Movie: "Iron Man"
Year: 2008
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Action / Adventure
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Writing credits: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Stan Lee, others

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 5/13/2008

Plot: Billionaire industrialist and genius Tony Stark is captured by terrorists and builds a suit of super-powered armor to escape. He eventually decides to use his technological weapon to fight the forces of evil.

Review: If I were teaching a class on how to make comic book movies, Iron Man would be my near-perfect example of how to do it correctly. I have to admit, when I first heard about this movie coming down the pipeline, I wasn't particularly interested. Marvel has recently turned the character into an insufferable prick in the comics, so I wasn't exactly thrilled to see his adventures portrayed on the big screen. That was until I heard that they'd cast Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. Upon hearing that, my interest was sparked, and after seeing the first trailer, I knew this would be a movie worth watching.

And after seeing the movie, I can honestly say that I don't think there has been a comic book character more perfectly cast than Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. He just dethroned Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, and even Christopher Reeve. I'm not necessarily saying his performance was better (though it was damn good); I'm just saying that he fits the character so utterly and completely it's almost easy to forget that he's not actually Tony Stark while watching the movie.

That is, until you come to any of the dozen various moments in the movie where his character absolutely should have died. This is easily accepted, however--it's a comic book movie, after all, and Favreau skillfully dances on the line between realism and feats of comic book heroic impossibility, crossing back and forth often, but the end result is so insanely enjoyable that the audience can't help but forgive him. Favreau is a man who clearly studied the source material, and who just as clearly knows his audience. Updating the origin story of Stark isn't a problem, as remaining too devoted to the source material would have made this a period piece, which is certainly not going to happen since Marvel is now aiming to create a "shared universe" with all their movies. The different details (Vietnam vs. Afghanistan) hardly matter, as all the important elements to the character are there.

Unlike some disappointing character redesigns that have occurred in the transition from page to big screen with some other movies, Iron Man's armor is lifted directly from the comic book. In fact, they give homage to several different versions of Stark's suit throughout the film. They even give a little nod to War Machine, who they've perfectly set up to be in the next film.

The film has a wonderful sense of humor as well. Favreau is smart enough to know when to inject some laughs without overdoing it to the point of obnoxiousness. The film seems to be all about striking perfect balances: giving us a detailed and compelling origin without making us wait over half the movie before seeing our hero in action, showing us a good amount of our hero's personal life as well as heroic life, giving us plenty of action without resorting to a series of senseless explosions, and so on.

This is the most fun I've had at a movie in a while, and it easily shot up the ranks into my Top Five Favorite comic book films of all time. Oh, and I'm sure most of you have heard this by now, but stick around after the credits. Those of you familiar with the Ultimate Marvel universe are in for an awesome treat.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Last of the Time Lords
May 13th, 2008, 01:43 PM
With the possible exception of Batman Begins (hope the sequel rocks) this is probably the greatest comic book movie ever.
May 13th, 2008, 02:26 PM
I agree 100%. Great review of a great movie, Proto. I hope the trend continues with comic book movies. I think Spider-Man really showed that comic book movies can transend the stigma of being only for 14-34 year old guys. There will always be the "Fantastic Four"s and "Tank Girl"s, but the future is looking bright.
frappez le cochon rouge
May 13th, 2008, 02:55 PM
Well, I would say I'd get it on DVD, but it appears as though I'll have to pick it up on BluRay.

Great movie.
May 13th, 2008, 03:03 PM
Does anyone know if Hulk is going to be good? I mean it looks like it is going to, but I have my doubts.
frappez le cochon rouge
May 13th, 2008, 03:05 PM
Is there a trailer up for it?
May 13th, 2008, 03:56 PM
I just went to the movie theater to watch this film last Sunday and I was well satisfied. Unfortunately, I didn't stayed in the cinema long enough to see that extra clip after the credits and I blame my impatient comrades for it ("let's go man, is getting late"). The armor effects where quite cool and my favorite one was the visor technology that instantly recognizes between civilian and terrorist in order to know whose ass to kick.

