The Entertainment Critic
In Theatres Now Review
Opened May 2, 2008
By James Myers
Rating: 9 of 10
Director: Jon Favreau
Writers (WGA): Mark Fergus (screenplay) &
Hawk Ostby (screenplay)
Genre: Action Adventure Drama Sci-Fi Thriller more
Robert Downey Jr ... Tony Stark / Iron Man
Terrence Howard ... Jim Rhodes
Jeff Bridges ... Obadiah Stane / Iron Monger
Gwyneth Paltrow ... Pepper Potts
Leslie Bibb ... Christine Everhart
Shaun Toub ... Yinsen
Faran Tahir ... Raza
Sayed Badreya ... Abu Bakaar
Bill Smitrovich ... General Gabriel
Clark Gregg ... Agent Phil Coulson
Tim Guinee ... Major Allen
Will Lyman ... Award Ceremony Narrator
Marco Khan ... Insurgent #4
Kevin Foster ... Jimmy
Garret Noel ... Pratt
Rated: PG-13 for some intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and brief suggestive content.
Runtime: 126 min
Aspect Ratio: 2.35: 1 more
Sound Mix: DTS SDDS Dolby Digital
Certification: Canada: PG (Alberta/British Columbia/Ontario) Australia:M Norway:11 Hong Kong: IIA South Korea:12 UK:12A Canada: G (Québec) USA:PG-13 Germany:12 New Zealand: M Singapore: PG Sweden:11 Iceland:12 Finland:K-13 Netherlands:12 Malaysia: U Canada:14A (Manitoba) Ireland:12A Switzerland:12 (canton of Geneva) Brazil:14 Switzerland:12 (canton of Vaud) USA:126
Filming Locations: Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, California, USA
Company: Dark Blades Films
This summer’s movie season is upon us, as May 2, 2008 marked the premier of the first summer blockbuster, Ironman. The movie in its very first weekend is a runaway smash, with a box office gate of $100.7 million, the second highest ever premier gross in motion picture history. Robert Downey, Jr., is perfectly cast as the arrogant, rich, superficial, playboy arms genius, Tony Stark, the moving force behind Stark Industries, an arms manufacturer that makes the very best in rocket warfare. Tony is the second generation Stark in this business as his father started the business with his original partner, Obadiah Stane, (you won’t know who the actor is until he begins to talk; it’s Jeff Bridges, with his head shaved!). Tony is an arms genius, who as the movie opens is in a Hummer with scotch in hand, the ice clinking in the glass, making wisecracks with army personnel. The film then flashes back to a test sequence that Tony conducts of his new weapon, "Jericho Missile", an extremely destructive, multi-warhead weapon system that Tony is showing to the Air Force and his old friend, Colonel James Rhodes (Terrence Howard), a serious jet pilot. This sequence shows the genius of Stark and the destructive power of the Jericho Missile. Downey is near perfect as the missile separates in to multiple warheads in the mountains of Afghanistan in the far off distance, arms outstretched as the precise time the bombs detonate with such force that the blast knocks the hats off of the pilots. Tony grabs his drink back from the stunned serviceman says, “...here’s to peace,” and walks to his vehicle. It is a brilliant, central scene in the picture, and from then on the audience realizes that this guy might be flaky, but he’s very good at what he does.
We flash back to Hummer, which is attacked and overtaken by a terrorist group, who calls themselves, The Ten Rings. Ironically, Tony is injured by shrapnel from one of his own weapons. Led by the evil and sadistic, Raza (Faran Tahir) they capture Tony, and force him to make a Jericho Missile for them. With the help of fellow captive Dr. Yinsen (Shaun Toub), Tony takes the next 3 months to build crude but strong power armor, powered from a miniature arc reactor. The arc reactor supplies energy to an electromagnet which protects Stark's heart from the embedded shrapnel in his chest. Unfortunately, in the escape attempt, Yinsen is killed. This is the second pivotal scene in the picture, as he lies dying, he tells Stark, …”to do something to help others” and not to waste his life. Stark escapes and is rescued, eventually returning home safely to Stark Industries, where he announces that Stark will not longer build arms, but will take steps to help it’s fellow man. The stock plunges and Stane is not pleased. He then leads a coup with the Board of Directors to bar Tony from their meetings.
Back at his home in Malibu, equipped with all the state of the art computer equipment, including his virtual assistant, Jarvis, Stark goes about the task, with the help of his assistant, Pepper Potts (played perfectly by the beautiful and capable, Gwyneth Paltrow), of perfecting his Ironman exoskeleton. The second best line in the picture comes from the hilarious sequences tracing Stark’s failure to make the contraption fly, when he tells her, “…you caught me doing stranger things than this.” The test sequences of flying in the suit are the funniest in the picture.
Once the body armor is complete, and Stark leans of insurgent activity in Afghanistan by his old nemesis, The Ten Rings, the first mission of Ironman begins. He saves the people of the village and stops the insurgents, but he strengthens the resolve of Raza to build and possess one of the Ironman suits from the prototype Tony left behind. The flying sequence on his way back to the US is hilarious, too. Chased by the Air Force, Tony gives them a run for their money, while talking to his buddy Rhodes the whole time.
Realizing that Obadiah Stane has been dealing with the insurgents under the table, Tony is determined to stop him. He has Pepper retrieve files relating to the sale of those weapons and his agreed to kidnapping from the computer in his office. While hacking into the system she discovers that it was Stane who hired the Ten Rings to kill Stark, but they had reneged on the deal when they realized who the target was. She also discovers that Stane has recovered the power suit prototype (Iron Man Mk I), and has engineered his own version, Iron Monger, an oversized, beefed up version of Iron Man.
Stane, upon realizing Pepper's discovery, steals Stark's arc reactor from his chest to power his new suit, leaving Stark for dead. Using his first reactor, which was not designed to power the suit, Stark does battle with Stane in Los Angeles, defeating him when the larger arc reactor that powers Stark Industries is deliberately overloaded. Stark barely makes it out alive when his reactor almost fails completely, but reactivates, causing a terrific explosion, killing Stane as Iron Monger.
The movies ends with Tony at a press conference, initially denying he is a superhero, then in a sudden reversal, and contrary to what the government has told him to do, announces to the world, that he is Ironman. Ozzie Osborne plays the Ironman theme and the credits roll, but don’t leave your seat quite yet. As with all the Marvel Comics movies, there’s more! Throughout the film, Clark Gregg appears as Agent Phil Coulson of Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division (S.H.I.E.L.D.) trying to arrange a meeting with Stark. Following the credits, Samuel L. Jackson appears as their head, Nick Fury, telling Stark about the "Avenger Initiative". So there is a guaranteed sequel, and the buzz is that there will be 2 more Ironman pictures, with this cast.
This movie is surprising well-casted and directed. Directed by Jon Favreau (you may remember him from the movie, Swingers), he does an amazingly good job of having the right people in the right places, with the right dialogue at the right times. Downey and the rest of the cast had a tremendous amount of input into the script and the dialogue, ala Robert Altman; the film has a realistic feel in its dialogue and the relationships between the actors. The special effects and the amazing interaction between characters, (the sexual tension between Stark and Pepper is reminiscent of Bonds and Moneypenny), and Robert Downey Jr bringing his incredibly cohesive talents to this summer blockbuster, make this picture an absolute “you can’t miss this one” film. In a summer that will bring us Batman, Indiana Jones, The Hulk, Hellboy, and a new Star Wars picture, Ironman is a great kickoff to a summer season of blockbuster films. An explosion of summer fun, Ironman is a must see this summer.