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Iron Man Review: Before and After

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This weekend, Iron Man soared into theaters and smashed the box office. Of course we went to see it. What kind of pop culture guru would I be to miss the opening weekend of such a huge comic movie? The following review of the film takes place in two parts: my impressions of the film based on the trailers and hype, and then after finally seeing the movie.

Before:

They’ve seriously been talking about making this movie for years. Wasn’t Tom Cruise cast as the lead at one point? CGI is finally at a level where such a film is possible and comic movies come out on a weekly basis so now seemed as good a time as any. This all begs the question of those that read comics: Why Iron Man. Seriously, until recently, Iron Man was a pretty boring character. Okay, he’s a millionaire and he’s got a fancy suit and some people know he’s Tony Stark and other don’t, it all depends who’s writing the book that month. Then as Civil War descended upon the Marvel Universe, they started to make the character interesting. It was around the time Bendis took over Avengers, and then it became New Avengers that Iron Man started to become a seriously player in Marvel Then we had Warren Ellis’ Extremis story arc. Finally Iron Man was getting some attention for being a little more in-depth. Then Civil War, and leading up to it, we saw a Tony Stark like we had never seen before. Suddenly, love him or hate him, everyone has an opinion on the guy.

Now that there’s a movie, I’m more interested then ever to see it. Robert Downey Jr. seems like a good pick. He’s got that arrogant cocky attitude that Tony Stark should have. And let’s face it, since we’re talking a character that will be 90% CGI in the film, it really doesn’t matter who you cast for Iron Man, it’s all about who you cast for Stark. The movie was directed by Jon Favreau, the guy from Swingers that isn’t Vince Vaughan. Should he be directing movie? I don’t know.

There are generally two tiers of Marvel movies; you have you heavy hitters like Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Hulk. And then there are the second tier films like the Punisher, Daredevil, and the Fantastic four movies. To me, Iron Man seems to be more of the later.

The reviews coming in have been pretty surprising. A New York Times reviewer referred to the Iron Man as, "an unusually good superhero picture." At the risk of getting let down, I am really starting to look forward to the movie.

After:

So we caught a matinee this morning. The first surprise was how many show times there were. We could pretty much show up whenever we wanted and there would be a showing about to start, the earliest for the day starting at 4 AM. Apparently the theaters have high hopes for the film.

And my thoughts: it was actually pretty good. The CGI was good, there wasn’t too much humor, and Robert Downey JR. was impressive. Let’s face it, the plots for super hero films aren’t overly complicated, and Iron Man is no exception. However the film makers managed to avoid some of the traps of their predecessors. Sure there’s the damsel in distress, and the hero who’s had a life changing event, and the true villain who’s hidden behind the lesser than villain. But Iron Man succeeds in all of these themes in a light and fun way.

It looks like I’m not the only one that felt this way, either. ICv2 reports this morning that the film earned and impressive $100.7 million in the box office this weekend.

Iron Man is the beginning of non-stop deluge that is summer movies. There are a ton of other comic movies coic out this summer, and it looks like they have some big metal shoes to fill.

 

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