Iron Man kicks off the Summer Blockbuster Season. Stop me if you've heard this before. Yes, it is true, Summer and Summer Blockbusters are coming. Screw plot, acting, and intelligence, let's get some CGI, explosions, sequels, and overly attractive people that can't act. While Iron Man applies to to most of those stereotypes, the reason I didn't write off Iron Man all together is that Iron Man is portrayed by Robert Downey, Jr. Also, with this whole "origination" superhero movie that started with Spider-man and was taken to a new level by Batman Begins, superhero movies have gone up a notch beyond just parading guys in tights in front of the screen.
To be honest, all I really knew about Iron Man were a couple of cartoon episodes I watched when I was a kid, and of course the Jerry and George debate on Seinfeld as to whether Tony Stark aka Iron Man wore some sort of undergarment beneath his suit (the answer is yes).
Commercial break: I'm watching TV and this Budweiser commercial comes on. It's talking about the 100+ years of brewing tradition and how it is the "Great American Lager." Listen guys at Bud...we all know Budweiser sucks. It tastes horrible, leaves your stomach in knots, and isn't of high regard for most people. Technically, it's not even a beer, let alone a lager. The ingredients make Bud more of a rice wine than a beer. Give it up, Bud. You're not fooling anyone.
So what I was really looking for from Iron Man was his origins. Unlike Superman, Batman, Spider-man, etc. I wasn't sure what made Iron Man tick or why billionaire arms developer, Tony Stark took on this new persona. The beginning, although slow, was really the main point of interest for me. Ok, so Tony Stark was a kid genius, inherited his dad's weapon manufacturer, and as many spoiled genius kids are...they develop a drinking problem and live a lavish life womanizing and driving awesome cars. Oh, the second best part of the movie, Tony Stark's Audi R8. It is an amazing car, and coincidentally, I saw an all black one rolling down the streets of Philly the next day. That's $110,000 base model, folks. I would kill for less.
Anyway, back to the origin, Tony Stark is captured and fill in the spoiler blanks, he becomes Iron Man. That part, as I said was slow, but not unbearable as long as there is a pay off for it. However, there was none. Iron Man slacks once it gets into the whole fighting the villains, plot part. There are a couple of interesting moments where Iron Man dismantles a terrorist network in some generic Middle Eastern city, as far as the action is concerned, but there isn't any real drive or purpose behind the action, the villains, and why Iron Man is taking these people down.
The villain is obvious from the get go of the movie, laying waste to one of the worst "Surprise! You thought I was a Good Guy Guys" ever. Then, who is Iron Man fighting? Terrorists? The "SYTIWAGGG?" There needs to be some focus there. Also, I'm not appreciative of the whole, generic terrorists angle. There was no reason why they did what they did or reasoning as to why they acted the way they were. We were just supposed to assume, oh these guys are from the Middle East somewhere, they must want to kill the United States and destroy our way of living because that's what Middle Eastern people do. Just a little more thought to certain aspects like that are what separates a great superhero movie from an average superhero movie.
Also, it looks like Iron Man just deals with global problems. He doesn't stop bank robberies or local problems like your typical superhero, but he uses his suit to tackle world issues. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or not, but it appears to be the situation.
Iron Man tries to be an outstanding superhero movie though. As I mentioned, they cast Robert Downey, Jr. as a superhero, which is odd to say the least, and they went after Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Terrence Howard to round out the main players. All of them had particularly forgettable roles and weren't given much to work with character wise. They were all very one dimensional and just second fiddle to Downey's role.
Director Jon Favreau does an admirable job with his first Blockbuster, but his lack of experience does show on the major plot and story points. He seems to be more concerned with the effects, rather than the character development that has made him a successful director up to this point. Despite the wide palate of possibilities Favreau is presented with, he keeps this movie pretty by the book. There aren't any truly memorable moments, nor was there much creativity on Favs part. He even gave himself an overdone cameo as Stark's bodyguard. Plus, would it have killed him to throw in an answering machine scene?
Overall, Iron Man does kick off the Summer Blockbuster season with the hype, promotion, effects, and big box office returns that one would expect. This is not Batman Begins more Fantastic Four (minus Jessica Alba). Major Boo points. Anyway, this movie will entertain those that want to be entertained, but beyond some improvised lines from Downey and the R8, Iron Man proves to be pretty forgettable.
DVD Purchase: 2.0/10
EDITOR'S NOTE: Just picked this up after I posted my review, but I left out the best thing about the whole movie experience. I went to see it at the Ritz in Voorhees, and who should walk in the lobby as I was enjoying a coffee, but Brian Dawkins. That's right B-Dawk was in the house looking as if he wasn't trying to be noticed, except for the fact that I know what Dawk looks like and I'm betting the average movie goer isn't ripped to shreds like he is. Sure enough, he was going to see Iron Man with two guests. Of course I went in after he entered the theater and sat about 10 feet away from him. It was a cool experience, but I didn't say anything because I didn't want to ruin his evening and draw attention to him. Good times though.
Yes, that is a photoshopped picture of a fully uniformed Brian Dawkins making love to Jessica Simpson while Romo cries. Guess it was funnier when Romo and the uglier Simpson sister were still together. Oh well, funny nonetheless.