By now, many of you have probably seen the latest super-hero summer blockbuster, so the time is right for opening up a discussion.
I thought it was excellent and loads of fun, although the irony did not escape me that it was about a conscienceless weapons merchant who has an epiphany about the tragic consequences of his industry, and decides to end his contribution to the bloodshed…so he goes home to build a new, super-powerful personal weapons system that allows him to beat up bad guys. Whatever you do, don’t think deeply about this movie! It’s just some good acting, excellent special effects, and a fast-paced series of events wrapped around an unbelievable fantasy premise.
Anyway, beware: I’m not saying anything that isn’t well-known here, but our amoral godless commenters might reveal a few spoilers.
Alex Besogonov says
Snape kills trinity with rosebud!
It’s all worth it for the first flight test after returning home…
“We’re gonna start off nice-and-easy. Let’s use 10% thrust capacity, chief lift. And 3. 2. 1.” WHAM!
In the credits, where it said “Made in the United States of America.” But… But… They were in Afghanistan! [feeling of foreboding]
It was a nice movie until the predictable and inevitable strong bad guy vs. underdog good guy fight, which has been seen a million times before. Is it really too much to ask for Hollywood to come up with something a bit more original for a change?
The irony that struck me was that a 3GW power supply that fits in the palm of your hand would do more to save the world than an army of iron man suits ever could. But somehow in superhero world the amazing, world-changing technologies developed to make superheroes work never get mass-produced.
Hank Fox says
I heard there was something after the credits, an extra scene, and I want to know what it is.
I saw the movie, but I was with friends, so we dashed as soon as it was over.
Hank Fox says
I’m pretty sure at least some of those Afghanistan scenes were filmed in the Owens Valley or Alabama Hills of California. I’ve driven some of the same dirt roads they were on.
I haven’t seen it yet and can’t wait – but if you really want to get your geek on, check out this great rundown of the upcoming comic book movies, with clips and trailers. A lot of fun! (It even goes back and gets the trailer from Robert Downey Jr’s “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” a great, underrated movie!) http://bigpicture.fancast.com/2008/04/fancast_summer_of_geek
Scott Simmons says
“I heard there was something after the credits, an extra scene, and I want to know what it is.”
Short cameo scene with Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, ‘inviting’ Stark to join S.H.I.E.L.D.
PZ: Agreed, this is probably one of the better comic book hero movies made, very well paced, the writing, acting, etc. Refreshing – especially after the last Spider-Man abomination.
Robert Downey is perfect for this role. He has this quality that makes you believe his character’s struggles – and you really feel for him. Maybe it has to do with knowing about Downey’s real life issues. I don’t know.
Anyway, the writing is top-notch – a lot of really great one-liners. And the interplay between Stark and his robots (especially the fire-extinguisher robot) is worth the price of admission alone.
My only major complaint was the psuedo “transformers like” ending to the movie. And how did Stane learn to operate Iron Monger so quickly???
Sorry – thinking too deeply…
Hank Fox says
Until we get some kind of sane population control strategy in place, unlimited energy would allow us to wreck the world faster than we’re already doing it.
When I saw Doc Ock unveil those mechanical arms in Spider-Man 2, it sucked me right up out of the movie. I went “WTF? He’s talking about his revolutionary power source and he’s already built THESE?? I know handicapped people who’d kill for a set.”
What I loved is how he uses logic in the fights. There’s no magical turning point where Stark wins simply because he’s the good guy.
He wins because he does the obvious, smart thing. Sure, we as the audience know he’ll do it, but it’s satisfying because of course it is what he would do.
“Might wanna look into it!” *Bonk*
Spoilery bits below
Very cool film, far more sophisticated than most standard superhero movies. I agree the plot is predictable at the end. It was actually a bit odd seeing this with the Hulk trailer in front of it, as both films seem to involve the hero fighting a more powerful, distorted version of himself. (I suppose last year’s Spiderman would also count.) I know that’s a common trope in comics, but I’m already tired of it.
No kidding. And I like how Stark was able to shrink it down while in an Afghan cave, using nothing more than surplus parts.
(Speaking of the Hulk trailer, is there just no way to make this character look believable on film? I like Ed Norton, and I really like Tim Roth, but the CGI still looks damned silly to me.)
so it would seem! aha! very punny.
You mean it’s not a remake of Chariots of Fire based on the triathlon?
