Iron Man [2008]

This movie is a great muddle. It’s poorly thought out, the characters don’t quite make sense. I feel there were some questionable production decisions, and script decisions. And despite all that, Robert Downey Jnr makes the movie fun enough that you’ll happily sit through it all and not realize any of the problems until afterwards. My only remaining question about the movie is WTF Gwyneth Paltrow is doing in it. Don’t misunderstand: I like her… and this was a bit part well beneath her. (Yeah, she’s made some pretty bad movies. But at least she starred in them, y’know?)

Actually, I also found myself thinking “this is all that he can get now? WTF?” when watching Val Kilmer be nobody in De Ja Vu, which was not a bad movie, but nowhere near as not a bad movie as Iron Man.

Firm recommendation: If there is love in your heart for Robert Downey Jnr, or Jeff Bridges, you will enjoy this movie. Alternately: if you demand nothing more from a movie than flashing lights and explosive sounds, you will enjoy this movie. And lastly, if you’ve got a sense of fun, there will be stuff in this movie you like, and that might make it worth it. Don’t wait until DVD

 

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28 Responses to Iron Man [2008]

  1. mr_orgue says:

    shutdownparty: dammit! wanted to get to that! (i was at a very lovely dinner party that was not, however, the best party in years.)

    • mashugenah says:

      It was a great experience in large part because of the personal context. Not sure how other people found it. But I had some really good discussion with a couple of people I’d not seen in a long while. Including a very illuminating discussion with Ivan about some of the peripheral thinking about the end of L&S and the formation of roleplaying groups v. roleplaying campaigns that I might spin out into a Gametime post once it’s fully digested. πŸ™‚

  2. I will see your points and raise you this:

    It’s an origin story, and I feel that a lot of the plot threads that were not finished will be expanded upon in sequels.

    And yes, I know that a movie should stand on its own two feet, but I personally don’t have an issue of serialising this sort of film.

    Also, I felt that the plot was, and I use the term loosely, realistic. The impression I got was that Tony Stark was all intending to do stuff when he got suddenly blindsided by the villain, twice.

    I was OK with that.

    So as I said in my post, I could immediately see reasons why people would not like it. But I’m OK with them.

    • mashugenah says:

      It’s an origin story,

      The basic problem with these “origin” stories we’re seeing in Superhero movies is that they’re only 1/2 the origin, and then 1/2 a movie worth of main plot. Iron Man does far better in this area than most we’ve seen. The worst offender in this way was Batman Begins, which felt like two movies spliced together to me; but Fantastic Four was also pretty lame. What saves Iron Man are a few small moments. Like admitting to his identity at the end of the movie. That admission gives the feeling that we are at that moment at the end of the hero creation process. It’s also aided by having the main villain of the piece be a pre-existing threat, not one coming into existence at just the right moment to challenge our hero (which is what they tried with Ras’al’Ghul, and failed; and didn’t even bother trying with Viktor von Doom.)

      You’re way better off, IMHO, thinking like Bryan Singer about Superman and just saying “nobody is actually clueless about the origin of the hero or villain, let’s try to tell an actual story.” Okay, think about this: I hate Superman with all my being, and I’m still touting it as the best solo superhero movie in the last few years. It’s just that much better made and thought out than the competition.

      I feel that a lot of the plot threads that were not finished will be expanded upon in sequels.

      Odd. I didn’t get the feeling of any loose ends at all. The only thing which suggested a sequel was the epilogue after the credits, and that was pretty low-key. I don’t really have any unanswered questions or anything about any of the characters in this movie.
      Which leads me on to:

      And yes, I know that a movie should stand on its own two feet, but I personally don’t have an issue of serialising this sort of film.

      Except that “serials” are not being produced. Trilogies are, if that. And honestly, the connection between each subsequent movie is pretty tenuous in most franchises. They’re not, and Iron Man especially did not, try and setup a plot arc that people could anticipate continuing in a second movie. The exception here is the X-Men franchise, which explicitly did (and then fucked up the climax, but oh well.)

      So as I said in my post, I could immediately see reasons why people would not like it. But I’m OK with them.

      Lol. You’re so fine with them that at the slightest critique you’re putting up an argument about why those things are really okay. πŸ˜›

      • Just playing the advocate to your Devil. πŸ˜›

      • mashugenah says:

        Lucky there was Jarrat to carry on your work. Slacker. πŸ˜€

      • jarratt_gray says:

        I wasn’t carrying on his work. I haven’t even seen Ironman. I was carrying on my own work being an advocate for the Fantastic Four. dd(^__^)

      • jarratt_gray says:

        You are wrong but I forgive you your blindness on this subject. Spiderman is easily the worst origin story (assuming you haven’t seen Daredevil of course). Spiderman was definitely 2 stories that didn’t fit together stuck together with completely different themes. The first part is great, but the second part is meh and the other two movies continue in the vein of part 2 of the original movie – cheesy voice over and all.