Nice review, Protoclown.
Spiteful Jerk
May 13th, 2008, 04:23 PM
Hulk looks like shit in my opinion. This movie was damned good, though.
Forum Virgin
May 13th, 2008, 07:25 PM
Agreed on the casting. Robert Downey Jr. is near perfect as Stark. I'm glad we'll get to see him in the role for Iron Man 2 and The Avengers.
Jason's a Furry! Run!
May 13th, 2008, 07:39 PM
I don't really care for superhero movies (I know, I know, blasphemy), but I really enjoyed this one. Robert Downey Jr. did a fantastic job, and though I missed out on most of the references do to my lack of knowledge on the comic, I still loved it all.
Forum Virgin
May 13th, 2008, 08:20 PM
As far as I'm concerned Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man, though the rest of the cast was really great I forgot the Jeff "the dude" Bridges was Obidiah and through the movie I kept wondering why his voice was familiar.
That damn kid
May 13th, 2008, 08:30 PM
I was in a packed theater when I saw this and the whole "theater full of nerds that actually got the refrences" concept owned for this movie. This is the only movie I have ever been genuinely happy after seeing since LOTR so I think everyone should see it atleast on DVD.
frappez le cochon rouge
May 13th, 2008, 08:40 PM
Obi totally looks like Steve Jobs.
Forum Virgin
May 13th, 2008, 11:50 PM
Realistically, Robert Downey Junior could have played every character in the movie. I guarantee that if he pulled some Eddie Murphy stunt like that, no one would know. The rocky romance between Robert Downey and Robert Downey would flow perfectly while the business-rivalry-turn-deadly would actually cause you to hate Robert Downey and root for Robert Downey. Awesome movie, awesome actors, awesome review.

Spiteful Jerk
May 14th, 2008, 12:11 AM
Elemental: Jeff Bridges IS The Dude. But I loved him in this role; it was like meeting The Dude's asshole dad!
Amicable Herculean
May 14th, 2008, 12:53 AM
This movie was so awesome I saw it twice. One thing I don't get, though. Seeing as how they took elements from both, is this movie taking place in the "Utimate" universe or the mainstream Marvel unverse?
Forum Virgin
May 14th, 2008, 03:32 AM
I saw it and I have to say it was the best comic movie ever created! Robert Downey Jr. IS TONY STARK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
May 14th, 2008, 01:12 PM
Its right up there with Spider-Man 2 and Batman Begins in my book. The great thing about this movie is that it doesn't really feel like a superhero movie at all. Most superhero movies have an inherit hokeyness to them (dude with superpowers in spandex), but this one doesn't (billionaire prick with a robot suit).

I loved how War Machine was set up for the sequel but I'm not really won over by Terrance Howard as Rhodes. In this movie it was like he was channeling Cuba Gooding Jr from those Hanes commercials.
May 14th, 2008, 06:55 PM
I hope the new Hulk movie rocks, seriously.
Built in the 80s
May 14th, 2008, 07:12 PM
Spider-man 2 is still #1, but Iron Man is definitely up there - definitely top 5. Downey Jr was absolutely sensational in the part, and the supporting cast wasn't too shabby either. The end of credits clip drove me nuts - i want an Avengers movie (done right) right NOW!
By Hawkings Chair!
May 15th, 2008, 05:51 AM
Absolutely spot-on review Protoclown.
Downey jr hasn't been better. I also want to give Gwyneth some pass marks. I thought she played Pepper with the right amount of subtlety.
Master of Awesome Sauce!
May 15th, 2008, 11:04 AM
This movie rocked! IM is one of my all time fav heroes, so I was glad he got such a great movie!!
Forum Virgin
May 15th, 2008, 03:11 PM
I saw this movie too and it is a great movie and the extra clip at the end of the credits was cool
May 15th, 2008, 09:16 PM
Yeah it was a great movie. I am proud to say its the first movie my son got to see in a theater. But since he is only 5 months old he slept through most of it. We caught the first show saturday morning so it was not a packed house but people still laughed and yelled at the references. Iron man has always been my favorite comic character and I am glad his first movie was so well done.
Smooth Operator
May 26th, 2008, 01:26 AM
Seeing this film cause an almost hallucinatory flashback of cracking open my first Iron Man comic. Downey Jr. nailed the role of Tony Stark, and his supporting cast was as good as they come (including Howard, and even Favreau as Happy). And here's something I haven't actually heard (or read)referenced; the CGI was amazing! Most of the robotics looked real, not animated. Overall, it was a fan boys dream come true.