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.

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

Previous post

Justice League Of America #20

Next post

Seven Samuroid Available for Free

24 Comments

  1. Mr. Dou
    May 2, 2008 at 8:31 am — Reply

    “Tony Stark in comics – recovering alcoholic. Robert Downey Jr. – recovering substance abuser. Movie Tony Stark – not so much.”

    I thought they did an excellent job, however, of subtly showing that Tony Stark does enjoy the drinkies quite a bit.

  2. Mark I.
    May 2, 2008 at 10:38 am — Reply

    Matinee tomorrow…can’t wait. I think I’m actually more excited for this than Indy, Bats, & Wall-E, which is just…odd.

  3. Shawn
    May 2, 2008 at 10:42 am — Reply

    Definitely stay until after the credits. You might need to bring an extra pair of undies for it. Overall great movie. Just the momentum going Marvel.

  4. May 2, 2008 at 10:47 am — Reply

    I’m seeing it tonight at 830. A buddy of mine caught IM last night as well and all he did was leave me a text message that said, “ZOMG Iron Man was teh balls”. Hyperbole aside, I’m very pumped for this one. And hopefully this will get Marvel to bring their print version of Tony Stark out of the douche zone.

  5. Cory
    May 2, 2008 at 2:07 pm — Reply

    X-MEN 3 was f-ed up by “Rothman” at Fox. He didn’t believe in the franchise and didn’t personally like Bryan Singer. “Rothman” essentially forced Singer out and chose studio bootlicker “Brett Ratner” and produced the travesty called X-Men 3. Thus, ruining the X-Men franchise for a generation.

    Thankfully, Marvel has MUCH MORE CONTROL over their properties now and things look great for IRON MAN.

  6. Brent
    May 2, 2008 at 3:19 pm — Reply

    With Favreau at the helm, I’m betting Iron Man rocks on the entertainment and also the fanboy level. But I am not convinced that Singer’s vision was the best move for the X-Men franchise. Singer is kinda weak on presenting the catch-22 drama of superpowers. “Something” is missing from Singer’s X-Men movies, and it is also missing from Superman Returns. Singer conveyed the majesty of Superman’s flying, but he failed to convey the same kind of “narrative hook” for the X-powers.

    Ratner’s X-3 was not a fanboy pleaser, but it was a better paced, more “entertainment for the sake of entertainment” movie than its predecessors. Box office reciepts indicate that the gerneral population was ok with Frazier Crane in a royal blue fur suit. I’m not saying box office equals quality, but I understand why the average person, absent a fanboys knowledge of the Phoenix Saga, would disagree that X3 was significantly worse than the first two.

  7. Cory
    May 2, 2008 at 6:09 pm — Reply

    Brent, are you high?

    “I’m not saying box office equals quality”; THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE saying!

    X3 was universally viewed as a creative failure. If you look at its box office receipts over its run, it set a record with its 2nd weekend drop-off. That shows us that people were drawn in from the quality of the previous two movies and were disappointed to find a bait-and-switch con job.

    X3 was PURE CRAP through and through. And Brett Ratner is a HACK Director known for quick n’ dirty, cheap box office garbage. May “Rothman” rot in HELL!!

  8. May 2, 2008 at 8:00 pm — Reply

    “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.”

    Really? How? Because Stark says “I am better” one time? What movie did YOU see?

    “S.H.I.E.L.D. – Yeah, they’re in there if you pay attention to acronyms.”

    Also if you pay attention to the dialogue. They say “SHIELD” outright at the end!

    P.S. IRON MAN was very long, and very boring, and not for kids. Not a very good movie, in my opinion. Someone had to say it.

  9. mosdef
    May 2, 2008 at 10:17 pm — Reply

    damn robby reed, slow down the haterade drinkin. dont dog anyones opinion and in the movie i saw iron man stated that his experience in the middle east made him want to change his business. he said that several times. iron man was long, never boring and its okay for kids, it was welll worth my money. robert downey jr nailed tony stark, and i cant wait till t. howard throws on that war machine armor, and in every movie their has to be a great villain, and this guy was great. not spiderman 1 great, but good enough. 4.5 stars from def

  10. Devilbob
    May 2, 2008 at 10:24 pm — Reply

    My 9 (and 1/2) year old son was fine with the movie. The action scenes were placed well enough that it didn’t totally bore him with an actual story. Granted, the whole transformation from uncaring bon vivant to, well to use Starks words, “superhero” is truncated to fit in the alloted time. If you want long drawn out drama watch Pride and Prejudice– you’ll get a life time’s worth.

    The post credit clip was fantastic, if only he could make an appearance in The Hulk.

    I personally think they made a great movie. It put Stark/Iron Man into the current socio-political realm without doing too much canonical damage. It had a great balance of action, comedy, and storyline drama. Unlike a lot of other films out there, I didn’t regret not waiting for it to hit on DVD. It;s nice to see a movie and not feel ripped off at the end.

  11. May 3, 2008 at 10:18 am — Reply

    Not an Iron Man reader. But saw the movie yesterday and enjoyed it. It is not fast paced, but most of the comic book origin movies aren’t. Superman 1 (Reeve) took 45 minutes to get through the origin (if I recall) and it ranks in the top 5 best comic movies of all time. IM is 1 hr 15 min before he is in his IM suit (if you don’t count the prototype).

    It was a well done, quality movie. My only distraction is that since he is completely enclosed, as soon as there is a fight scene, we jump to cgi, which detracts from believability.

  12. May 3, 2008 at 12:43 pm — Reply

    About the torture… if parents want to take their kids to see a man having grotesque open heart surgery, a man being drowned to make him cooperate, a man almost having a hot coal shoved down his throat, dozens of men being burned alive, etc etc. — then fine! That is their choice. But I wouldn’t let a young kid within 100 miles of this movie. It is rated PG and marketed at Burger King. They are pitching it to very young kids, and that is not right. Someone had to say it.

