A Thunder Matt Movie Minute

May 01, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Iron Man

Mikey From Swingers Makes a Movie That Is Way Better Than That Other Summer Blockbuster That Also Involved Large Metallic Characters Colliding

In Theatres May 2nd

IMDB Cribbed Synopsis: When wealthy industrialist Tony Stark is forced to build an armored suit after a life-threatening incident, he ultimately decides to use its technology to fight against evil.

Review: After months of cinematic apathy, Iron Man is here to kick off the summer movie season and provide the appetizer to The Dark Knight's main course. As appetizers go, this one is a meal in and of itself. It's not healthy, but it sure does taste good.

Robert Downey Jr. is a revelation as billionaire genius/playboy (aren't they all?) Tony Stark, owner of the aptly named Stark Enterprises, a high-tech weapons supplier. Quick question. What usually happens to high tech weapons in movies like these? If you answered, "Well Chaim, they usually fall into the wrong hands", then I'll kiss you on the mouth. But I digress.

On his way back from a weapons demo in Afghanistan, Stark's army convoy is ambushed and he's taken hostage. The terrorists want him to build a missile like the one he just demonstrated and proceed to lock him in some sort of underground lair which baddies usually have. Instead of making a missile though, Stark takes it upon himself to build a shit kicking iron suit that looks like a cross between RoboCop and one of those suits of armor that old rich people keep in the hallway of their mansions (at least they do in Scooby Doo). Stark escapes and upon arriving home, realizes that he has brought with him a conscience an new found sense of purpose, much to the chagrin of his cigar chomping partner at Stark Enterprises, Obadiah Stane, played by a bald and bearded Dude (Jeff Bridges).

From there on we get a lot of obligatory 'origin story' stuff that accompanies these films, before we get to the crime fighting. Refining the costume into something cooler, learning to use the superpowers (in this case, it's not really Stark who has the superpowers as much as it is the actual suit), struggling with sense of purpose, etc. This is not to say that it's not all highly entertaining, because it is, mostly courtesy of Downey Jr. What a casting coup. He's a revelation and is totally spot on as the hard drinking, fast talking, womanizing Tony Stark. In lesser hands, the character could come off as too corny and cartoonish, but Downey gives it some serious street cred. Even Gwenyth Paltrow is great as his assistant and PG love interest, Pepper Potts. (This movie does not lack classic comic book names, for sure).

Make no mistake, this is a 'check your brain at the door' popcorn movie. There are plenty of classic cinematic cliches to go around. The meek assistant who can somehow download top secret information off a NASA level computer with a few quick keystrokes. Technology that takes our hero weeks of practice to master but that the bad guy picks up instantly. 2-dimensional characters are introduced and just as quickly forgotten.

But you know what? Small qualms. It doesn't matter, because the movie is big, fun and fast, much like a night out with Downey, 3 hookers and a couple of speedballs. The CGI is seamless, and this is a movie where if the CGI didn't work, it would prove disastorous. The climatic fight scene is an adrenaline fused mash-up of metal that makes you realize just how bad Transformers really was. And like Batman Begins and the first Spiderman, you see a real potential in the series. Cool baddies can be introduced, Tony Stark's alcoholism and inner demons can be explored...good stuff lies ahead.

Iron Man? Count me as an Iron....(meekly) Fan? (Crickets)

Thunder Matt Rating: 4 Soldering Guns Out of 5