Sunday, May 4, 2008
Iron Man is perfectly positioned to be the first major hit film of the 2008 summer season,and for good reason: it's a fine and entertaining bit of swift, efficient entertainment. Film makers at times have the tendency to make their comic book adaptations a shade too serious but inserting subtexts and philosophical overlays that dampen one's desire to suspend their disbelief.
The wounded inner child issues of Ang Lee's The Hulk made that film into a very noisy tantrum, and Bryan Singer's attempt to link the Superman mythos with the arrival and eventual ascension of Christ made his Superman Returns the slowest moving boat in the channel. IM director Jon Favreau and screen writers Mark Fergus Hawk Otsby make the prudent decision to play this storyline like it were a regular Marvel comic book tale, a refreshingly two dimensional narrative that allows the writers to invest some appealing character traits and good lines of dialogue. Casting is splendid as well, with Robert Downey being a perfect as billionaire arms manufacturing Tony Stark who is kidnapped by terrorists and has a life-changing experience that compels him to build his Iron Man suit and hence undo the harm he has done with his WMDs. An especially fine touch comes with Stark's irritated banter with the workshop robots who assist him in the suit's manufacturing, and in the appropriately destructive trial and error shake down cruises the new weapon requires.Downey applies all his native charm to make Stark seem a playboy with a shrewd sense of irony who's paradigm shift to become a Good Guy doesn't dry up a ready wit. This super hero can run his mouth as well as his engine. It is a nice distinction from other such efforts that this a super hero who might require a AAA card in the event of a stalled suit of armor.