Iron Man

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Marvel Avengers

Released: 2008
Director: Jon Favreau

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow


A snorefest of a superhero movie

I managed to get through the initial rush of Marvel Comics film adaptations without being troubled by the movies, the Iron Man DVD even lived in my house for a good couple of years without it attracting my interest.  Then this summer I went to see Captain America: The First Avenger and was totally blown away.  The trailer for next summer’s superhero blockbuster The Avengers further whetted my appetite, it looks great!  I have clearly been missing out, so it was time to take that Iron Man DVD off the shelf and actually watch it.

Robert Downey Jr plays Tony Stark – technology genius, playboy and billionaire arms manufacturer whose weapons have been instrumental in American military action across the globe.  After being kidnapped, critically wounded and held captive in Afghanistan for three months Stark announces that his company will no longer make weapons.  He has seen them fall into the hands of America’s enemies and terrorists and no longer wishes to profit from this, indeed he wants to stop it.  He builds himself an armoured, flying suit which he uses to fight bad guys, free hard done by villagers and defeat the evil forces wishing to take over Stark Industries for their own nefarious purposes.  Exciting eh?

No.  Not exciting. Dull.  Dull, dull, dull. Dull.  I was blown away by how bored I was watching Iron Man.  It took so long to get going that I lost all interest in the movie.  I tweeted, I mooched around in the fridge for something unhealthy to eat (Ed: what’s new here?), I started to wonder what I could watch when this was over, the film just didn’t hold my attention in the slightest.  It should have, the premise was great and some of the action scenes are exciting but they were too few and far between.  I swear that Stark’s three months in a cave in Afghanistan were shown in  real-time!  Superhero films don’t need exposition and lots of explanation, they need a superhero, a supervillain and some great action scenes.  Iron Man only partly meets this criteria.

The major saving grace is Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark, he exudes charisma and bad-boy charm, he’s naughty, cocky, arrogant and thoroughly convinces as a self-assured playboy.  He leaves us wondering what real-life experiences he drew upon to so brilliantly play the role.  I also quite liked Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia “Pepper” Potts, Stark’s efficient assistant and tentative love interest.  Her role isn’t terribly substantial but she’s sparky and reminded me of the kind of capable 50s heroine I love, sexy, without being obvious and able to look great running around in five-inch heels.  That’s what I want in my superhero girlfriends – it’s not very enlightened or sisterly of me, but there we have it.

One of the biggest let-downs of this film was the supervillain (I think the script must have said “moderately insipid villain”).  I won’t spoil things here, but I’m sure you can work out who the bad guy is within five minutes of the start of  the film.  The motivation is mundane and the character isn’t given nearly enough prominence, a waste of a great actor.

The action sequences are good fun and there’s some great explosions, my particular favourite being the initial display of the Jericho weapon’s awesome power.  Unfortunately these good moments were buried by the sheer tedium that was the rest of the film.

Previous and next posts in this series:Captain America: The First Avenger >>
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