Entries Comments

Iron Man A Good Omen for The Summer

Iron Man
Directed by Jon Favreau
Written by Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, and Matt Holloway from the comic book by Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby
Paramount/Dreamworks, 2008

You never know what you’re going to get with the summer kickoff movie. So many times, a new potential franchise gets launched in this timeslot, and we get something on the caliber of Van Helsing: lots of promise, little payoff. With a guy like Jon Favreau at the helm, a guy you know loves and respects the history of film, the chances of a poor handling drop dramatically, and then putting a fun actor like Robert Downey, Jr. in the lead narrows it even further. Add three more heavy hitters in Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, and Terrence Howard, how could this be screwed up? Well, we’ve seen it happen before, of course. Summer films are often marked with excess and the “too many cooks” rule.

In Iron Man, wealthy weapons designer Tony Stark (Downey, Jr.) goes to Afghanistan to show off a new weapon, the Jericho. He’s an arrogant one, very much in tune with making large profits on mass destruction and death without any regard, but charismatic for sure. While in Afghanistan, he gets ambushed and captured by a terrorist group, who want him to make the Jericho for them. During the ambush, Stark’s heart is put at risk by shrapnel from his own weapons, and fellow prisoner Yinsen (Shaun Toub) constructs a tiny, glowing, electronic heart-assistance thingie to keep him alive.

Of course there’s no way in hell that Stark is going to build the Jericho for the terrorists, so he uses the resources they have to start building a metal suit equipped with weapons so he can break out. And after his crude early model succeeds and he’s taken back to the States, Stark starts looking at his business as shameful and wants to put an end to the destruction, much to the chagrin of his top executive, Obadiah Stone (Bridges). Needless to say, Stone starts taking steps to shut Stark out of his own business, so on his own Stark uses his considerable personal wealth to perfect the suit and the heart that Yinsen made for him.

Of course, Stone is evil, and has a master plan and wants to steal Stark’s blueprints for the suit after Stark wreaks havoc on the terrorists from whom he escaped. With the help of his personal assistant Pepper Potts (the luminous Paltrow), his military contact Jim Rhodes (Howard), and a government agent trying to sort everything out, Phil Couson (Clark Gregg), Stark looks to stop Stone, who has a ton of resources to make his own suit bigger and badder.

Favreau directs this flick with verve. Action fans and movie geeks can join together on this one. The suit is so cool! It’s a hell of a lot of fun, especially with the fast-talking Downey throwing out gems of dialogue. And Gwyneth Paltrow, who used to appear in seemingly every movie in a calendar year, returns from a major-movie hiatus looking relaxed and fresh. You really can’t say enough about the cast in this one, they’re all great. If there were one qualm about this movie, it’s that it gets into hokey territory in the final battle, but it’s nothing major. It’s all-around good. Here’s to the rest of the summer following suit.

Write a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.