Before he came back to the US he did say something about his focus being on the power supply but after seeing the Afghani village getting obliterated he jumped into his Ironman suit instead.
This is only tangentialy related to Iron Man–this trailer ran in the theater just before the IM movie began. It’s for another ‘superhero’ movie coming out this summer.
I think I’m gonna have to catch this one.
“Short cameo scene with Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, ‘inviting’ Stark to join S.H.I.E.L.D”
Actually, Fury is from SHIELD, and if I’m remember that bit correctly, he said he was there to discuss the ‘Avengers Initiative’ (Or maybe it was ‘Project.’) In the comics, Iron Man was one of the founding members of the Avengers.
(I was the only one in the entire matinee audience that stayed and saw it, thanks to a tip from a commenter here a couple of days ago).
So I imagine next summer we will see a superhero movie loaded to the gills with heroes.
So I’m a huge dork, but I am nearly certain he said the thing he built provided 3 gigajoules. So he is measuring its total supply of energy over its lifetime.
This explains the comment by the captive doctor that it could power his heart for x lifetimes, which wouldn’t make as much sense if we were talking about power instead of total energy.
It also explains how the cave made device, which was the one that was either 3 GW or 3 Gjoules, failed to power the new iron man suit. It was an impressive bit of tech, but it surely didn’t take 3 gigawatts of power.
Reed Braden says
No spoilers from me, but I loved it! Best superhero film I’ve seen in a long time!
My favoritist moment in the movie wasn’t even anything that Stark did. It was when his assistant, Pepper Potts, went by herself into the Stane’s office to hack into his computer. When he walked in on her, I was expecting the standard plot development – the bad guy takes the girl sidekick/love interest hostage, and the hero has to rescue her. Nope! She conceals what she’s doing long enough to bluff her way out of the office, and then walks straight to the SHIELD agent in the lobby. That was the moment Stane was defeated – everything that followed from then on was just damage control.
And then at the end she turns down the love interest role anyway. Not because he’s a superhero, but because he’s still a selfish, womanizing ass. Wonderful way not to do the generic expected plot. Loved it.
Steve Ulven says
I loved this movie. I, before, thought Batman Begins was the best comic book movie ever made. Now it is Iron Man. And I hope Iron Man sucks ass compared to the other two comic book movies coming out this year. We are in for a treat I’m sure.
“So I’m a huge dork, but I am nearly certain he said the thing he built provided 3 gigajoules.”
Actually, unless I’m quite mistaken, he said 3 gigajoules per second, which is 3GW. They also stated that it could run a human heart for 50 lifetimes, or “something really powerful” for 15 minutes. If we assume that it can provide 3GW for 15 minutes, that’s 2.7TJ total energy content.
While the superhero movie fad lasts, hopefully some the more interesting and obscure characters will have the chance for proper cinematic treatments.
Swamp Thing: It should be the pre-elemental/godlike incarnation of ST vs. the monstrous comic book version of Arcane. All kinds of interesting themes: the biosphere, science perverted by occultism, cross-kingdom romance. (Sure, the Wes Craven movie was fun and all but …)
Rom the Spaceknight: An underrated series with topical themes – Dire Wraiths in disguise as sleepers, loss of humanity in order to fight a war, the limits of zeal vs compassion etc. I suppose that Battlestar Galactica has covered some of that already.
I’m not actually sure they left California and Nevada for meaningful lengths of time.
Oh, great, now this post is going be held up for moderation.
I didn’t even know a movie called Iron Man was out. :P
Ironman may be the best “popcorn” movie I’ve seen to date but I’d need to see it again before putting it above the Batman relaunch. As far as the underpowered hero cliche getting used again, at least they did a good job of avoiding the “supporting roles exist to be imperiled and distract the hero” with people like Rhodes and Potts there to keep Stark on the right path and actually add something other than gratuitous love interests.
In the end I think the much bigger news than the slew of comic book heroes coming to a theater near you is that perhaps Earth’s greatest hero is getting the movie treatment soon. The question is, in this order, do you bring back Richard Dean Anderson or his mullet to star in the new MacGyver movie?
I just got back from seeing a matinee showing. This may be the excitement speaking, but I’m of the opinion that it’s the best comic book movie ever.
The movie biz must be going downhill. I can’t understand what everyone sees in this movie. It was mildly entertaining, but nothing to rave about. And not a small amount of military machismo and glorification. I’ve certainly seen much better. Although, when you compare it to Expelled….
