Archived: Review: Iron Man (2008) - archived

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Whilst on PR in Afghanistan Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and company are attacked and Stark is wounded when some shell lodges itself dangerously close to his heart. Waking up as a prisoner with an electro-magnet attached to his chest Stark is forced to re-create the Jericho missile for his captures. Using the materials he instead builds a suit, a weapon, and escapes. Back home Tony decides that his company, Stark Industries, is to stop making weapons and in secret he develops another version of the suit. His decision enrages his partner Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) who sets out to eliminate Tony from the company.

Iron Man well out-performed expectations when it was released which is why it sparked sequel talks. The origin story was handled well which was due mainly thanks to some great work from Robert Downey Jr. You can’t picture anyone else as Tony Stark, someone whose seen it and done it all, with enough charisma and yet tortured soul to pull it off. Marvel took a big risk with Downey Jr., fresh out of rehab and no real leading roles to his name, yet Iron Man has put him on top.

The story isn’t perfect yet manages to flow much better than any other establishing stories of past. The modern re-working was a great fit yet characters other than Stark aren’t built up enough for us to really care about them. But this is the case with most origin stories, the supporting cast really don’t get much stage time but both Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow manage to take advantage of what screen time they do get. Bridges especially gives a great performance as the villain of this piece, even if the climax is a little less acting and more CGI you’d be mistaken for thinking you had a scene from Transformers embedded on your disc.

Not that it’s a detriment to the movie, the CGI is done well by the league leaders Industrial Light and Magic and its not overused to be thinking it’s not really happening unlike the ending forty five minutes of ‘The Incredible Hulk’.

It’s not hard to understand why this was a success, the performances are top notch, the story doesn’t drop off and the direction from Jon Favreau brings it all together. In terms of transfer quality the film splits in two halves, the first being set in the desert which mixes the brightness of the desert to the dark interior of the caves, the second back home and the shiny suit. The blacks are perhaps not the deepest they could be but I think from the opening explosion both sound and picture quality are set out as they should be.

Iron Man was a risk for Marvel, its first self-funded project as well as having Downey Jr. as the leading man yet it has paid off well. I’ll be honest and say I knew very little of Iron Man outside of the Avengers (which by the way you should stick around until after the credits have rolled) and I think that I’m alright by saying he is a lesser known character, certainly to the non comic public. Yet the film manages to bring a new excitement to the character and interest that made it a sound investment for Marvel and cause enough to fuel a sequel. If they can keep Favreau and Downey Jr. then I don’t think there will be any doubt Iron Man 2 would be bigger and better.

Y2Tip – Want to see more of Tony Stark? Check out ‘The Incredible Hulk’

Archived: Review: Iron Man (2008) - archived
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