Iron Man

The Summer movie season has officially kicked off with Iron Man and what a disappointing start it has been. Surprise? Expecting a raving review? I’m not easily pleased when putting forth $8 and having no pay off offered back to me. Where do I begin? The story was planned to setup the usual origin plot point we see in Super Hero movies today. And it’s a rather long and drawn out process that has no payoff in Iron Man. How much time could it really take to show a character build a damn suit with such terrible motives? The basic jist of Iron Man is as follows; A millionaire prodigy named Tony Stark distributes weapons and is attacked with what he distributes. Irony? Great, I can buy that. Stark wakes up with a magnet in his heart and miraculously survives something that would have normally killed him. A near death incident with a illogical method of surviving? Sure, I can dig it. After being held within confinement he builds a suit and escapes. Wait, why didn’t anyone catch on to his actions? The logic begins to falter, but I hang in there expecting some sort of payoff. After escaping and returning, Stark begins to make changes to his company and is eventually booted by the board. After some filler thrown in there, Stark finally finishes his suit. It only takes the whole damn movie for him to finish the thing. And after all the stalling and filler the villain is finally revealed to be the rather obvious “Obidiah Stane” who, in a twist of expected and rather cliche events, back stabs Stark.

While I’m on the subject of the Villain of Iron Man I would like to comment on just how weak the character truly is. Everything from the actual characters depth to his motives are piss poor. A antagonist’s purpose is to pose a viable threat and leave major impact. Take Alfred Molina as Dock Ock (Spider-Man 2) or Heath Ledger as The Joker (The Dark Knight) for example. Both characters have a lot of depth and soul to them that intrigued and encaptured the audience. Part of you almost relates to the villain and captures you in the way that you nearly want the villain to succeed. You enjoy the screen time granted and the impact left behind by the antagonist present. The idea of a villain is to make the character relatable yet also disliked. I doubt anyone gave two shits about Iron Man’s villain mainly because the character was as shallow as a puddle of sewage water and had as much motive as a person going on a rampage and killing multiple Cops because he was given a ticket. There’s simply no backbone to the characters action and the whole scenario left me feeling cheated and bored with the whole concept.

The more I think about it the more I realize Iron Man suffers from the exactly same problem Spider-Man 3 did. The script was put together with duck tape rather than constructed in a solid manner with concrete. Everything feels like it was strung together in a cheap manner and the story goes no where. It almost feels like you’ve run in a complete circle by the end of Iron Man, the only difference being that the character is finally fucking established. Though after seeing Iron Man, I have a new found appreciation for
Spider-Man 3. Sure it was rough around the edges but at least Spider-Man 3 had a good amount of payoff to it and some very impressive action sequences to it. Hell I’d say Spider-man 3 was better constructed than Iron Man. The only reason people disliked Spider-Man 3 was because of the greatest super hero film of all time known as Spider-Man 2. The bar was raised and people went in expecting the bar to continue to be raised. Granted, Spider-Man 3 was a disappointment, but at least it delivered at the end and carried action sequences that didn’t make it a complete waste of time. A common law to film is as follows; Do not spend the entire film building up the audience and in turn slapping the audience in the face rather than delivering upon what was promised. Even films that aren’t action oriented deliver upon what they build upon. The Prestige, Zodiac, American Psycho, and Se7en are good examples of such.

Action brings us to the next topic at hand… The action sequences in Iron Man were rather lackluster to say the very least. A vital part of action films is to “wow” your audience with impressive, well choreographed, and epic sequences that provide a decent amount of entertainment while providing a climatic feeling as well. Iron Man understands the idea of a buildup, but fails to deliver what it is based upon. The final battle at the end of the film is as anti-climatic as you can get. There’s no high notes present, but rather a just of dull and drawn out notes that does not impress nor live up to expectations. A action movie is supposed to have moments that genuinely impress and blow you away. Iron Man’s action sequences are few and far between and when they do show up their a mess. There is nothing noteworthy present throughout the film in terms of action sequences. Which, for a super hero movie, is no excuse and brings down the entire film experience.

Even with it’s flaws, Iron Man did contain some good points that were few and far between. Robert Downey Jr. does a very impressive job at bringing the character Tony Stark to life. He’s really the only noteworthy cast member of the bunch and does carry the picture far. But one can only rely solely on the core actor when dealing with a Super Hero movie. Even I Am Legend didn’t solely rely on Will Smith and that film is about the last man on Earth. I found the special effects to also be fairly good for what they were worth and the suit itself looked fairly decent as well. The nod to SHIELD and The Avengers were also the high points as well as the bit of humor spread out as well. I enjoyed the fact that the film spent some time developing the suit but, on the other hand, I found the whole development time spent developing the actual character didn’t give enough screen time to the other characters present and it provided a rather boring take on the character. To put it simply, Iron Man fails to focus on what matters and loses sight of the larger picture. The inventive and rather intriguing camera angles were also a good point to the film.

I really can’t imagine why this film has garnered so much praise. Perhaps the drought of high budget films combined with this being the first big film of the Summer is why people are so forgiving of it’s flaws and impressed. Iron Man is the equivalent of a “Summer Fad”. In essence, the praise and amazement will fade once other films step in and it’ll soon be forgotten in place of films that are actually decent and well put together. While I commend Robert Downey Jr’s top notch performance and the nods and bits of humor present, I can’t knowingly grant this film great praise since it’s heavily flawed and rather poorly put together. It’s shallow, dull, and overall a drag of a film. It’s a prime example of what a super hero and action film should not be.

Pro’s: Decent special effects, Robert Downey Jr offers a top notch performance, references and bits of humor enjoyable, and there some rather inventive and intriguing camera angles and shots.

Con’s: The villain, the action, the story. Essentially the bulk of the film is spent building up and the ending simply drops the ball with nothing left but disappointment.

Conclusion: A severely flawed superhero film with a few bright points in a tunnel of mediocrity and boredom. It’s a good warm up film for the Summer but doesn’t really do anything to prove it’s worth in the sea of films out there.

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