Iron Man (2008)

Dir. Jon Favreau

I’m always complaining about many of the film adaptations of Marvel comics. I’m happy to report that this is one of the better adaptations. I think other idiots will find this mildly entertaining at least. I think Joel will like this. I think the metacritic score is somewhere in the 70s.

This is one of the best vehicles for cgi. Cgi tends to make human figures look stiff or the movements look fake. In this film, the cgi is done on essentially a robot, so any stiffness seems to fit perfectly (not that there is a lot of stiffness). Usually the effects aren’t enough to carry a film, and while that’s true in this film, it was one of the reasons I enjoyed the film. That’s partly because the story involves the development of the “Iron Man” suit.

Having said that, if Robert Downey wasn’t so good in the role–both delivering his snarky comments (as the NPR critic described it) without taking away from the action persona–the effects wouldn’t be enough. Downey is probably the best cast marvel character other than Tobey Maguire as Spider-man and Wesley Snipes as Blade. I really like Gwyneth Paltrow and if you do too, you’ll probably like her in this.

In a way the film gets by because it is the origin film. We see how Tony Stark becomes a super-hero. Where the Marvel adaptations have messed up is in the subsequent films where the story involves some challenge from a villian. I enjoyed this film so much that I want to see the next film with the next villian. Of course, if I stop to think about it, I shouldn’t expect much given Marvel’s track record.

I saw Iron Man this evening (thanks for the gift card, R&L!) and was thoroughly entertained from beginning to end. Robert Downey, Jr. has been great for the past ten years or so, and he presents a very engaging character here. I am only the slightest bit familiar with the comic book and therefore have nothing to compare the film to; however, this movie makes me want to read the comic book. I don’t know of movies are supposed to inspire that, but this one does.

Gwyneth Paltrow acts circles around just about everyone she’s ever on screen with. I’m scheduled to teach drama again this year (first time in nine years, I think) and I’m thinking of showing part of this to my students. Gwyneth is always acting and knows how to be her character when the attention’s not necessarily on her. I think I learn something new about acting every time I see her.

The other supporting actors are fine. Good soundtrack, good effects, good action, good bits of humor. I, too, give it a hearty 7 of 10.

So what did you like so much about Gwyneth Paltrow in the movie, Mitchell? I kind of thought she was wasted on the role…I mean, she did okay, but I do not see what she did that was so special. I felt like a number of people could have played that role.

I really like Gwyneth Paltrow, too. I find her acting style to be natural, almost subtle. Plus, she has a rare kind of look and presence: she’s attractive, but in a plain way; she seems like a normal person versus a Hollywood movie star. She also has a quiet quality that makes her appealing. Claire Danes also has a similar vibe.

Having said that, I’d be curious to hear what you found so good about her performance in this role. I liked her, but, like Penny, I didn’t find her performance noteworthy.

As for the comic book, I haven’t read much of it, but from what I remember, Tony Stark is not as engaging as the character created by Downey Jr. But the storyline is very similiar, and you might like that in the comic.

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