Bob L says
The writers obviously didn’t understand how the Defense Industry works; Starks company was selling weapons to people the US government doesn’t like, big no-no with Uncle Sam. US government runs your company out of business time. It would explain why both Stark and the Obahiah actions much better than the movie did.
But that’s script writers for you, they only know Hollywood.
I saw it last night, and liked it very much. I was a bit let down by the underdog-hero climax… sigh… seen that one before about 100 times, and in many ways it was similar to the O-Prime Megatron showdown in Transformers… but it was still cool. “How did you solve the icing problem?” LOL! Also, that aerial sequence served as a nod – perhps unintentional – to Stuart Gordon’s RobotJox.
Downey was fantastic. I loved, LOVED his performance. I agree that the other twists – Pepper not needing to be saved, Pepper not turning into the girlfriend, no obligatory screen kiss (despite the close call) – were good ones. Well done.
It was nice to see that Vanity Fair reporter finally get the truth out of him… heh… but does that line up with Marvel history? Did Tony come out as Iron Man right off the bat? Or did he maintain his secret ID for a while? I sure don’t know. The guy I was with thought that Stark kept it a secret, but he wasn’t certain about that.
Suspension of disbelief was essential, but…
The effects were cool. The lab scenes were cool. Stark’s interplay with his bots was wonderful. The battle scenes were exciting. In Tony’s defense, he really built the suit so that he could get his weapons back from the people who weren’t supposed to have them. Right? Or am I misremembering the sequence of events?
Before we drag Anderson back onto the stage for Because we got funding, There’s a MacGyver Movie, we should see how well Grampa Indy does. I suspect that a star in his mid-thirties would work better than a 60-year-old as MacGyver and I’m close to Anderson in age.
What? No discussion about how the Ironman suit, no matter how strong, wouldn’t protect Stark from acceleration/deceleration? About how, in reality, he’d still end up a pulp dribbling out the suit’s cracks after most of the whacks and crashes shown in the movie? Or how the recoil from the force-thingies in the palms of his hands would shoot him backwards every time he used them? Or how icing problems on planes are completely misrepresented? Didn’t any of the biologists here take a physics class? …or at least read ‘The Physics of Superheroes’ by James Kakalios?
I’m disappointed, given how zealously this blog usually defends reality.
“The writers obviously didn’t understand how the Defense Industry works; Starks company was selling weapons to people the US government doesn’t like, big no-no with Uncle Sam.”
This is why they said that the sales were “under the table” at every conceivable opportunity.
“Did Tony come out as Iron Man right off the bat? Or did he maintain his secret ID for a while?”
In the original comics continuity, he kept a secret identity, using the “He’s my bodyguard” cover. But in the new Ultimates continuity he’s gone public. The movie seemed to be more in line with the Ultimates continuity than the classic in a few other ways as well.
I enjoyed the film, I thought that contrary to how most Hollywood movies disregard science or somehow show how science losses when faced with supernatural explanations, e.g. every single horror flick, this movie actually showed the power of science and a brilliant mind, even though it was mostly fictitious science. This is a step in the right direction.
Good action scenes, nice graphics, no nudity, or sex scenes, some violence, some deaths, typical hero love story, typical villain, somewhat predictable, better then average. Overall I give it 3 1/2 stars out of 4 when compared with other films of its genre.
Snape kills Dumbledore
C Barr says
Regarding #7 & #26 as to location
Alabama Hills it is.
Stephen Couchman says
Maybe a little spoilery to somebody not already somewhat familiar with the comics. Caveat lector.
The bit in these superhero films that always interests me is where the protagonist stops being the character we’ve slowly been getting to know and believe in for the duration of the first act, and suddenly becomes the iconic figure whose name is in the title. In Batman Begins, we watch Christian Bale as this dark, driven guy named Bruce Wayne beating hell out of people in a prison, training up as a martial arts mystery man, reclaiming his wealth and the toys that come with it, and eventually marrying his goals to his fears to create a symbol to inhabit. Still, throughout the whole montage of helmet fabrication, batarang-grinding, armor-painting, cape-tailoring, et al, it still feels like this Bruce guy is putting together a tacky costume for a troubling personal crusade. Then we get to the scene in the freight yard, POV of the drug smugglers. The lights go out one by one. They quietly freak out and ready their weapons . . . and then Batman shows up, this relentless living emblem of terror turned against the terrorizers, all of Bruce’s scheming come to life.
