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Iron Man (John Favreau)

"Iron Man Is Made Out Of Gold"

Tony Stark is a wealthy weapons manufacturer on a routine trip back from a demonstration of his latest weapon, when he is attacked by rebels who want him to build his latest weapon for their own evil gain. Taking shrapnel to the chest, he must have a pacemaker like device on at all times in order to live. After escaping his captives, Stark sees a new side to life and wants to protect the people who have died from his weapons. Thus creating Iron Man.

I've read a few issues of Iron Man, enough to know what the story is about, who the characters are and what to expect from the film. I never went in with high expectations, wanting it to be the best thing since sliced bread, and I left the theatre with a smile on my face. Iron Man is the firs real summer blockbuster movie to grace the screen in a long time. Filled with humorous dialogue, great casting and high flying special effects, Iron Man is one of the best comic book adaptations ever put to film.

With the announcement of Robert Downey Jr. playing Tony Stark, I knew John Favreau was the right man for the job. Downey has shined a light on himself so bright that I expect more leading roles to come his way. With perfect comedic timing and a dramatic arc to boot, he has created one of the most compelling comic book characters on film to date. With Peter Parker we are beaten over the head with his love for Mary Jane and his guilt for his uncle, we never really get pass this. X-men has too many characters to keep track of for us to emotionally connect to one central character. Iron Man manages to make a womanizing, alcoholic, weapons manufacturer actually likable. All of that is because of Downey's charisma.

Gwyneth Paltrow doesn't have much to do here, but she makes the material work. Howard was a little off his game. His presence wasn't there. It seemed like he wasn't confident enough in this role and it was really out of place. Jeff Bridges is menacing in the looks, but comedic in the dialogue. I don't know if it is my hours upon hours of Lebowski watching, but I just did not find Bridges voice to be menacing at all. I kept hearing the dude. He wasn't threatening enough.

Iron Man sets itself apart from other comic book films (except for Batman Begins) with how serious it is. The film prides itself on being more realistic then what one would think. This is accomplished by focusing more on the man inside the armor then the high flying rocket shooting, breaking sound barrier hot rod red "superhero". This is because Iron Man is simply that....a man. He has no special powers, no enhanced ability. He has loads and loads of money.

The problem with most origin stories is that it has to set everything up. It doesn't have the time to have fun with the story and make it seem really dangerous to the characters. Iron Man has a lot of set up and little delivery on the action. There are two scenes in which Stark throws on the suit and does actual battle. Not including the cave made promo device. This has pros and cons, it does make the film seem more plausible. I believed a lot of what was happening, until the final fight scene. Unfortunately, that final fight scene doesn't knock anyone's socks off. It doesn't blow our minds, it's too generic and the suit, environments and weaponry were not used to their full potential.

The special effects are well done, nothing too jaw dropping. It seemed like the crew knew what they had to do and just went for that. Nothing seems to be trying to grab our attention, it all fits naturally. Some scenes are bit off and noticeable CGI is used, which may be distracting to the eye. Specially when Downey is sitting in front of the TV and he has the armor suits arm on his right arm.

I'm impressed with Favreau. I wasn't a big fan of Elf and Zathura was garbage. With Iron Man Favreau has found his calling. I hope he doesn't try anymore kid films and sticks to what he knows and does best. He never let the content get away from him, considering it is so huge and upon first glance, would seem out of his league.

Iron Man is a fun ride that kicks off the summer blockbuster trend. While it is not as good as X-Men 2 or some other comic book outings, it is indeed one of the strongest ones. With the inevitable sequel, we will get to see what Iron Man can really do.