iron man

“Iron Man. That’s kind of catchy. It’s got a nice ring to it. I mean it’s not technically accurate. The suit’s a gold titanium alloy, but it’s kind of provocative, the imagery anyway.” – Tony Stark, Iron Man (2008).

I never truly managed to catch the Marvel train. It left the station, came back and left again, I’ve never truly enjoyed these films. However, as of late, a sudden barrage of enjoyable superhero films have came my way. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) were both thoroughly enjoyable. So I thought because of this it would be a very good idea to go back and watch the older films. You know, get all of those origin stories out of the way before I see anything new. Wow, I really wish I hadn’t seen them. Why I bothered is of actual mystery to me.

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is a successful arms dealer, selling and creating weapons for the U.S. Military. After a bad encounter with a group of terrorists, Tony decides to no longer sell weapons and focus on his Iron Man suit. This is much to the disgust of both army buddy, James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Terrence Howard) and Stark’s second in command, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges). With a supporting cast including Jon Favreau, Gwyneth Paltrow and Shaun Toub.

Now, although I thought the film to be mediocre, I’ll be the first to admit that Robert Downey Jr.’s performance is truly stellar. He embodies the role of both Iron Man and Tony Stark extremely well and it’s really nice to see him perform so well. See it’s obvious that Robert Downey Jr. is the best part of this film, of course it is. When is he not the best part of a film these days? His performance is stellar, it really is possibly the best superhero performance of all. He’s like Batman but with a bit more personality attached to him.

Robert Downey Jr. is absolutely the best choice for Iron Man, there is no doubt about that (Iron Man – 2008 – CC. Paramount Pictures)

Jeff Bridges is in this film. Academy Award Winner (apparently) Jeff Bridges. Believe me I’ve got no problem with him he’s actually a pretty good actor. But to be fair the most recent film I saw with this guy in was The Men Who Stare At Goats (2009) and that was terrible.

I am always impressed by films that are written and directed by one person. So to see Jon Favreau star in and also direct this film blew me away. To be fair though, Jon Favreau to me is an excellent standard for what the industry should achieve. I really enjoyed the film Chef (2014), it swiftly became one of my favourite films of all. The only problem is that the standard for any of his other films was going to be too high. This can be especially apparent in this film, which is just mediocre for me.

To me it really does feel like the film is lacking in the script department at times. It just feels like the characters are ad libbing their way through the film. No real memorable dialogue happens throughout, there’s nothing that could be considered interesting or groundbreaking in that regard. Still does the dialogue really need to be groundbreaking? I mean, this is a superhero film after all. All we really need are some nice looking explosions and something to sell to the kids.

Well, given that this film came out in 2008, the CGI has aged awfully. That’s just my opinion of course, some of you may think it looks okay. Not to me though, I thought it was pretty damn mediocre by the looks of it. When you think about the modern day standards of Marvel films now though you really don’t expect this type of quality. You’d be expecting something so much better than what I saw in this film.

Jeff Bridges surprised me in this film, he really did. His performance is honestly quite well rounded. (Iron Man – 2008 – CC. Paramount Pictures)

What surprised me the most about this film is that the soundtrack is actually surprisingly good. Opening the film to Back in Black was a pretty solid start and the soundtrack never let up throughout. There was something throughout the film that just made the soundtrack work so well. Maybe it’s the way the songs were coupled with the rest of the film. Who knows honestly, it just works.  

Something superhero films don’t really bother with anymore is lighting. Most of them are set in space or something stupid like that so they can just look good without trying. Space is marvellous, isn’t it? Anyways, Iron Man does actually have a couple of nice looking shots throughout. There’s something about the lighting in the scenes concerning Stark’s surgery in the cave that had me on the edge of my seat. It wasn’t too bad to say the least. Nothing in regard to camera angles or general cinematography other than the music and occasional lighting can be really made note of though. It just sort of blends together after a while.

Verdict

There was something that just didn’t click when I watched Iron Man and I’ve really no idea what that may be. It’s basically just the same plot I’d seen before in every other Marvel movie up to this point. My hopes really aren’t high for Iron Man 2 (2010) and Iron Man 3 (2012). I’ll still watch them though I sort of have to watch them, don’t I? Well, I don’t, mainly because if you’ve seen one Iron Man film, you’ve seen them all. I can’t really imagine the sequels will be anything different. Sure, a different villain and some improved CGI, but nothing more than that.

Overall, I’ve always been on the fence about superhero films. I do enjoy the occasional ones like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017). But if anything, Iron Man has just wedged me further onto the fence. It’s such a mediocre film that I can’t really make any comment about whether or not you should view it. I didn’t like it and wouldn’t recommend it, but a hell of a lot of people would definitely disagree with me. Still, maybe something truly magical will change with the sequel. I’m not holding out on that comment, but we can always hope, right?

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