        It is probably the the first movie started so well that I am so truly disappointed by it, and unfortunately for me Spiderman isn’t a favourite superhero so I can’t forgive it.

        Personally (and I know it has its own issues) Fantastic Four is a way better origin story. As a movie story it all works together. It isn’t trying to be a comic book story, it isn’t trying to be over the top. It is about the group and the villain finding their new place in the world.

        I’m not sure if I agree that Batman Begins is the worst offender as it was probably one of the better movies (and I don’t really care for Batman at all). Well obviously I believe that Spiderman is the worst offender, but I do see the similarity in plot.

        As for Bryan Singer I think X-men is better example of a not-origin story movie than Superman given that Superman is actually really a sequel to the old Christopher Reeve Superman movies.

        As for Ironman, I think origin story is the way to go, especially given that he isn’t as big a hero as Superman, Spiderman, Batman or the teams like X-men and Fantastic Four. It would be fair to say that people probably haven’t heard of Ironman. The film is a nice way to reinvent the character, though whether they do that or not is another story. I haven’t seen the film yet.

        I also think Hulk is probably the best Origin story and I am saddened that they are making a not sequel with a new action orientated direction. Lame. I thought the original movie grasped everything that was interesting about the Hulk, and was epic, personal and thought provoking.

        Hulk Smash is not something I look forward to.

        But something I do agree with is the nature of trilogies instead of serials. Why oh why? Serials are way cooler, things like X-Men could go on for ages, Spiderman might have been better if it wasn’t a trilogy with a meaningless middle part. You can do so much more with a 5-part serial than you can with a trilogy. People will not stop going to see these movies. They don’t even need to be that good.

      • mashugenah says:

        As for Bryan Singer I think X-men is better example of a not-origin story movie than Superman given that Superman is actually really a sequel to the old Christopher Reeve Superman movies.

        Just quickly before I have to go to work…

        The thing about a hero like Superman, or Captain America, or Spiderman… is that the origins are well known to people. You don’t need to tell those stories at all when making movies. The fact that Superman Returns is a “sequel” to Superman II is IMHO pretty irrelevant, because Superman I and II just retold the comic story everyone knew anyway.

      • jarratt_gray says:

        Well X-Men doesn’t have an origin story really, though I’m pretty sure Wolverine is a Wolverine origin story. I’m unconvinced that everyone knows the origins of Captain America. Is he super powered? Does he just have a nifty shield and a brain for tactics? How long can he live for?

        Of course given that a lot of these characters were invented so long ago the origin stories aren’t that relevant anymore anyway, hence the constant updating.

      • mashugenah says:

        I’ll concede the Captain America point. πŸ™‚ But for the major heroes, a n origin story seems mostly to reduce the time you have to tell a richer story of what it is to be a super hero. (That’s my core point, and I’m sticking to it. πŸ™‚ )

      • mashugenah says:

        Spiderman is easily the worst origin story (assuming you haven’t seen Daredevil of course).

        The thing about Spiderman is that his stories have traditionally focused around the teen angst stuff rather than the superhero stuff. So I thought the first movie did that okay.

        I seem to recall the Daredevil movie not having too much exposition, and largely dealing with his battles with Kingpin and Bullseye. But it’s been a good long while (I saw it when it was a new release on DVD, and not since.)

        I think that what I didn’t like about Daredevil was poor execution of a basically not-crap idea, and Elektra.

        Spiderman was definitely 2 stories that didn’t fit together stuck together with completely different themes.

        I can see where that’s coming from. The Green Goblin story is in a different echelon than the gaining-power story. But indeed, what I liked was that the Green Goblin story and the Spiderman story almost ran parrallel for a while then just happenned to intersect. Way more natural feeling than the Keaton Batman, where Batman causes the emergence of the Joker.

        I’m not sure if I agree that Batman Begins is the worst offender as it was probably one of the better movies (and I don’t really care for Batman at all).

        It was two very good movies. The individual excellence of the pair saves what is structurally very dodgy.

        As for Ironman, I think origin story is the way to go, especially since his normal antagonists and story arcs are not well known to the public.

        I also think Hulk is probably the best Origin story and I am saddened that they are making a not sequel with a new action orientated direction.

        Haven’t seen it. But you are the only person I’ve heard say anything good about it.

        Serials are way cooler, things like X-Men could go on for ages, Spiderman might have been better if it wasn’t a trilogy with a meaningless middle part.

        I think the basic problem is post-production time. If you filmed the movies at one a year, then just let the post-production spill over into however long, it’d be fine. But with most of the movies having 18 months post-production, and a 6 month filming schedule, at a minimum you’re looking at 2 years. Giving the main production staff any kind of break between productions means 3 years average. Maybe it could be done quicker, but that seems to be how it’s being done at the moment. To do a “serial” of even 3 movies you need to find a group of actors happy to devote 9 years of their life to a movie franchise. It’s just not realistic to expect more from them.

