October 3, 2008

Iron Man (2008)

Ask any dad their favorite superheroes as a kid, and you’ll probably get stock answers: Batman, Superman, Spiderman, X-Men, Fantastic Four, etc. What you probably won’t hear often is Iron Man. We boy-men all remember him and how cool he looked, but in the pantheon of favorite superheroes, he probably falls somewhere between Ghost Rider and She-Hulk.

Still, there was a big buzz when it was announced there would be an Iron Man movie, though some of that buzz was concern about the players. Robert Downey, Jr., a superhero? Jon Favreau, the director of Swingers and Elf, at the helm?

Iron Man opens with playboy zillionaire, whiz-kid inventor, and military weapons industrialist Tony Stark (Downey) riding with a US Army unit in Afghanistan to demonstrate his latest weapon of mass blowing-crap-up. When his convoy is ambushed and he’s kidnapped (suffering a severe heart injury), he’s forced by his captors to build a weapon based on his own creation. Instead, he creates a power suit to save his life, escape, and help those who fall prey to oppression and terrorism.

Iron Man is, in a word, fun. It’s a straight-up popcorn movie that’s a welcome alternative to the broodiness and borderline sadism of The Dark Knight. Watching Stark’s trial-and-error construction of the Iron Man suit is very engrossing, and occasionally hilarious. And yes, I’ll admit, I did “nerd out” a bit when they showed Downey don the (albeit unpainted) Iron Man suit for the first time (goosebumps then layered on top of my nerdiness when the suit is shown in red and gold). And seeing Iron Man in action during several exciting sequences gave me the same exhilarating feeling as when I first saw Spiderman come to life in Sam Raimi’s 2002 film.

It may be too much to say that Robert Downey, Jr. was born for this role, but he was born to say the lines (the script is very witty and intricate without tripping over itself). Downey’s likable swagger makes him a perfect fit to play the self-confident yet flawed Stark. Terence Howard is game as Stark’s close friend Col. James Rhodes, Jeff Bridges is effectively shady (and nearly unrecognizable) as Stark’s business partner Obadiah Stane, and Gwyneth Paltrow serves her purpose as Stark’s assistant Pepper Potts (the adulation surrounding her as an amazing actress still dumbfounds me).

And for you true comic book nerds, keep watching after the credits for a little surprise…

FYI: Iron Man was released on DVD and Blu-Ray this past Tuesday.

Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5).

Will your kids want to watch it?
If your kids are of a certain age, this could be a fun one to enjoy together. I say “of a certain age” because Iron Man is rated PG-13, though I wouldn’t call it as “hard” of a PG-13 as the aforementioned Dark Knight. This film does include mild language, superhero/villain mayhem, and some scary scenes involving baddie terrorists.

Will your FilmMother want to watch it?
Doubtful. While Iron Man is a blast for dads and their kids (of a certain age) to watch, FilmMother will probably do at least two of the following: yawn, roll her eyes, or leave the room.

Iron Man
* Director: Jon Favreau
* Screenwriters: Matt Holloway, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum
* Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow
* MPAA Rating: PG-13 (some intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and brief suggestive content)

Buy this movie for less at Half.com >>


Vic said...

I *really* liked this movie - although I went without my FilmKids(R) or FilmMother(R) ... unfortunately, I left when the movie ended and didn't get to see what happens after the credits ... a little hint?

FilmFather said...


I guess I've let you wait long enough ...

Iron Man After Credits

Vic said...

Thanks, FilmFather ... the wait was worth it! :)

Raymond said...

My wife actually took our 3 year old son to see this movie. I guess she didn't know it was PG-13 and had some tense moments. However my son came through with flying colors and really liked the movie. He even came home to explain the plot to me in detail. I was in a hotel about a month ago and my son was staying w/ my inlaws in a different room. I had rented Iron Man on pay per view and my son comes in before he goes to bed and say's "Cool!!! Iron Man!" and once again proceeds to explain the plot to me. Very nice.

Overall, I thought the movie far exceeded my expectations.

rob! said...

My gf, who really has no interest in superhero movies, really loved IronMan.

She wanted to see it because she likes Robert Downey Jr., but was sucked into the story via his superb performance. Now she wants to see IronMan 2, something I never thought I'd see!


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