Published on June 22nd, 2008 | by simeon0
The summer 0f 2008 movie season kicks off in a big way with the release of “Iron Man”, the latest in a long line of popular Marvel Comics superheroes to make the leap to the big screen.
Robert Downey JR. stars as Tony Stark a Billionaire playboy who owns a vast company that is known mainly for manufacturing weapon systems. When the film opens, Stark is ambushed shortly after a weapons demonstration in Afghanistan and is wounded by the attackers who take Stark into captivity.
Using a device to keep the shrapnel from his vital organs and thus keep him alive, Stark is forced to create a weapon for his captors who plan to use the creative genius of Stark for their own nefarious schemes.
Stark turns the tables on his captors and devices a special suit which allows him to escape, and eventually make his way back to America after three long and harrowing months of captivity.
One back in home, Stark starts to take stock of his life and realizes that many of the weapons he designed to protect America are now being used by other factions to kill those they were designed to protect. When Stark announces to the press that he is stopping the manufacture of weapons by his company he is viewed as suffering from the long captivity and finds himself at odds with the shareholders and board of directors, as well as his long time advisor and friend Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges).
Undaunted, Stark begins to build a prototype suit in his lab, and soon emerges as an iron clad crusader who is obsessed with keeping the bad guys from using the weapons his company created against the innocent.
Assisted by his friend in the military Colonel Rhodes (Terrance Howard) and the lovely Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Tony Stark soon finds himself caught in an even more dastardly plot, and needs every ounce of his creativity and his latest invention to keep the world safe.
The movie is a pure delight and it was nice to see a summer movie that actually had some plot and character development, and did not try to dumb the material down for the audience or let the film be carried entirely by the special effects.
The movie also has some moments of good humor which work well within the film as much of it comes from the quick wit of or at the expense of Stark.
Robert Downey JR. is perfect in the role as he perfectly captures the character without making him to over the top as often is the case in many comic adaptations. He portrays Stark exactly as he is portrayed in the comics, a hard drinking womanizer, who is forced to take stock of his life, and make changes.
The supporting performances by Paltrow, Howard, and Bridges help make the film stand out as does the solid work by Director John Favreau who clearly has a grasp on the character and story and thankfully took the time to establish the characters and the premise before rushing Downey into the Iron Man suit.
When the action comes it is solid, and shines with modern effects, but never once overshadow the fact that this is a character driven story. The action teases the audience with the full potential of the suit, which I am sure will be explored further in future films.
Many times summer films arrive in a frenzy of hype and expectations only to be little more than thinly plotted films awash in FX that fail to satisfy. I am happy to say that “Iron Man” is the rare exception to the recent trend and is easily one of the best Super Hero Films ever crafted.
4.5 stars out of 5
Gareth Von Kallenbach
The Picture quality was amazing on the DVD and one of the great advantages of having a HDTV is that many times you get a picture superior to that of some theaters. With the film presented in widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Digital, I did not have to use my surround sound in order to get truly crisp sound. Of course when I did engage surround sound, the experience was amazing as the action truly came alive and the soundtrack was alive and crystal clear.
The 2 Disc DVd Features a treasure trove of bonus materials including deleted and extended scenes, a 7 part making of documentary, and a 6 part making of the hero documentary. There is also the Screen test for Robert Downey JR. a visual effects guide and much more.