Monday, May 05, 2008

Iron Man

I went to see Iron Man today and thought it a satisfactory movie. Not great, it wasn't X-Men 2 but it certainly wasn't Fantastic Four or Hulk. Robert Downey Junior was probably the best thing in it but he didn't get too many chances to shine, though he did have the best line of the entire film, when Pepper catches him taking the proper Iron Man armour off for first time.

The story is also okay. This is probably because it is the same story that they have used in Spiderman and, broadly, Hulk. Peter Parker/Tony Stark meets his friends father/has his father's friend Norman Osbourne/Obadiah Stane. Unfortunately Norman/Obadiah have nefarious plans of their own and when they discover our heroes secret Peter/Tony/Bruce is forced to fight his patriarchal figure who uses an enhanced version of our heroes invention/ability against them. Iron Man also makes the same mistake as the first Fantastic Four movie in that 90% of the film is the origin story, with the last ten or fifteen minutes being saved for the final confrontation with the baddy. Certainly the Tony/Obadiah face-off is a better fight than the Four/Doom tiff but it's hardly epic. I don't know whether it's the danger of being into comics, I've never read Iron Man but already know the basics of where he comes from. So my heart sinks when we have another origin film. It's perhaps unavoidable with the other characters but I'm not sure it's needed with Iron Man. I think the first film could have happened presenting Iron Man as more or less already being around, having Obadiah as a forgotten face from his past that turns up in a second film, making Tony deal with self-doubt (we don't see substance abusing Tony in this film, so no doubt as War Machine is not so subtly mentioned, we've got those two things to look forward to in Spiderman 2 Iron Man 2) and then explain how he was captured by Al Qaeda, working for Obadiah. Marvel comics always have to work as though the company will fold tomorrow because there's a chance they will, and Hulk was probably them doing what they thought was an experiment and it failed but if they keep regurgitating the same few stories for each film then the cash fillup from the movies will be gone.

That said, the graphics are as you would expect, you can't tell where the props end and CGI starts, so as a near brainless way to pass an afternoon the film just about passes muster. And after waiting through the interminably long credits for the final scene we're left to wonder whether they can do the fairly unlikely and rein in actors egos long enough for an Avengers film. I always assumed that either that or a Justice League of America film would be impossible without replacing the A-list stars with C or D-listers. Would Downey sign up for an Avengers movie? Would Bana or Jackman?

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