The same thing happens in Iron Man. A kidnapped arms dealer gambles his life on a crazy escape in a suit of armor and takes a new clarity back to the world with him. Desiring to recapture and eclipse his original moment of empowerment and near invulnerability, he creates a fantastic escapist toy that can cheat bullets and gravity. Then another moment of clarity is forced upon him and he’s faced with one chance for genuine atonement. Tony Stark has his armored flying rig bolted onto his body. Tony Stark flies out of his cushy home and streaks across the planet. Tony Stark in his shiny red-and-gold suit plummets out of the sky into the midst of an ethnic cleansing . . . and in the blink of an eye, interceding to save a father from being murdered in front of his son, he’s suddenly the Iron Man we paid ten bucks to see.
I think the power of that moment is what makes or breaks a superhero film. Daredevil opened with a cheesy expository sequence full of gee-whiz sfx and first-person narration, then served up a ballet of wireworks and ass-kickery starring a magically competent DD. Flop. Ghost Rider spends plenty of time introducing Johnny Blaze, but his transformation into the Spirit of Vengeance is a jarring, nuanceless string of stock situations that plays better recut as a heavy metal fanvid. Flop. Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker revels in his newfound power and gets lovably cocky just long enough to get his uncle killed, and justice for Ben depends on Peter mastering his body-punishing web-swinging stunt before the carjacker gains even one more block of distance. Spider-Man was born at that moment, and audiences paid to watch it over and over again.
So that’s my take. These movies are believable or not on the strength of that “becoming” scene, and this one nails it. That makes the predictability of the showdown a little more disappointing, but the climax and denouement more than compensate. And, dude, Avengers! SWEET!
Thanks for reading.
Midnight Rambler says
I too thought it was quite good, much better than I expected; I’d gone with some friends who like to see kind of whiz-bang action film without checking reviews first (they wanted to go to Jumper, fer cryin’ out loud), so I didn’t have high expectations. Nevertheless, I don’t think it was anywhere close to Batman Begins; Stark could have been fleshed out a lot better, and there were also stretches where not much really happened. Still, it was well worth going to, which is more than I can say for most films of this type.
although the irony did not escape me that it was about a conscienceless weapons merchant who has an epiphany about the tragic consequences of his industry, and decides to end his contribution to the bloodshed…so he goes home to build a new, super-powerful personal weapons system that allows him to beat up bad guys.
Actually, in the context of the movie, it wasn’t at all clear to me why he decided to improve on his original Iron Man suit. It seemed that the idea of using it as a weapon came almost as an afterthought. I realize that doesn’t make much sense but it did seem to play that way. The repulsors in his wrists were originally conceived as “flight stabilizers” for instance. It was only when he had a further realization of the situation he left in Afghanistan that he began to think of how he could use the suit to be a superhero/walking weapon. What else he ever thought it could be I can’t say.
Beth B. says
@ #34: “…Or how the recoil from the force-thingies in the palms of his hands would shoot him backwards every time he used them?”
Oh oh, I know! He was using “repulsors”, a reactionless force that functions as a one-way push. (Physics? Fuck physics.) It’s the comic writers to blame for this one, not the screenwriters.
I’m never sure if the U.S. only sells arms to people it likes, or if it only likes people it sells arms to. It’s sort-of a chicken/egg thing.
Loved it. I appropriately disconnected my brain at the door – or tried. But I kept coming back to two words – reaction mass. Rockets have to shoot something. Maybe he drank a big gulp or something before taking off.
That stuff fell under “suspension of disbelief”… heh. But no, no discussion, though I thought of it every time he slammed into something. It must have been a magic suit! :-)
I just thought it was funny when Pepper went to Tony’s office and watched the video of the Arabs in a hostage video and then she typed “translate” into a command box and suddenly it was in English. That was rich.
I think that’s something PZ missed. Stark wasn’t so much about getting rid of weapons. It was keeping his weapons out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. Stark was nearly killed with one of his own rockets. He wanted to know how the terrorists got those weapons. That’s why he stopped weapons production. If you smell gas in the chem lab is it business as usual or do you shut down until you find the leak?
At the end of the movie, he found out what happened and stopped it. In the comics, he only sells to those he trusts (like SHIELD and the US military). Ultimate libertarian Slane sold to anyone who has the money with an eye towards keeping war going to support the business.
