Man is two key elements, the acting of the pitch-perfect Robert Downey, Jr. and the direction of Iron Man fan Jon Favreau. As we saw with Spider-Man (not so much the giant mistake that was Spider-Man 3) a true fan is the best person to adapt a character to a new medium. Sam Raimi’s loving touch really brought Peter Parker to life in a way we’ve never seen before, and didn’t really see again until Christopher Nolan presented us with the excellent reboot of Batman. Favreau is quick with the film, never stopping for two hours, never reaching a lull for the audience to think too hard, but never speeding by important moments needed to further things along. The film does feel a bit rushed at times; the introduction, betrayal, and culmination of Stark’s right-hand-man Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) into Iron Monger seems a bit forced, but only because this isn’t a Lord of the Rings sized adventure.
Downey embodies Stark and makes the audience like the character even when we know what he is, and alcoholic, WMD-crafting, one-night-stand infused genius who actually comes across as a good guy well before his capture and subsequent redemption. There’s an everyman quality to Stark absent from most superheroes because he’s weak both emotionally and physically. He lacks superpowers, and while his motives are good, they’re also selfish in nature as he’s cleaning up a mess he’s caused for decades. Still, you feel for Stark, the emotional rollercoaster that is his life is portrayed so well it’s a shame the Academy pretty much shames any superhero movie from any higher considerations as Downey’s performance is worthy two times over.
Iron Man equally caters to those unfamiliar with the character and those who grew up with him, watching him change, retconned into many iterations with the changing environment of our world. The insides jokes, surprise cameos (hint: stay after the credits), and excellent special effects from ILM coupled with everything said prior deliver probably the most well rounded comic book movie ever printed and an immediate joy to old and new fans alike. Iron Man is simply one of the best comic book movies ever made, and one of the best movies, in general, to come out this year.