Iron Man, or, as I really think it deserves to be written, IRON MAN, is pretty much exactly what you want from a summer superhero movie. It’s better than Transformers, and leagues better than any of the Spidermen - which isn’t saying much, since I thought those were all crap. Maybe not as good as Batman, but then I think it’s a wholly different type of movie - Batman is a violent lunatic hell-bent on revenge, so the movie is very serious business all the time. Tony Stark is a womanizing alcoholic who can fly and shoot lasers, so he’s pretty much the most awesome man you can imagine.
It’s entertaining, and doesn’t suffer from that lull in the middle of a lot of action movies, between the set up and the climax, where people keep talking and having feelings and shit - it keeps moving the whole time. I wish the fights had gone on longer and had more punching dudes through buses and whatnot. The jokes work, the writing is solid, the characters are not unlikable, and casting Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark is pretty much the best casting decision anyone could ever make.
The only real complaint I have is that apparently Ghostface Killah (of the Wu-Tang Clan) had a brief cameo, which was cut for some stupid reason like “plot” or “pacing”. The reason this matters, beyond the simple fact that it is Ghostface from Wu-Tang, is that he’s been using “Tony Starks [sic] and “Iron Man” as his rap aliases for years. He needed to be in this movie, and I’m glad it was good enough for me to justify buying it on DVD when it comes out, solely for the possibility that his scene may be restored.
Spoilers and pedagogery after the jump.
SPOILER ALERT: Movie tickets in Manhattan are like $12. This is bullshit!
Ok, so, seriously: the main villains in this are terrorists in Afghanistan, using Stark Industries weapons to do terrible things to people. Topical enough, I guess, in the same way that “Soviet Union as bad guy” was for about 40 years, and easy enough to make the audience want to see them get their comeuppins’.
But towards the end of the movie, it turns out that they’re working for Iron Man’s business partner, who predictably double-crosses them and has them all shot. Two things about that:
a) Rich white guy villain is played by Jeff
Daniels BRIDGES (Ed: OK I FIXED THE NAME NOW SHUT THE HELL UP JERKBAGS), who also played The Dude in The Big Lebowski. He most certainly does not abide.
b) The moral of the story, I guess, is that even Arab Jihadi dirtbags are subservient to, and controllable by, corporate America. This is an oddly comforting idea. I don’t think it’s true, at all, but it’s nice to imagine that no matter how much people hate us, we’re still the biggest badass on the block, so they have to play by our rules.
I don’t know why the idea bothers me so much - it’s not like The Dude’s character is any less ruthless or horrible, but at least I can relate to his motivations (greed, power, etc)? Plus, I can deal with corporations screwing me over, but armed religious zealots are a whole new level of threatening. To see them laid low at the feet of wealthy American interests is an affirmation, for better or worse, that we’re still in charge. Kind of.
That was a hell of a tangent, so feel free to ignore it, but go see Iron Man.