As for the underdog hero climax, the underdog is part of story telling in this country and others. The hero always wins (with a few exceptions). The only question is how it happens. If you don’t like it, how would you rewrite it?
Best thing about “Iron Man” is that it seems to be replacing “Expelled” in a lot of theaters.
“Is it really too much to ask for Hollywood to come up with something a bit more original for a change?”
It’s a blockbuster summer movie based on a comic book, ferchrissakes.
Didn’t anyone notice the terrorists are NOT islamists? They’re name was The Ten Rings.
Who wears ten rings?
The Mandarin of course.
Note to Marvel. Please cast Jet Li as the Mandarin and have him wake up Fin Fang Foom in the sequel.
I’m guessing every Marvel movie over the next couple of years (Hulk, Captain America, Thor) will be leading up to a Ultimates style Avengers movie in 2010 or 2011.
The moment they said the 10 rings thing, I was imagining the Mandarin. Personally, I expect the marketing for the next film will involve some play on 10 versus 2 and an emphasis on the two as Rhodey becomes War Machine and fights beside Tony.
I’m guessing every Marvel movie over the next couple of years (Hulk, Captain America, Thor) will be leading up to a Ultimates style Avengers movie in 2010 or 2011.
I ran into a guy after seeing it just now who said he had looked into it, and that did seem to be the intent of future releases. What his source was, he didn’t say, but he also thought there will be a few releases like Iron Man, building to an Avengers release.
Brian W. says
I enjoyed the movie, but really thought it could have used more action scenes in it. There are only 3 action scenes with Iron Man and that includes the escape from Afganistan.
Didn’t anyone notice the terrorists are NOT islamists? They’re name was The Ten Rings.
Actually, I didn’t even think they were terrorists. That seems to be what all the reviews were saying but they seemed to me to be pretty plainly warlords. There was nothing terrorism-related about them. They wanted to acquire territory with superior weaponry not fight some sort of assymetrical holy war.
--PatF in Madison says
And speaking of “Expelled”….
This is the third week it is out and, if you check BoxOfficeMojo.com and RottenTomatoes.com, you can dig out some interesting numbers.
Here is a little Table for “Expelled”:
Week Gross Number_of_Theaters Average
3______$ 684,000____ 656________________$1,042 (Est)
It’s gross is declining by about 50% per week and the number of theaters is declining by about 30% per week.
It looks like it is headed into the tank. Gosh, I feel so sorry for these guys. Maybe if they pray a little harder, more people will go see it.
Eric TF Bat says
Wikipedia says the Avengers movie is on the way. Apparently Downey’s Tony Stark will have a cameo in the new Hulk movie, just as Jackson’s perfectly-cast Nick Fury did in this one: “Dr Banner?” “Yes — wha? You? How did you get in here?” “I flew in, Dr Banner. Listen, a few friends are getting together, and we’d like you along for the ride. Let me tell you about… the Avengers.” [Fade to black]
The real question is: can they maintain the quality for four movies — Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America — so that people don’t pass by the Avengers because it’s touched by “that godawful flop” (whichever it may turn out to be). I mean, Hollywood has never yet done a Captain America that wasn’t hideous, for instance.
Highly enjoyable! I plan on seeing it again soon.
As for Tony’s ID in the comics(Yes, I’m a comics geek), it was a secret for many, many years in the original Marvel universe, but he went public a few years ago. In fact, he’s now the director of SHIELD. But black Nick Fury is from the Ultimate U. I believe as originally drawn he was based on Samuel L.Jackson, which makes the bit after the credits extra nifty.
Paraphrase of the review in the Indianapolis Star:
…when his eyes glow, and the thing in his chest lights up, all the geeks will be fumbling for their inhalers.
Scott Simmons says
“No kidding. And I like how Stark was able to shrink it down while in an Afghan cave, using nothing more than surplus parts.”
Well, at least they had the decency to hang a good lampshade on that.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Stane. The technology just doesn’t exist to power this suit.”
“Tony Stark … built that generator in three weeks … IN A CAVE!!”
“Well … I’m not Tony Stark.”
I’ll just copy/paste what I already said over at Phil’s place (seeing as how being semi-eloquent more than once in a day is quite challenging):
Really. I mean, it’s a multi-million dollar movie, and they can’t afford someone to check their grammar?
