As an aside, the people that made this clip deserve a lot of credit for how well they approximate the 70s look. Check out their site here. Background information here.
(links via Blog@Newsarama)
This may seem cruel, mocking and unpleasant to you.
And I do not disagree that it has its vile and childish side. But comedy has no friends, mad people are funny, and it's not news that I'm an arsehole sometimes.
-- Warren Ellis
I wasn't going to write a review of Iron Man, seeing as plenty of reviews were already going up by Friday afternoon, but after watching the movie I have got to talk about it. Short version: If you haven't seen it, go watch it. You will enjoy yourself, I promise. Come back and read this after you've seen the movie. Oh, and if you haven't heard, stay to the end of the credits.
Things I liked:
- With great difficulty, I managed to watch only the first trailer before seeing the movie. That self-restraint paid off, because almost everything in the movie was a surprise. After the initial scenes, I never knew where they were going to go, or how nice the effects were going to look. The unpredictability that Robert Downey Jr. brings to his character only adds to the feeling that anything could happen.
- I had this image as my desktop for a while, and one day I looked at it and realized, the suit is his jet-pack. The movie follows through on that idea; it isn't about Tony Stark adopting the identity of Iron Man, it's about him building stuff and wearing it. As Warren Ellis (I think) says, he's the test pilot for the future. All the building and experimenting scenes are fun to watch, and the slow build before his first real flight makes the flying seem that much more exhilarating.
- Robert Downey Jr. owns the role of Tony Stark. I like him in everything he does, but here I stopped seeing him and only saw the character. He's got that jerkish charm, so that in the beginning of the movie you like him despite his arrogance, and later you like him because of his arrogance.
- They do a great job showing how smart Tony Stark is, and how his mind is always working so fast that people around him can't keep up. The movie Stark is a lot like Mark Millar's Stark, but with better dialogue.
- Jeff Bridges is terrific as Obadiah Stane. With his shaved head and beard, the physical change is enough so that you forget it's Bridges, and he's such a good actor that he never reminds you. I knew he was the villain beforehand, but the way he finesses Robert Downey Jr.'s character is so effective that even I started to doubt.
- The tech in the movie is awesome. It manages to seem cutting edge but still plausible.
- The movie makes being rich look really fucking cool. That might seem like a given for most people, but usually when I watch things like Entourage, I'm entertained and repulsed at the same time. I can't put my finger on why the obvious wealth on display in this movie didn't bug me, but it could be because everything was nice but also functional.
- I loved all the little Easter eggs, like:
The movie included lots of these little comics moments, without having them be distracting.
Things I didn't like:
- It's good that they kept the Yinsen character (and name!) even in the new setting, but I didn't like that he was reduced from being a co-creator of the armour to being a gopher. I like the original idea that the first armour was a collaboration. It gives a reason why Stark hasn't build something like this before: he needed Yinsen's input.
- I understand that Middle Eastern terrorists are the new Soviets in movies, but the Arab stereotype created by American cinema is off-putting. Where Soviet villains were cool and calculating, Arabic bad guys are cowards and incompetents. When entering the cave where Iron Man awaits, the Arabic soldiers cower (understandably) and their leader shoves them ahead to preserve himself. The negative stereotyping in this movie isn't on the level of, say, a True Lies, but I was disappointed that they took this route at all.
- Terrence Howard, though likeable, didn't convince me as James Rhodes. I can buy Howard as many things, but, soft spoken as he is, not as a military colonel.
- After Stark's one mission to the Middle East, in which he kills about five or six guys, the problems in the region are never addressed again. There's some minor dialogue about him going out again, but in terms of the plot, the movie seems to dust its hands off and say, "Now that Iron Man blew up that tank, there's peace in the Middle East." I don't mind an action movie using shooting and explosions as a way of dealing with complex geo-political problems, I just wish they'd shown a more extensive operation than shooting six dudes.
All of these are minor complaints, and the fact that I watched a comic book movie and came away with only have one comic-related nitpick is bloody amazing. The movie is incredible, and I think I'll be seeing it again before it leaves theatres.