      • I also think Hulk is probably the best Origin story and I am saddened that they are making a not sequel with a new action orientated direction.

        Haven’t seen it. But you are the only person I’ve heard say anything good about it.

        I like Hulk, I just saw it well after everyone had stopped talking about it, so I never get to bring it up.

        And as for Origin Stories, I know that some people find the origin aspect to be really interesting. Some might go even so far as to say that that is the aspect of Superhero movies, that transition from mortal to demigod, that is the interesting part.

        And, I also like Fantastic Four. I like the fact that everyone knows who they are, they don’t have a secret identity. Which is something I’m also looking forward to with Iron Man 2.

        The biggest mistake with the Fab4 was casting Jessica Alba. She just looks wrong. I heard a rumour once that Elizabeth Banks was originally going to be cast but they went with Alba because she’s more famous. Worst mistake. Elizabeth Banks is a capable actress and looks like Sue Storm without even trying.

      • jarratt_gray says:

        I don’t have a problem with Alba in the FF movies. I think their biggest mistake was not necessarily the casting of Julian McMahon for Doctor Doom but not making him scary enough. Especially in the second movie. He is basically the toughest scariest villain in the Marvel universe from what I understand, even more badass than Magneto. He is domineering and dangerous. McMahon didn’t bring that and while I personally have no problem with that, actually fans of the FF from comics didn’t like Doom.

        As for Hulk, I think most people were expecting giant Hollywood Blockbuster where a big green man destroys stuff. Sure there is a bit of that but its a slow paced internal story with no comedic value and no quips. It’s actually damn tragic and it plays out that way. To me they captured the melancholy of the theme music to the old TV show perfectly. They didn’t make a big dumb action movie and unfortunately the audience of big dumb action movie fans didn’t like it.

        It is a slow movie, many people might find it boring, some mightn’t like the mix of super hero and say Brokeback Mountain – another Ang Lee film. But if you know anything at all about Ang Lee as a director then you couldn’t expect anything different.

        All the other superhero movies fit nicely into the Hollywood action genre cliche, even the good ones. Hulk doesn’t.

      • Good point about Doom, he’s never particularly scary, is he.

        I guess they just decided to hold back on making him terrifyingly motivated as settled for petulant.

        Ian McKellen as Magneto is incredibly scary because you believe that he is both comfortable and capable of doing the big scarey thing of the movie.

      • mashugenah says:

        Although even then, he’s less scary than he is in the comics, particularly in the Ultimate X-Men series.

      • jarratt_gray says:

        I don’t think Magneto should be that scary. Ultimately the audience should identify with him to a degree. He is often portrayed as a very sympathetic villain. He isn’t evil because he is evil or because he is a meglomaniac or even because he is insane. He believes he is right as much as Xavier believes he is wrong. It is really a question of moral code.

        I thought Mckellen was great. The X-Men series has two faults, Storm in the first movie and the whole third movie. Other than that they did pretty well.

      • He isn’t evil because he is evil or because he is a meglomaniac or even because he is insane. He believes he is right as much as Xavier believes he is wrong.

        And that’s why he’s scary.

        I don’t know a lot about Fantastic Four in the comics, and I imagine that Doom would probably be scary in a very different way to Magneto, if portrayed correctly, but they certainly didn’t manage to acheive much sense of threat from Doom.

        In F4 he seems petulant, in F4-2 he seems kinda opportunistic without being all that threatening.

        Having said that, I think there’s some really great stuff in F4 and F4-2, I’m just playing Devil’s Advocate and talking about the stuff I didn’t like: Alba and Doom.

  3. 8w_gremlin says:

    For more superhero movies.

    As a matter of interest I find it interesting that you don’t like Superman, why is that? I can’t credit myself with this thought as i’m sure i’ve heard it before, but is it anything to do to his alter ego being a normal human or his interpretation of a normal human, where as other super heroes are humans whose alter egos are superhumans?

    • LOL. That trailer looks fantastic!

    • jarratt_gray says:

      Superman is the ultimate Mary Sue therefore he is completely boring. Actually to my mind so is Batman, just with the original motivation of revenge. Batman is the ultimate detective, rich billionaire, basically perfect. Superman is invincible, super fast, super strong, flies yadayadayada. I mean Superman has more powers than Peter Petrelli.

      That is how DC made them and given the climate when they were introduced it is no surprise that they are iconic. But for the most part Marvel Heroes are more interesting because they have angst, issues and possibly a touch of reality.

      Well that is why I don’t like Superman and Batman. Not that I don’t enjoy well made stories about them, but as icons, symbols and characters they don’t do it for me.

    • mashugenah says:

      Most super heroes are about overcoming challenges. Can the Flash beat his own best time, save the day and the girl? Can he find that inner reserve of strength and do the impossible once again? Stuporman isn’t like that; nothing really challenges him. His biggest dilemna is how to manage his own god complex.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Brilliant page.

    thats for sure, bro

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