Derik N says
Great movie. Comic book movies are much more enjoyable if you just take your thinking cap off for a while and enjoy.
Like how it barely took him any time at all to travel from LA to Afghanistan
Nerds Gone Wild! Loved it!!
I really liked the visuals, and the attention to detail. I was not impressed with Favreau’s directing. He did an OK job, but he failed to engage me emotionally. Part of the problem seemed to be the weak soundtrack, but also the pacing was off.
I heard that RD Jr as Tony Stark will cameo in the new (crappy) Hulk remake. That should be interesting.
The new Hulk movie is not a remake.
Iron Man says
in response to number 6, if it hasnt be answered yet, Iron Man comes home to find Samuel L. in his living room and invites him to join the Avengers
Elizabeth Ross says
I liked the movie. I ate all my popcorn. The pacing was good. I LOVED that it had short action sequences. I hate having to wait for the fighty fighty punch punch to be over so we can get back to the plot. Robert Downy Jr. was inspired casting. It did nothing wrong; made good choices all the way through.
All this makes it a solid movie, but not a great movie. Nothing really invovative happens in the storytelling. This is mostly due to the source material, but still. There is not any real suspense or emotional drama. Even though it is an action movie, it should have both.
I’ve got to say that I thought Batman Begins was far superior. It took admittedly great back story and took a fresh look at it.
Now what I can’t wait for is Watchmen. I am ssoooooo worried they’re going to screw it up, but fingers crossed!
Re the moral of the movie, remember Arthur Godfrey’s words: “Movies are for entertainment. If you want to send a message use Western Union.”
Saw it in digital format, and it ROCKED.
I loved it. Face it, underneath the fancy sunglasses and the booze and the overcompensating with women, the guy is a geek. He graduated from MIT at 17, for heavens sake. When I saw him using a soldering iron, I started chanting “one of us, one of us!”
“Libertarian” is not a synonym for greed.
“Libertarian” is not a synonym for greed.
indeed, based on the “libertarians” that have posted around these parts, I’d conclude it is instead a synonym for ignorance.
Icthyic – you forgot “ooh, sick burn…” Nice comeback.
I have to say the sound track was refreshing compared with the usual super hero tripe. It was a nice touch to include Black Sabbath’s Iron Man in the credits.
Traffic Demon says
I loved Stan Lee getting his best cameo ever. Shame that they credited the role as himself instead.
R Duquette says
Stark wasn’t conscienceless, he was duped by Jebadia Stane, who was conscienceless. Great movie, but I’m getting tired of the requirement that every Hollywood movie about terrorists has to implicate the US in some way, whether its the arms industry or corrupt/out of control military leaders, etc. Less message, more action, please!
Peter Suderman at NRO gives a good review http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NTI5MjIzMTIyYTRiZTVhM2Q2MjM3MDkwMzcwMGFlNDU=&w=MQ==
I, before, thought Batman Begins was the best comic book movie ever made. Now it is Iron Man.
Uhh, no. Batman Begins is still, IMNSHO, the best comic book movie to have been made to date. While I’m a Marvel fan more than I am a DC Comics fan, I have to hand it to DC … they’ve made the better movies so far. I think Iron Man comes close, but the action scenes to me just were not as intense. I’m waiting for July 18th.
If I remember correctly, when Iron Man’s “Silver Centurion” armor was introduced, a coast-to-coast flight across the U.S. was achieved in 20 minutes. That wasn’t Stark’s first armor design after escaping captivity, as it was in the movie, but the movie compressed a lot of aspects of the Iron Man story line.
Pocket Nerd says
I thought it was pretty great, meself. And blessedly free of technobabble. I’m much happier when a script simply refers to “repulsors” or an “ARC reactor” and leaves them to my imagination, because lines about “recalibrating the tachyon phase matrix” turn my stomach.
#22: I agree with you on pretty much everything. It’s nice to see a female character who is sensible and capable on her own, rather than just a trophy for the male characters to fight over.
Batman Begins would have been a great movie if it had been called “Ninja in a Cape.” As a Batman movie, it was terrible. :-)
From comment #34:
In some of the issues of the Iron Man comic books, there is mention of the armor incorporating inertial dampeners — the same “made up” science that keeps Star Trek characters from being squished as they accelerate from rest to many times lightspeed in a few seconds. (In fact, not only do the comic writers mention the concept, but it’s clear they — um — appropriated it from Star Trek.)
