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Iron Man Begins
Back in 2008, ‘Iron Man’ was released at the cinemas. It’s ironic that few people knew this would begin a series of action-packed superhero movies that would be called the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’. I certainly didn’t expect it, though I should have known since Iron Man would be one of the Avengers.
I saw ‘Iron Man’ when it was released at the cinemas for my birthday in May 2008. I later purchased the ultimate 2-disc DVD set of ‘Iron Man’ for Christmas 2008. I now have ‘Iron Man’ as part of the ‘Marvel Studios Cinematic Universe – Phase One’ DVD box set, which I purchased after Christmas 2017.
‘Iron Man’ stars Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man. The film was directed by Jon Favreau, who appeared in the 2003 ‘Daredevil’ movie and directed ‘Elf’ and ‘Zathura’. The film also stars Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow. It is amazing this movie would spawn a legacy!
Around that time, I was into the Marvel superheroes from seeing movies series like ‘Spider-Man’, the ‘Fantastic Four’ and the ‘X-Men’. I was aware of Iron Man and the Avengers superheroes, but I hadn’t read many original comics to get an idea of what these particular superheroes would be like.
But it didn’t matter since I was into superheroes anyway and I knew I would enjoy this flick. The story of ‘Iron Man’ is based on the original comic book character created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby. Iron Man made his first comic book appearance in ‘Tales of Suspense #39’ in March 1963.
In this film, the story focuses on the character of Tony Stark, a successful billionaire at his company of Stark Industries, creating weapons of mass destruction. Tony is a pretty confident and full of himself person. He gambles; takes risks and is a womaniser. He doesn’t think of the work he’s doing.
But when Tony gets critically wounded; captured and imprisoned by a terrorist group in war-torn Afghanistan, he is made to build a Jericho missile in exchange for his freedom. Instead of building the missile for the terrorist group, Tony builds himself an armoured suit to get himself out of the cave.
After escaping war-torn Afghanistan, Tony becomes a changed man and decides for his company not to build any more weapons of destruction. Instead, Tony builds a new armoured suit in his worship. Thus he goes to protect the people of the world from harm and destruction and becomes Iron Man.
Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man! What more can be said? I’m impressed by Robert Downey Jr.’s commitment to the role of Tony Stark/Iron Man in the movie and he clearly loves playing the part. He delivers the balance of humour and drama into the role and makes the character pretty complex.
I’ve seen Robert Downey Jr. before in the 2006 film remake of ‘The Shaggy Dog’ with Tim Allen. Up until then, I had no idea who Robert Downey Jr. was as an actor. Now everybody knows him as Iron Man and rightfully so. It’s a movie role he was born to play and it is one I guess will never leave him.
Terrence Howard stars as Lt. Colonel James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes, Tony Stark’s best friend and a liaison between Stark Industries and the United States Air Force in the movie. I enjoyed Terrence Howard’s performance as ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes, as he plays someone who looks out for Tony in whatever he does.
Sometimes ‘Rhodey’ gets frustrated by Tony’s irresponsible behaviour early on in the movie. But he shows concern for his best friend when he seems changed from his imprisonment in war-torn Afghanistan. He gets a big surprise when he discovers that Tony is flying about as Iron Man in the sky.
Jeff Bridges stars as Obadiah Stane, Tony’s second-in-command at Stark Industries. At first, you wouldn’t think much of this character who was Tony’s mentor and friend in the business. But as the movie progresses, it turns out he’s the villain of the piece which I didn’t see coming when I saw this.
More gets revealed in the movie when Obadiah Stane attempts to overtake Stark Industries and turn against Tony Stark. It turns out he’s selling weapons to the Ten Rings terrorist group in Afghanistan. He soon builds a giant exo-suit to fight Tony Stark as Iron Man at the end which was pretty exciting.
Gwyneth Paltrow stars as Pepper Potts, Tony’s personal assistant and potential love interest in the movie. I like how the relationship between Pepper and Tony is portrayed in the movie. At first, it seems a professional relationship between the two. But as the film progresses, they become closer.
It’s also not an instant “I love you!” situation as you would expect to see in many love stories within superhero movies. Pepper is rather sexy in her own way, but she doesn’t take to Tony’s charms as many other women would. But she’s clearly in love with him and looks out for Tony during the film.
The film also features Shaun Toub as Yisen, a fellow captive who helps Tony Stark escape from the Ten Rings terrorist group in war-torn Afghanistan. I’ve seen Shaun Toub before in ‘The Nativity Story’ 2006 film. I found Yisen interesting, especially in his motives to help Tony build the original Iron Man suit.
There’s Faran Tahir as Raza, the vicious leader of the Ten Rings; Leslie Bibb as Christine Everhart, a sexy reporter for ‘Vanity Fair’ and Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. The film’s director Jon Favreau also stars as Happy Hogan, Tony Stark’s bodyguard and chauffeur in ‘Iron Man’. Paul Bettany voices J.A.R.V.I.S., the personal AI system/butler for Tony Stark/Iron Man in the movie.
I’m very impressed with the action sequences and the direction given by Jon Favreau in this movie. The sequences where Tony’s doing tests for his sleeker Iron Man suit in the second half of the movie are very good. They also give me an energised feeling, especially as Iron Man’s flying through the sky.
I especially enjoyed it when Tony Stark’s wearing that first Iron Man suit that looks identical to the grey one in the original comics. It looks cool, even though it’s cumbersome and not as sleek as the gold and red one we know and love. And yes, I found the gold and red Iron Man suit as cool as the grey one.
One of my favourite sequences in the ‘Iron Man’ movie is when Tony Stark decides to go out there as Iron Man to fight off some terrorists and save some innocent civilians in war-torn Afghanistan. It demonstrates Tony isn’t a selfish loser as he seems to be. He clearly has a very compassionate heart.
Speaking of his heart, it’s interesting to note that Tony Stark/Iron Man is given an electromagnet to his chest following his injuries in Afghanistan. This becomes a small, powerful electric generator called an arc reactor to keep him alive. It serves to power his Iron Man suit, but it is also a weakness.
The DVD special features on the ultimate 2-disc ‘Iron Man’ DVD are as follows. On Disc 1, there is a set of eleven deleted/extended scenes to enjoy. There is also a preview for the Nicktoons animated series, ‘Iron Man: Armored Adventures’. There’s also an Easter Egg to look out for on this DVD disc.
On Disc 2, there’s the ‘I Am Iron Man’ feature-length documentary that can also be viewed as 7 featurettes. There’s also ‘The Invincible Iron Man’ which can also be viewed as a documentary or a section of featurettes. There’s also ‘Wired: The Visual Effects of Iron Man’ behind-the-scenes featurette, the six-minute ‘Robert Downey Jr. Screen Test’ and ‘The Actor’s Process’ featurette.
There’s a short video from ‘The Onion’ website focusing on the film trailer for ‘Iron Man’. There are also a number of galleries, including concept art; tech; unit photography and posters for the movie. There are plenty more special features to enjoy on the Blu-ray release of ‘Iron Man’.
‘Iron Man’ is a great superhero movie that I enjoyed watching at the cinema back in May 2008. Robert Downey Jr. steals the show as Iron Man and the story kept me gripped from start to finish. I had no idea this movie would spawn more superhero movies in a ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ series.
There’s a post-credits sequence at the end of the movie where Tony Stark meets Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury tells Tony that he’s not ‘the only superhero in the world’ and offers him a proposition about joining ‘the Avenger Initiative’. What could this mean?! 😀
‘Iron Man’ rating – 9/10
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