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Iron Man

USA 2008
produced by
Avi Arad, Kevin Feige, Peter Billingsley (executive), Louis D'Esposito (executive), Jon Favreau (executive), Michael A.Helfant (executive), Stan Lee (executive), David Maisel (executive) for Fairview Entertainment, Marvel Comics, Paramount
directed by Jon Favreau
starring Robert Downey jr, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Leslie Bibb, Shaun Toub, Faran Tahir, Clark Gregg, Bill Smitrovich, Sayed Badreya, Jon Favreau, Peter Billingsley, Tim Guinee, Tom Morello, Marco Khan, Daston Kalili, Ido Ezra, Kevin Foster, Garret Noel, Eileen Weisinger, Ahmed Ahmed, Fahim Fazli, Gerard Sanders, Tim Rigby, Russell Richardson, Nazanin Boniadi, Thomas Craig Plumer, Robert Berkman, Stacy Stas, Lauren Scyphers, Frank Nyi, Marvin Jordan, Jim Cramer, Stan Lee, Zorianna Kit, Russell Bobbitt, Samuel L.Jackson (cameo)
screenplay by Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, based on a comicbook created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck, Jack Kirby, published by Marvel Comics, music by Ramin Djawadi, special effects by Stan Winston, miniature effects by New Deal Studios, visual effects by Pixel Liberation Front, The Orphanage, The Embassy, Prologue Films, ILM

Iron Man, Marvel Cinematic Universe

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Tony Stark (Robert Downey jr) is a weapons manufacturer who might have a brilliant mind, but, despite being a rather likeable chap, he doesn't have too much of a conscience ... until he goes to Afghanistan for a demonstration of his latest missile and is captured by terrorists. They want him to build his missiles for them, but instead he builds himself a highly armoured iron suit that enables him to defeat the few dozens of terrorists on his own and make an escape - flying, it has to be added.

This experience left Stark deeply troubled, eswpecially since the terrorists were armed with his weapons, and he announces his company is abandoning production of weapons until further notice - much to the dismay of the stock market and especially his second in command Obediah (Jeff Bridges), who soon has Stark removed from his own company.

Stark has his own ideas anyways, and builds himself another iron suit to resemble the one he made in Afghanistan, and when he learns the terrorists continue to be equipped by his company, he just goes there to do some fighting on behalf of what's right ...

Obediah soon figures it must be Stark who's fighting the terrorists, so he goes to Afghanistan on his own to retrieve Stark's old iron suit he used to make his escape, tunes it up a little, and before long of course, he and Stark clash. You might guess who'll be victorious in the end ...

Gwyneth Paltrow plays Stark's love interest, but the two never really get together.

There's also a (much talked-about) cameo appearance by Samuel L.Jackson as Nick Fury, but blink and you'll miss it. Actually, it's insubstantial for the plot.

 


Actually, Iron Man is one of the better mainstream comicbook adaptations to be released in recent years, which is do part to a slightly (self-)ironic access to its character (though don't expect a laugh a minute) and in part to its lead, Robert Downey jr, who proves that even for comicbook-movies, it's better to hire a capable actor than some pretty-face like Christian Bale (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight), Brandan Routh (Superman Returns) or Ben Affleck (Daredevil) - other than those, Downey jr is actually able to give his character some depth, give him some edges and faults and make him likeable all the same.

All that said, Iron Man is far from a perfect film, it might feature an interesting (if a little too long) set-up, but then it evolves into a simple and simplistic armoured suit versus armoured suit battle, with the actual finale being less than inspired and not quite the big bang a film like this should have had. Plus, the politics that the film shows an interest in at the beginning are soon thrown out of the window for your typical good-versus-evil story. And the film shows a sanitized interpretation of war (no blood, no swearing, no corpses) that is almost disgusting in its insincerity. Atop of that, Jon Favreau's directorial effort is definitely less than inspired.

So yeah, Iron Man might be one of the better mainstream comicbook adaptations of recent years, but given the competition, that's not saying much.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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out now on DVD