I had the opportunity to see the Iron Man movie last evening. The best part about this showing? It wasn’t sold out, wasn’t packed with noisy kids talking during the movie, and not a single cell phone went off during the flick. All in all, a great movie going experience.
But what of the movie itself? I have a few early thoughts after the jump.
- I’ve seen the Iron Man Mark I suit creation story about three different times now, and each time there are slight modifications (captured by Afgani terrorists in this flick), but overall a great wakeup call for Tony Stark, and a great wakeup for audiences who aren’t expecting an armor suited hero to make such a bold entrance.
- There are not a lot of battle scenes in the movie, but those that are there are really good.
- The Dude shaved his head for the flick!
- I’m sad Jarvis was a computer program instead of an actor. Guess this means we won’t see a Secret Invasion movie with Jarvis detonating himself. On the other hand, going this route keeps the movie from being compared to another wealthy hero with a butler movie.
- There were some great hints on what we will see in future films with Jim Rhodes (played by Terrence Howard) taking a long glance at the Mark II armor and saying “…next time…”
- Tony Stark in comics – recovering alcoholic. Robert Downey Jr. – recovering substance abuser. Movie Tony Stark – not so much.
- This film focuses a great deal on the internal change Tony Stark goes through as he decides to move from death merchant to hero, as well as the building of the Iron Man suit.
- Very cool battle sequence with Iron Monger.
- S.H.I.E.L.D. – Yeah, they’re in there if you pay attention to acronyms.
- Yes, there are a few scientific errors that might distract from the film, but they are minor (like when Tony hits a wall hard without armor, and comes away with nary a scratch).
- All of the actors did a really good job. I was most concerned with Paltrow as Pepper Potts, but she pulled it off. She’s a strong character who is willing to get girly, but is still there to be strong for Tony when needed.
- Make sure you stay for the most excellent sequence that follows the credits. It totally gives away the direction of future Marvel films.
- If you don’t own Marvel stock, now would be a good time to get a few shares. It’s at $29.55 a share this morning, I expect that to rise come Monday morning.
- Kudos to Marvel with their first in house movie release. If they keep everything close to the chest, they can continue to make the films that are more true to the original source material than anything the other studios could produce.
- When it was originally announced that Robert Downey Jr. was going to play Tony Stark, I totally didn’t see it. After months of hype and previews, I grew to like the idea. After seeing the film, it is hard to imagine someone else stepping in to fill those big iron shoes.
My early rating for Iron Man is 4 out of 5 Stars.
Even as good as the movie is, even as great Robert Downey Jr. may be, there is still one inherent flaw with comic book adaptation – it takes years to make a movie, and actors age. There were no talks of sequel until the early reviews of the film were positive. Major Spoilers has been around for almost two years, and we have covered the movie since then. It is going to take at least another two years to come up with the follow up (providing Marvel isn’t dead set on following its announced movie release schedule). If Jon Favreau is smart, he’ll push for a three picture deal that is shot back to back to back. Over the next two years, the cast and crew could easily crank out three films for yearly release. If Marvel follows the same production and release schedule that Sony did with Spider-Man, it could be a decade before Iron Man III arrives.
The other major problem with comic book movies, is during those ten years, actors age. Will a 53 year old Robert Downey Jr. still be able to bring the box office mojo that the 43 year old Robert Downey Jr. is able to do today? That’s a tough call. What if, in seven years, Downey and the rest of the “regulars” have no interest in reprising their roles? Tobey Maquire is ready to walk away from Spider-Man, will audiences readily accept a new face behind the web head mask? Batman did “okay” when it rotated through its lineup of actors, and the James Bond films have done well with rotating faces, placing 20 films in the vault, so this may be a non-issue,
The final problem facing comic book movie franchises is the direction each subsequent movie takes. Superman IV, anyone? Even X-Men III suffered a hit in story telling and direction. Everyone wants to bring their interpretation of a character to the screen, and that is the reason why a good director is highly sought after. Directors, like actors, will want to move to different projects to expand their skills, so keeping a solid director like Favreau around for several more films, may be difficult to do
I’ll have more reactions to the Iron Man movie next week on the Major Spoilers Podcast. Until then, use the comments section below to give your reactions to the Iron Man film. Who knows, maybe your opinion will be heard on the next podcast.