Action/Adventure / Reviews

Marvel Movie Madness day 1: Iron Man

In anticipation, and preparation, for the upcoming superhero blowout, The Avengers, I am re-watching and reviewing the films leading up to the release.  The reviews are going to be in the order they were released.  So for day 1, I present to you:

When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is severely injured in the middle east, he escapes from the captors who have kept him alive by building an armored suit.  Returning home, he uses the technology to build another armored suit and becomes ‘Iron Man‘.

The first out of the gate in Marvel’s massive gamble to create a superhero team up film, Iron Man tells the story of billionaire industrialist Tony Stark and his transformation into Iron Man.  When this film was initially released, I did not see what was so spectacular about it.  Sure, I could appreciate the performance of Robert Downey Jr. and the immense gamble that Marvel took on him.  Re-watching this, I finally have seen the glory that is Iron Man.

On a trip to the middle east to sell weapons to the U.S. military, Tony Stark is severely injured by the weapons his company creates.  Taken hostage by the Ten Rings, a terrorist organization, he is kept alive to build them a massive missile.  When he uses the time to build an iron suit to escape, he wreaks havoc on the terrorists and manages to flee.  On his return to the states, he changes the focus of the company from weapons manufacturing, much to the chagrin of his board members and his surrogate father Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges).  Removed from the board, he sets to work creating a new version of the suit that helped him escape the terrorists.

Directed by Jon Favreau (Elf, Zathura), Iron Man is a thrilling ride of a film.  It begins with a bang and never lets up.  From the deserts and mountains of the middle east to the cityscape of New York, Iron Man propels itself forward at a quick pace, managing to never lose the characters in favor of flashy special effects.

There are some exciting action scenes and there is a smattering of comedy as Tony Stark builds his suit and then learns to use said suit in the field.  The standout scenes include Tony Stark’s escape from the Ten Rings, his return to the middle east and him being subsequently being attacked by the U.S. military, and the final battle of the film between Iron Man and Obadiah Stane, Iron Monger.

The video quality on the blu-ray is superb.  The colors are bright and vivid, and the attention to detail in the film is amazing.  Just a quick note, this blu-ray might take a long time to load or play if you have your player connected to the internet.  I don’t know why this happens, but I had to disconnect my player from the internet to get the film to play.

The sound quality is very well done.  As with most newer action films, this takes full advantage of the full range of sound.  You will have explosions and ricochets bouncing off the walls behind you.  The dialogue is crisp and clear and never bogged down in the action scenes.

Iron Man is a wonderful film that I never really got until recently.  Having never read Iron Man in comics form when I was younger, I only had a passing familiarity with the character.  While I didn’t see the glory of this film in it’s initial theatrical release, re-watching it in preparation of The Avengers, I now see that it is a taut, well filmed super hero film.  The acting is above the board, and Robert Downey Jr. is perfectly cast as Tony Stark and Iron Man.  Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts is also well cast and a surprising addition to the Marvel franchise.

Movie *** out of ****

Blu-Ray **1/2 out of ****

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