After last year’s storming summer blockbuster Transformers, Paramount are ready unleash another metallic behemoth onto the big screen and with a first appearance in comic books way back in the early 1960s, Iron Man boasts an even more impressive history than Optimus Prime and co. Despite a hit-and-miss start, fans soon grew to love the Iron Man series, as the creators moved away the heavy political undertone found in the first few stories, towards more conventional hero-villain plotlines, and some devilishly wonderful enemies.
Planned as a trilogy, it is no surprise that this the first in the series, takes on the mantle of an origin story and we pick up the action as weapons billionaire Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) traverses the Afghanistan desert. While he may act up his reputation as a wealthy playboy, under Stark’s arrogant veil lies remarkable mind, starting at MIT while still a pubescent teen and leaving at the top of his class.
However, after being ambushed on the return journey from an army missile exposé, Stark is forced to use every ounce of his engineering wonder as captors demand he recreates one of his deadly weapons. Instead, after first constructing a device to keep the shrapnel from his heart, Stark builds a crude bionic suit and fights his way to freedom.
Back home, Tony realises the error of his ways. Stopping production at his advanced weaponry company, he develops his idea of a metallic suit, giving him super-strength, impenetrable armour and flight, but after his company fear a collapse, they attempt to force Stark out, and in suitable fashion, the film climaxes with a thrilling, high impact showdown.
With a plethora of Marvel villains to choose from, the success or failure of Iron Man partly lay in the hands which enemy would maraud the big screen. Opting to recreate arguably Stark’s most famous nemesis Mandarin in one of the sequels, the beastly Iron Monger, alter ego of Stark Industries’ director Obadiah Stane (Bridges), made the cut. Compared with the relatively skin-tight suit of Iron Man, Iron Monger looks truly humongous and has been perfectly recreated under the vision of director Jon Favreau.
While I was more than apprehensive about Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role as Tony Stark/Iron Man, he more than pulls it off, giving a brooding performance and making light of his frequently intrepid situations with well placed comedy. While it is far from her most challenging role, Gwyneth Paltrow further adds a likeable performance as Stark’s aide, and really throughout the cast, everyone fits nicely into their characters.
While Iron Man can’t go toe-to-toe with Transformers’ expansive crunching fights, it will certainly get your heart pumping, packing each scene with energy and vigour. The crowd-pleasing entertainment further helps draw the best possible film out of a narrative that was always going to follow a generic plot.
Bar a few oversights (how Obidiah manages to perfectly control Iron Monger within seconds of getting into the suit for the first time, I’ll never know), Iron Man is effortlessly slick with stunning CGI and feeling of grandeur to the whole feature. Pleasingly Favreau’s will to stick closely to the source material has held true, only further enhancing Stark’s upgrades with more futuristic technology. Where the Spider-Man trilogy tailed off after a highly promising debut, here’s hoping Iron Man is the ignition to an accomplished series, worthy of the glorious comic books. Part 1 certainly makes the grade.
Official film synopsis: Paramount Pictures and Marvel studios’ big screen adaptation of Marvel’s legendary Super Hero Iron Man will launch into theatres on May 2, 2008. Academy Award® nominee Robert Downey Jr. stars as Tony Stark/Iron Man in the story of a billionaire industrialist and genius inventor who is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Instead, using his intelligence and ingenuity, Tony builds a high-tech suit of armour and escapes captivity. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armour and vows to protect the world as Iron Man. The film also stars Academy Award® winner Gwyneth Paltrow and Academy Award® nominee Terrence Howard and Jeff Bridges and will be directed by Jon Favreau.
Release Date: At Cinemas Everywhere May 2
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To be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is answer this simple question:
Who is the alter ego of fellow Marvel superhero The Incredible Hulk?
A. Bruce Wayne
B. Lex Luthur
C. Bruce Banner
Email your answers to email@example.com, with “Iron Man Competition” as the subject title, or simply click here. Closing date, 19 May 2008.
IRON MAN, THE MOVIE © 2008 MVL FILM FINANCE LLC.
IRON MAN, THE CHARACTER: TM & © 2008 MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.