- Entertainment and Media»
- Movies & Movie Reviews
"Iron Man" Review
Obadiah Stane: Tony Stark was able to build this in a cave! With a box of scraps!
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
Back in 2008, Marvel released a certain superhero movie. This movie would change the outlook on Marvel forever. And even today despite there being several Marvel movies that have outdone this one financially and critically, it still finds itself capable of being held up next to the behemoths Marvel has had to offer. That superhero was none other than Iron Man.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is a technology-obsessed billionaire who has inherited his late father’s company Stark Industries and uses the company to create weapons of mass destruction. However, he gets kidnapped by a terrorist group in Afghanistan known as the Ten Rings who want him to build them a weapon known as a Jericho Missile. While in captivity he befriends a scientist named Yinsen (Shaun Toub) who implants an electromagnet into Stark’s chest to keep him alive. They decide to build a different weapon to escape; a suit of armor powered by an electric generator known as an arc reactor. Though Yinsen dies in the process, Tony escapes. Upon returning home he decides to cease weapons manufacturing. Instead he decides to create more suits and become a superhero fighting crime wherever he can. Fighting by his side include his secretary Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), his body guard Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau; also the movie’s director), and his best friend Col. James Rhodes (Terrence Howard). His right-hand man Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) is especially not pleased with this and starts building a coup against Tony and starts building his own suit to fight him.
The origin story for this movie is great. We’ve seen stories about people who go into exile from their home for a long time, experience something big, and come back changed from their experiences. However with the focus being on technology it adds a lot more weight to the matter. It’s not just Tony merely turning his head away from weapons but rather him seeking to revolutionize them. As Stane puts it “Trying to rid the world of weapons, you gave it its best one ever!”
The pacing is well done. It gives you time to get to know every one of these characters and every character is enjoyable. And none of the side characters try to one-up the main one. It also takes the time to let all the side characters interact with Tony and give an idea of the bond he shares with them and them with him.
The action is one of the few elements of the movie that could have been done better. Even though the origin story was brilliantly shown once it gets to the action it feels somewhat minimal. Even though the movie shows everything the suit can do, when it comes to the action it doesn’t show off the full capabilities of what it can do.
Without giving too much away the ending shows Tony doing something that has never been done in a superhero movie (at least not on this movie’s scale). Back then, it was a big surprise and it really made me look forward to what the sequel had to offer.
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man is what makes this movie what it is. Even though he’s technology-obsessed and full of himself he still does good things. Although at times he comes across as a drunk and a womanizer, when he comes around he comes around. You see how his relationship with his company and his late father motivates him to do good with what he has wherever he can. He doesn’t simply use gadgets he quite literally embodies the technology. All his building and use of the Iron Man suits comes down to his brains. He’s capable of using every resource provided to him. He has some great one-liners and even when he isn’t with any quips his performance makes every scene with him entertaining. His story arc subtly develops him but keeps the stuff we like about the character.
Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts is also a great character. She’s intelligent, kind, and always there for Tony when he needs it but she does have her limits. And Tony does appreciate what she does for him. Even though the two don’t get together at the end of the movie, it works to the movie’s advantage as it gives more time to explore the bond they share.
Terrence Howard as James Rhodes acts as a perfect straight man to Tony. He being a military man contrasts perfectly to Tony and Howard gives the role the perfect amount of humor. He plays by the book and is all no nonsense. He sees Stark drunk and womanizing persona as unacceptable but does acknowledge the superhero Stark is and sees that there’s more than one way to be a hero.
Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane was pretty hard to recognize and gives a good performance. At first it was rather difficult to see him as a villain. He gives off the vibe as a loyal friend to Tony but also shows just how sly, cruel, ruthless, and manipulative he can be. The problem is once he dons his own Iron-Man suit and fights Tony in the final battle it just the way he looks, delivers his dialogue, and the dialogue itself makes him average compared to what he was like in the rest of the movie.
Not everything works about Iron Man but what the movie gets right, it goes all the way with it. It provided great characters, good comedy, strong performances, and some good technology to offer. Little did we know that this was only the beginning of an epic universe.