As always, when a movie based on a Marvel or DC comic hits theatres, my husband made sure we had reserved tickets and were in our seats an hour before the show started. Now, I’ll confess – this movie is the first time I’ve really learned about Ironman, though I’ve become familiar with the Marvel Universe just through living with Jay. That said, I was looking forward to the movie – Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and a chance to learn about the guy who led the fight against Captain America in Civil War. I’m happy to say that the movie lived up to my expectations. The comedy was sharp – even the lines we’ve seen in previews for the last several months. The relationship Stark had with himself, his assistant, and his protégé evolved sufficiently throughout the film to be interesting and meaningful. The plot, while somewhat predictable, was strong enough to sustain an action flick.
Now on to the details… I found the special effects to be good (understand that Transformers sets the bar for me). I especially liked the evolution of the Ironman suit.
We were able to see the progression from a rough idea in a cave, through prototypes, to a sophisticated suit using existing technology from Stark Industries and the spark of Tony’s genius.
I will say that Stark is surprisingly resilient, slamming into the desert, cement walls, through floors, and more with little more than an ice bag for his head.
Stark’s relationship with his assistant is sharp and witty. She is the quintessential lady-in-waiting, but Downey and Paltrow make the male-female tension funny to balance any sappy urges one might have to create a romance.
The evolution of Stark’s self-identity is more serious. The audience is able to witness his confrontation with mortality and vulnerability through the bonds he forms with an Afghan doctor. We see the lasting effect of his captivity through a man driven to change the world – a world he formerly used as a playground. Through this transformation, one thing remains consistent – his dedication to America and his opposition to those that threaten its safety.
** SPOILER ALERT **
I was slightly disappointed by a turn in the plot mid-movie. I first interpreted the attack in Afghanistan as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I could even enjoy the illusion that someone leaked Stark’s presence in the war zone and he became the target of an attack. When Obadiah engineered a subversion of Stark’s vision for the company, I recognized him as the villain but did not connect him to the Afghan leader behind Stark’s capture. When the connection was made (the black Suburbans made it obvious), I was disappointed that such a well-used plot line was employed. I liked the idea of two separate enemies, not one conspiracy. Of course, that conspiracy was necessary to set up the final showdown. After the credits rolled,
I interrogated Jay on the comic stories. Since a similar story is contained in the Ironman history, I better understood its use.
The audience appeared to enjoy the movie as much as I did. Laughter and cheers were commonplace in the theatre as fans recognized references to other Marvel characters or appreciated a comic jab. Die-hard fans were easily recognizable – we were the audience members nailed to our seats throughout the credits as we waited for that final scene with…
I definitely recommend this movie to fans and newcomers alike. Fans will get the subtle and not-so-subtle references. Newcomers will enjoy a funny action film and make just pick up a comic.