Pocket Nerd says
One other note: I saw this with my significant other, a mechanical engineer, and she twittered and squirmed with joy for pretty much the whole two hours. Now she says she wants a workshop like Stark’s…
From Comment #77:
Yikes! I beg to differ! The ONLY DC comics movie that was any good at all was Batman Begins. Marvel characters have starred in a number of good films, including Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Iron Man, and all the X-Men movies. In fact, I don’t think there was ever a really good comic book film until the original X-Men.
Candiru – We’ll have to agree to disagree. Though I will give you that Spiderman and X-men (the first one) were very good movies. Actually, I’d place them ahead of Iron Man if I had to rank them all. However they (Marvel) bombed IMO with Daredevil and Electra, and it took them two tries to get The Punisher (my favorite comic book “hero”) correct. Then there was the farce called Ghostrider *cries*. Nicholas Cage still gives me nightmares.
I think Superman Returns was done extremely well, and lets admit it … he proved the feasibility of the entire genre in 1978.
Mark Borok says
Saw it last night.
I thought the way they reduced the complexity of the situation in Afghanistan to “good guys vs. bad guys” missed an opportunity to present a more interesting problem; that is, the “allies” you sell your weapons to today could turn on you tomorrow and use your own weapons against you. At first I thought that was what had happened.
Stark’s final victory suffered from a problem I’ve noticed a lot recently; the fact that overloading the power source would somehow destroy Stane’s suit (but not, for some reason, Stark’s) was introduced suddenly, at the last moment. That sort of thing needs to be prepared ahead of time.
Whatever the merits of the science, I liked how the people who create the technology are always one step ahead of the people who try to steal it. The Afghan warlord and Stane both try to profit from Stark’s inventions using brute force, and fail.
Come on, Candiru, what about the original Blade? That was one heck of a fun movie to watch.
I loved Iron Man! I was a bit wary of Robert Downey Jr. playing the role of Iron Man, but he was really fantastic!
The love story reminded me of the new Dr. Who series…tons of tension and no action…loved it!
Flying Fox says
Fun trivia: Stane’s armor is reminiscent of the villain Titanium Man, a Soviet response to Iron Man, but ten feet tall. In short, they turned a Communist into a corrupt corporate executive. How’s that for zeitgeist writes the story. I expected the terrorists who captured him to turn out to be working for the Mandarin when they gave their name as Ten Rings. Well, there’s always the sequel, so that could still happen, ne?
Stane’s armor is even more reminiscent of Iron Monger.
The Burger King toy line explicitly refers to it as the Iron Monger.
The ONLY DC comics movie that was any good at all was Batman Begins. Marvel characters have starred in a number of good films, including Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Iron Man, and all the X-Men movies. In fact, I don’t think there was ever a really good comic book film until the original X-Men.
You’re all wrong! The best superhero movie is the first Tim Burton Batman, followed closely by the first Superman. Next comes X-men. Fourth, fifth, and sixth are Batman Begins and the first two Blade movies in reverse order.
I’d put all three of those last ones higher, but they are all tainted by the evil, cheesy, outright stupid hand of the dreaded GOYER. I thank Jesus they all had good directors who directed the hell out of them. This is the only thing I am willing to give Jesus credit for.
From Comment #91:
I thought that Batman was childish, poorly acted, poorly written, and gravely miscast. But otherwise, I liked it! ; )
As for the 1979 Superman, it was a much better film, with good casting and a lot of good lines, but a number of plot holes. I don’t think it’s really held up well over time. Its sequels were progressively more hideous.
#39 I agree with your theses, that there needs to be a moment when the character stops being his old self and steps into the new heroic identity. I disagree on the moment it happened in Iron Man.
I think he stopped being the old Tony the moment he used the tweaked repulsers to break out the glass walls of his lab. That is the moment he agreed to stop locking out the outside work and take responsibility for what his company had done. That was when he stopped seeing the world through his insolated vantage point and decided to interact with the world. The outside world was now part of his world and he was going to go out there and fix what he saw as wrong.
Wizard, a magazine that reports on the comic book industry, reports that the top 3 contenders for the next Marvel movie are Thor, Captain America and Ant Man. While Ant Man seems a strange choice, all of these are original members of the Avengers and Pym’s history is bound very closely to that of the Avengers. So doing a movie to introduce Ant Man and the Wasp might not be a bad way to go. The Avengers movie will likely be mostly about Captain America anyway, so I would not look for a separate movie about CA before the Avengers.
