Iron Man opened this summer season with a monstrous $100 + million weekend and rave reviews. I read reviews touting this film as the best comic book move EVER! That is a bold statement. Yet, I cannot remember the last time that a movie claimed such a high stature, and then had the reviews to back it up. I went in with the highest of expectations. I left a little empty. If I was not expecting the best comic book movie ever, I think that I would have been more than impressed.
Iron Man opens with AC/DC’s “Back in Black” playing and Tony Stark, brilliantly played by Robert Downey Jr, in a military convoy. As he is doing his typical billionaire playboy thing, his convoy is hit and we see him bleeding on the ground. We then go back to hours before the incident. This way of story telling is starting to get old. Why can’t we just tell the story in order? Why show something and then go back to the beginning? This is getting cliché. Anyway, we see Tony not attending an award ceremony. This is our first glimpse at Jim Rhodes, played by Terrence Howard, and Obadiah Stane, played by Jeff Bridges. Stark is busy partying and picking up the ladies in the casino. The next morning, we meet Pepper Potts, played by Gwyneth Paltrow. She gets Stark on his plane out to the Middle East where he demonstrates the latest military weapon that he has developed. Shortly after, this is where his convoy is hit.
Now, he is taken prisoner by a radical Afghanistan group and forced to build the same missile that he just demonstrated. With the help of another captive, he is able to fix his wound in his heart and build a suit of armor to escape.
This is where the movie started to make me a little angry. Once Stark is back, he has a change of heart about making weapons, and decides to quit. Obadiah Stane takes over the company as Stark heals, and he continues production of the weapons. After seeing his own weapons hurting the people that he is trying to save, Stark develops a newer suit of armor to help him rid the world of his weapons. Now, this is the exact same story as the Shaquille O’Neil movie Steel used back in 1997. After a test run, more changes are made. Again, the same was done in Steel.
Finally, the suit is completed. Stark then uses it to fly over the Afghanistan and stop a massacre in progress. This catches the eyes of the USAF in the area, and they try to shoot him down. This is where Stark tells Rhodes it is him. As Stark digs to the bottom of the how his weapons are getting sold to the enemy, he discovers it is Obadiah. As Steel dug to the bottom, it turned out to be Burke, his old companion in the military. Weird!
In the end, Obadiah creates Iron Monger, who, after some research spurred by a conversation I had with a co-worker, did make a short appearance in the comic book series and was created by Obadiah Stane. There is a battle of the iron men, and one is victorious. The last line of the movie was a bit rough for me to swallow, but I will leave that up to you.
As for the movie itself, Jon Favreau does a tremendous job in his direction. All the acting is superb. I agree with a few reviews that state that Terrence Howard took this role in order to have a larger one in the sequel. For those of you not familiar with the comic book lore, he becomes War Machine. The visual effects were awesome, but they were done by Industrial Light and Sound. They are the same ones that worked on the Star Wars films. The writers did an excellent job. The script is fast, witty, and hits well. The only real downer to this film is the easy comparisons one can make to the flop Steel. Yes, there is a scene after the credits, but I thought it was kind of stupid. It just helps set up where the franchise and Marvel are going. Verdict: A must see for all the comic book fans. It is a great film for all ages, too. I just do not think that it is the best comic book movie ever.