  13. nu
    May 3, 2008 at 5:11 pm — Reply

    I enjoyed the movie, i laughed when he wanted a cheeseburger and cheered when it was bk. Stark’s house, cars, everything was amazing. Nice action scences, some funny moments, great lines, overall good movie.

  14. May 3, 2008 at 6:38 pm — Reply

    I thought it was pretty good. I didn’t stay through the whole credits, so now I’m wondering what I missed.

    The sad thing about Iron Man is that there is always some godawful place in the world for updating his origin. Works really well here. The effects and action were good, and even thought I had some concern going in, Gwyneth Paltrow was fine as Pepper. I liked virtual Jarvis. Like every superhero movie, there were times when I REALLY had to suspend disbelief, but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment. My wife liked it quite a bit. She keeps saying, “Iron Man was awesome!”

    I, for whatever reasons, kept thinking of Ultron when Tony was having the back and forth with the robots in his lab…I know it was originally Pym (who apparently has his own movie waiting in the wings). I think Ultron would be a great villain for an Iron Man movie though…

    Anyway, thought it was a good action/Superhero movie.

  15. Rowan
    May 4, 2008 at 3:21 pm — Reply

    The scene past the credits made my hands and legs go numb because it was so fucking incredible , I am basically going back to the movie 9 times just to see that part , It was mind blowingly awesome and I am so frigging pumped for the future of marvel movies , all in all this is My personal Favorite Marvel/Comic movie to date

  16. Jim
    May 4, 2008 at 9:13 pm — Reply

    I generally like RDJ in most movies, and he is really charismatic in this role. Seems perfect as Stark. I have no doubts that a sequel will come out. Downey and Favreau have already talked about wanting to tackle the “demon in the bottle” storyline, but Marvel wanted an origin picture first. My only real complaint with the film is how closely it sticks to the origin format. It works here, but that structure is going to get old with subsequent superhero movies, I think.

    I only read Iron Man sparingly but have read Avengers for a long time. The problem with Iron Man is that he doesn’t have many awesome villians (Hulk has this problem too. Batman and Spider-Man have a tremendous amount of great villians, which makes them franchise characters). I hope they can make IM II with a compelling villian (and Rhodes as either the stand-in IM or War Machine).

    I saw the post-credits scene coming since I had hear about that cameo. Still, it really does set up the Marvel film universe in an interesting (though, perhaps, very difficult to achive) way.

  17. Adam
    May 4, 2008 at 11:37 pm — Reply

    I’m a ‘DC for Life’ guy, and I really really liked this movie. I don’t have anything against Marvel, I loved them when I was a kid, but I’m a little mad that they seem to be kicking DC’s ass when it comes to movies.

    Why?

    The only good, recent, DC movie was Batman Begins. They can’t even get all the other franchises off the ground. And now, with the last little teaser clip at the end of Iron Man, Marvel has done the smartest thing I’ve seen in comic book movies; making all their movies inhabit the same universe.

    Having SHIELD involved, however minutely, in all their newer films is a master stroke. Can they pull their “Avenger Initiative’ off? Who knows. But, that they have the balls to try is just fantastic.

    So, why, oh why, can’t DC get their $hit together and do it right?

    Answers…..anyone….

  18. hermit
    May 5, 2008 at 2:01 am — Reply

    marvel doing their own stuff on the silver screen, stroke of genious. now we’ll finally have a true comic book feel in the movies with all the crossovers and cameos.

    as long as they don’t use brett ratner anymore, we’re all good

  19. May 5, 2008 at 6:59 am — Reply

    I, like Adam, am a DC fan through and through, but I still found this movie thoroughly enjoyable. And, that last little bit at the end with the introduction of a ‘larger’ Marvel Universe in the films was fantastic …

  20. Kenny
    May 5, 2008 at 7:35 am — Reply

    I saw this movie with my girlfriend, her son and one of his little friends. The movie was awesome, funny, great action scenes and the clip after the credits was fantastic. I dam near crapped my pants. I LOVE IT!!!!!!! i am so getting marvel studio share. i know that it will go up in the coming months/year

  21. Carl
    May 5, 2008 at 8:52 am — Reply

    I thought the movie was great. It did have its slow points and I thought the “reveal” about Tony’s kidnapping was a bit cliched. However, it really nailed the character. You’ve got to have scenes of him working on the suit. That’s the key to Iron Man. He’s the hero who’s always improving his powers. I even liked the part about him not being “sentimental”. This is the guy who’s in the habit of rebuilding his old armors.

    I also liked that they kept the CGI to a minimum with the Mark I armor. It really came off clunky, as it should.

    As for the drinking problem, he wasn’t a recovering alcholic in his origin. That came later, so I see no problem with it being addressed in a later film. I can see him having a lot of pressure. He still has to rebuild the company with its new focus and face whatever problems Iron Man will.

    My favorite line: “Tony Stark built it in a cave!! Out of scrap!!

  22. Brother129
    May 5, 2008 at 11:44 am — Reply

    I’m a loser whose wife made me leave when the closing credits were leaving…what did I miss at the end of the credits????

  23. May 5, 2008 at 10:42 pm — Reply

    My favorite lines:
    Rhodey: Where’ve you been?
    Tony: Doing a piece for Vanity Fair.

  24. peter
    June 19, 2008 at 10:39 am — Reply

    “My favorite line: “Tony Stark built it in a cave!! Out of scrap!!”

    TOTALLY AGREE!! that part was so unintentionally funny!!

You know you have something to say, say it in the comment section