Speed Racer is just around the corner!
a number of plot holes
If we’re going to discount superhero movies for plot holes and childishness, I will have to amend my list: there has never been a good superhero movie.
Remember the Incredibles? Try that, and suddenly you’re the bad guy…
Windy, LOL… sure, sure, but you left out the “killing all the Supers to get what you want” part. ;-)
Pocket Nerd says
#39 and #93: Here’s my personal favorite “becoming” scene in all of comic book fiction:
(Just in case it needs to be said: I do not necessarily support the methods or goals of a character merely because I find him narratively interesting.)
… which leads us to:
Why is it that when Tony lands on his roof after his first Ironman flight, he falls through the roof plus two floors because his suit is so heavy, yet at the end of the movie during his super-bad guy fight climax, he can stand on the glass roof of the Stark Industries building?
That’s some strong glass.
Hmm. About inertial dampeners.. I always thought of them kind of like a magnetic field. They can’t “prevent” inertial effects from propagating, but they limit there effects, kind of like being encased in springs, only the entire body is effected at once. The only question is, which is more likely to appear first, some means to push/pull everything in a specific space in one direction, applying inertial force to it as a whole, instead of just the surface, or gravity manipulation. Frankly, we are “closer” to understanding an inertial system than one based on gravity effects, and, as I said, with a big enough magnetic field, you could already simulate it. So, its not imho as “far fetched” as people seem to think it is.
You’re a moron. Batman is a ninja in a cape.
As for the rest of youse, you’re falling way behind in your production of humorless pedantry. We’ll never catch up to Phil Plait’s commenters at this rate. How those people can pump out that much humorless pedantry I’ll never understand.
And Ghostrider was totally awesome. Not ‘good’, but fantastically enjoyable nonetheless. Sometimes I regret that I’m a nerd without the relentless drive to tear down and crap on the things I enjoy. No wait, no I don’t.
I’m not looking forward to Watchmen. I tried to read it, I really did. I got about halfway through, and then I decided that whatever value there was in Watchmen, it wasn’t worth the grueling slog through page after page of boring.
Let’s see…check, check, check…check…check, check! Yup, you’re wrong about everything! Well done. “Moron”.
Yeah, I always just assume there’s force-field cushioning via repulsor doohickeys in the suit.
The reason the overload destroyed the larger suit was its size. It was too large to be “thrown clear,” as the Iron Man suit was. It’s lame, and it’s definitely comic book science, but that was my take on it.
On the other hand, the flying thing did bug me, with regards to the exhaust coming out the boots. Where’s the fuel?
And Ghostrider was totally awesome. Not ‘good’, but fantastically enjoyable nonetheless.
I have to agree, though I have never been able to exactly figure out why I liked it.
maybe it was just the really cool flaming bike?
Christopher Petroni says
“Hmm. About inertial dampeners.. ”
That’s inertail dampers. :P
Dennis N says
I keep reading reviews that say Iron Man is a B-list superhero, and this proves they can be popular movies too. That is untrue. He’s practically leader of the Avengers, current commander of S.H.I.E.L.D., fantastically rich, and he’s been around 40 years. He’s a member of the Illuminati, a collection of the most important men in Marvel. He’s a big time player in the comics. He’s not as visible and popular as Spider-Man and the Hulk, but who is? I’d say he’s much more known than Daredevil or The Punisher. Elektra got her own movie. Blade is a B-list superhero. He got three good, successful movies.
Good points, Dennis. I’d never even heard of Electra or The Punisher… not that I know very much about the Marvel Universe, to be honest, but Iron Man? High-profile.
Blade is a little different: the vampire theme alone adds a lot of value.
Oh man, what a great movie!
There was a moment where I had a slight case of realizing something really obvious, I thought to myself “Hey, this movie is making a statement about the (American) war industry!”, but I snapped out of it in a nanosecond. :)
I always hoped Downey Jr would get his act together, and I can only hope he keeps on making great performances like this in the future. I really enjoyed this, but I kinda hope there won’t be a sequel, since sequels always need some desperate twist, because there isn’t a birth story to tell.
But I’ll have to say that I didn’t get the same girlish giggle effect from the special effect as I did in the X-Men films, probably because Iron Man has never been a favorite of mine. Still, this is a must-have when it comes out on blu-ray.