Monday, May 05, 2008

Movie Review: Iron Man (2008)

(This review does not contain significant spoilers.)

Alison and I saw Iron Man last weekend, contributing to the film's huge box-office gross. I've enjoyed several comic-book adaptations---notably Spider-Man and Batman Begins---but found several to be painful to watch---notably Superman Returns and Spider-Man 3. I wondered how I would enjoy this film, since it's the comic-book movie whose source material I was least familar with. Do I think this film's overwhelmingly positive reviews were justified? Read on to find out.

What I liked:
  • Robert Downy Jr., aided by the script, made the lead character of Tony Stark a likable jerk. I enjoyed seeing a superhero who had some significant character flaws but whom I still felt amiable toward.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow did a reasonably good job portraying Stark's assistant with the very Marvel Comics name of Pepper Potts.
  • The script has a sense of humor. Not only did it includes some good gags, but it just didn't seem to take itself too seriously.
  • The film chronicles Stark's construction of the suit that gives him the name in the title. He doesn't put it together during a single montage, but over the course of several scenes.
  • Stark's character evolves over the course of the film. As Joss Whedon might say, he doesn't have a character arc from hero to hero.
  • The effects in the film looked great. The computer-generated effects blended well with the practical ones.
  • The use of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" over the end credits was amusing.
What I didn't like:
  • There are several technical and logical flaws in the story. However, these mostly serve to advance the plot or make certain plot points more accessible to the audience, so they didn't distract me from the story like the much more numerous and egregious errors in films like Transformers.
  • The nature and capabilities of the enemy with whom Stark finally faces off is a bit too expected for a comic-book film. You'll see what I mean if you catch this flick.
Overall, I give this film 8.0 out of 10. It's one of the best comic-book movies I've seen, if not the best. That's a big statement on my behalf, given what a fan of the Batman I am. I encourage you to watch this film if you are at all interested in this kind of thing. Be sure to stay through the end credits to see a fun cameo.

I must say that I'm now excited to hear that a sequel has been green-lit. I'm even interested to read that Iron Man may appear in a theatrical adaptation of The Avengers, even though I don't believe those team-ups usually turn out well. Now which Marvel character do you think should be adapted for 2012 and beyond?


  1. Anonymous8:41 PM

    Q) Why is the tittle of this entry "Iron Man(2004)"?
    I thought Iron man is a 2008 release...
    I am definetly going to go watch Iron Man now after reading you criticism's.
    As far as Marvel movies goes, I want to see more Punisher Movies...

  2. Oops. Thanks for pointing out that error. I've corrected it now.

  3. Anonymous5:34 PM

    Good review. Some of my peers have criticisms about the depictions of race in the movie, but that topic is to them as the technical issues are to you: an inevitable focus of attention with a degree of sensitivity and nuance almost beyond reasonable expectations. I thought it was a hoot.

    I'm not particular about who Marvel's next film hero is (though I do like Warren Ellis's unlikely _Nextwave_); what I'm really interested in is seeing Iron Man throw down with Fing Fang Foom, purple shorts and all.

  4. Ken,

    Thanks for your comment. We'll have to wait to find out if Fing Fang Foom shows up in the sequel.

  5. Love your review! I reviewed it, too (from a Mom's POV). Funny how different reviews can be. :)

    Scritches to Newton.

    ~stepnup from MSP

  6. Brenda, I saw your review the other day and I actually borrowed from it! My hairdresser has kids about the same ages as B and G and she asked me what I thought of the movie, so I was able to tell her about it from a mom perspective. :)