The film that helped reinvigorate the comic-book movie genre with an origins story the world thoroughly enjoyed.
Throughout much of the 80’s & 90’s, comic-book based movies were given about as much credibility as campy-horror flicks in Hollywood (with some exceptions like “Blade” and “X-Men”). “Iron Man” released in 2008 was highly responsible along with the “Dark Knight” trilogy, for raising the quality-bar of the genre. The first picture in what Marvel would refer to as their ‘Cinematic Universe’ would also begin a masterful weaving of several other characters from stand-alone film’s that would all have small story ties-in’s of some sort.
This role would also elevate Downey Jr. to Hollywood A-List levels, and his portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man, is about as near perfection as a casting job can be done next to Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, and most recently Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool.
This was an overall excellent origins story that perfectly built the character and introduced him to the world. Downey Jr. is excellent as the flamboyant playboy Tony Stark and as the story progresses, and the layers to his personality evolve, still result in intriguing cinema. The range between a carefree billionaire, and a man torn from the consequences of his fortunes, is excellently captured both in the writing, as well as through his performance.
This story follows Tony Stark, a genius inventor that has carried on the company his father created. Defense weapons from Stark Industries are known world-wide, and the philanthropic playboy Tony Stark relishes in his flamboyant carefree lifestyle the profits have allowed him. When he travels to Afghanistan to unveil his latest weapon, there is an ambush and Stark is captured. When he awakes Stark will quickly learn the life he knew will never be the same again.
“Iron Man” does an excellent job of creating and introducing the Iron Man/Tony Stark character for those who are not comic readers and already familiar by building the story-line from the ground up. The script is well written and includes many suspenseful moments, top-tier action, dramatic elements and some witty laughs. The cast is well rounded and all performed to great lengths, led by Downey Jr. who delivered a purely captivating hero.
Paltrow and Howard are also were solid side-characters and made the most of their appearances. Jeff Bridges was excellent as the antagonist and with his calculating delivery and gruff expressions he made for a highly compelling and enjoyable bad-guy. He was able to pull the most out of his simplistic plot-line, something that was also one of the few flaws in this film.
The action sequences are well imagined and organized without looking overly choreographed. It was easy to see the films creators took the project seriously and wove a story-line that could be enjoyed by all ages. There was an intricacy to the plot that was not found often in genre films prior, and with some detailed sub-plots there was never a dull moment. Whether it was the destructive action, flying sequences, or watching Tony Stark tinker in his garage, there was never nothing that was anything less then excellent to look at in awe.”Iron Man” would go on to inspire a string of films from Marvel that would revolutionize the conception and integration of comic book movies as viable tent-pole projects. “Iron Man” was not only a comic based action flick, it was a thrill ride full of adventure, intelligence, suspense, and humor all wrapped into a well rounded film and to this day is still one of the best entries in the MCU.
Time: 126 min
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For some intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and brief suggestive content)