Iron Man (2008)

It seems odd that an Iron Man film took so long to arrive, but I read now that this particular one was actually meant to go into production as early as 1990… the usual development hell bullshit, apparently, which finally led Marvel to buy back the film rights and make the damn thing themselves. I remember it getting remarkably good press for a film of this sort, hence this belated catchup loan from Brendan to see what I thought… And it’s pretty good, too, though most of what’s good about it is Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark, the man in the gold/titanium mask. Interesting how the film tries to soften the right-wing aspects of the whole Iron Man concept (the industrialist as hero, right in the middle of the military-industrial complex), although somehow I didn’t buy the life-changing discovery that Afghan terrorists were using Stark Technologies weapons, as if US-made weaponry had never been sold to the US’ enemies in the Middle East before… anyway, this previously obnoxious hedonist finds himself transformed by the realisation that, you know, his technology is killing people and he renounces it, while secretly designing the Iron Man suit to bring down the bad guys taking his weaponry in vain… hang on, doesn’t that technically make him a vigilante, albeit a rather specifically motivated one? (Indeed, doesn’t it almost make him Marvel’s version of Batman? I know director Jon Favreau called Batman Begins an influence, but “influence” seems an understatement.) Maybe the film doesn’t really tone down the right-wing thing after all… The film, though, has fewer big action scenes than I’d thought it would (just as well, cos the CGI action kind of irritated me) and, perhaps unusually, seems more interested in Tony Stark himself rather than this thing he creates. Downey’s terrific in the role and helps make the film a bit less of the anonymous modern Hollywood blockbuster it might have been with a less charismatic lead.

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