Iron Man 2008
After watching the two Hulk movies that left something to be desired, I was ready to move on to an Avenger that had it all: Great characters, great plot, great action, great everything. I’m talking about Iron Man, the first movie released as part of the Avengers Initiative and arguably the best of the bunch. Disappointingly once again, Jena was disinterested in this movie and I hope it doesn’t extend to when we watch the Avengers in theaters because I’d prefer to not have that experience and everyone else’s around us ruined by an unruly five year old. I’ve heard mixed things about Iron Man 2 so I’m not sure what to expect next, but for now at least, I had a great time with this movie.
To start things off, let’s face it, Robert Downey Jr. IS Tony Stark. He was the pitch perfect choice and I don’t see anyone in the near future taking on this role successfully. He is charming during all the playboy millionaire scenes, but still has the acting chops to pull off what happens when things go bad, and has fantastic chemistry with Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts. I remember my first experience watching RDJ was when he was added to Ally McBeal as her new psychiatrist and I fell in love with him (in a completely heterosexual way FYI), he was a great addition to the cast and he played the same kind of character. In fact the only thing that I can really say is bad about the character is that it is very similar to many other characters that Downey Jr. has played before, but it doesn’t detract too much from the fact that it’s still the right choice for Tony Stark.
I watched this movie when it first came out on DVD and haven’t really seen it since, going back I had forgotten how much subtle setup they were already doing for the Avengers. Agent Coulson plays a minor part in this movie, but still sets up S.H.I.E.L.D. in the movie universe and has a couple nice little moments. I hadn’t even remembered that he was in this movie, the only thing I remembered was the short post credits sequence which was the first glimpse of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, giving the first hint at the Avengers. Coulson was pretty much off my radar until I watched Thor, and then again when I saw the great Marvel One Shot “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer” which really cemented Agent Coulson as a great character.
One of the only things that disappointed me in this movie really had nothing to do with this movie at all, and that’s Terrence Howard. I thought he had the right amount of annoyance at Stark’s antics combined with the complete and total friendship developed over the course of many years. I can’t speak for what Don Cheadle brings to Iron Man 2, but it disappointed me that Howard wasn’t able to reprise his role, I would have loved to see him don the War Machine suit in the sequel.
Not too long ago I made a post essentially complaining about how most superhero movies have to have the origin story as a major part of the movie. That’s true in this one, but it’s done in such a way that it keeps you interested from start to finish. From making jokes with the soldiers, to being the socialite selling super missiles, to being a prisoner of war hooked up to a car battery, it’s always switching things up and doesn’t drag things down anywhere. The slowest part was probably when he was developing the mark 2 armor, but there was still some nice bits of humor thrown in there like my favorite bit of slapstick where he’s testing the rocket boots for the first time and gets thrown into the ceiling. I also enjoyed how his robot helpers were given enough character so that when he spends so much time alone in those scenes, he still has something to play off of.
The villain of this movie was Stark’s second in command Obadiah Stane played by Jeff Bridges. He is fantastic at being cold and calculating with his actions while at the same time he’s coming off as friendly and cheery with his voice and demeanor. It’s like he enjoys what he’s doing a little too much, and while Stark is completely oblivious to his actions until the very end, he’s been working behind the scenes the entire time to make a play for the company. Unfortunately, since it is a bit of a change-up there are actually two other characters that might seem like they are the main villains. There’s an Afghani warlord who never speaks any English and is the one that captures Stark at the beginning of the movie, and then his superior shows up as a bald Middle Eastern soldier who actually speaks English and seems to be pulling the strings from then on. But with the focus split between three different pseudo-villains, none of them besides Obadiah really get as much development as they need to in order to really make much of an impact.
The special effects were pretty impressive and since they are only a few years old they still hold up pretty well. The armor looks amazing in every incarnation, from the patched together Mark 1 suit all the way to the classic red and gold mark 3 Iron Man suit. The arc reactor also looked pretty impressive, especially the scene where it appears that Gwyneth Paltrow is reaching inside of Robert Downey Jr.’s chest to swap out the reactor. This is definitely one of my favorite superhero movies and this is the kind of movie that really gets me excited to watch The Avengers. I’ll soon find out if Iron Man 2 can live up to the original or it fails to meet my expectations. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.