JamesMan Reviews: Iron Man

JamesMan Reviews: Iron Man

To gear up for the next installment in the MCU, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, JamesMan went back to relive the other MCU films. Today's review is of the one that started it all, Iron Man.

Iron Man (2008)

I’m going to start off with this, this film kicks so much ass and so far is one of my favorite Marvel Studios productions. It’s funny typing that out for me because for the first two years of its release I was very uncaring about the film. By the end of 2008 I was in Batman fever land, Christmas was the biggest bukkake of Batman related material in my life. I got the DVD of The Dark Knight and Batman Begins, the entire Batman: The Animated Series set (and the films), the entire The Batman (2005-08) series (also got the film), Batman: Gotham Knight, as well as the entire series of Teen Titans. The last thing I cared about was Iron Man, I saw it in theaters that May and completely forgot about its existence. And like many, once time passes and I don’t remember much about a movie, I tell everyone I hate it! I think I did so just to not admit to my friend, whose favorite Marvel hero was Iron Man, that the film was good. Then I picked up the DVD in 2010 and sat down to watch it and… I loved it. It was so different to what I was used to in CBM’s while still holding onto keeping the film somewhat down-to-earth.

The story is a great reinvention of Tony’s origin, making it more modernized for our still heavily focused terrorist society. I didn’t think they could do much with a “metal man” but they did, making him a likeable person yet at some points still a douche bag, and even trashing the idea of secret identities (something we know comes to bite him in the ass in the future instalments). What can I say about Robert Downey Jr.’s performance that hasn’t already been said? He’s fantastic in the role, giving Tony the much needed wit and charm needed in this film. Much of the scripts dialogue is adlibbed and it gives a lot of scenes with Tony much more of a realistic feel without any really cheesy dialogue.

Terence Howard is a great straight-man to RDJ, and his performance as Rhodey is likeable, complimented even more so with Tony around (much better than the certain person they replaced him with…). Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts is again excellent, much of her dialogue is perfect writing and adlibbing, and again like Howard’s, is greatly complimented by scenes with RDJ.

Now we come to The Dude himself, Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane. Again great performance (this movie is just stuffed with great casting) but I feel he was slightly undermined by the development given to the character of Obadiah. Don’t get me wrong, he has some great moments but he never really does much to indicate he was ever a father figure to Tony Stark. There is never a moment where they can show the type of bond they had, I mean, this was the man who was there for Tony and took care of his company when his father died. There should be some moment showing this connectivity and that would of added even greater drama to when we find out that Obadiah is a traitorous villain, but instead we just have scenes were he passingly talks to Tony and smirks devilishly in scenes. Anyone with an IQ of 40 could tell he was going to be the villain (he’s bald… EVIL!). But without the needed emotional weight we end up not caring about the villain, a factor which seems to plague Marvel Studios writing teams. Just imagine setting up that relationship and at the end fight when he’s blasted with the power of the reactor he lies on the roof dying and apologizes or says something meaningful to Tony… AAAAHHH! But enough about my fever dream.

Sorry Dude.

I will say this though, that Iron Monger suit? Pure awesomeness.

The action is fantastic, with a particular highlight being the first time he wears the iconic red and yellow suit and takes on the terrorist organization attacking the people in a small village. The final fight as well is great, if just a tad bit short.

Now before my rating I want to mention one other flaw I have with the film. The structure of any story follows a 3-act structure and sometimes directors choose to play with these structures. These can either lead to something good, bad, or devastatingly disastrous for a film. Here it lands somewhere in between good and bad. I say this because while it has a clear first act and a clear third act, the second act just seems to be there to pass time with random and for the most part unconnected events. I know it sounds like a total nitpick but as a snooty film student I can’t help but let it bother me, but only a little.

Iron Man transcends what many CBM’s fall into. It isn't popcorn entertainment, it isn't just a good movie, but it comes to the pantheon that few in my opinion reach of being a good FILM. A piece of cinema that has artistic merit and whenever I can say that about my favorite genre of movies… I can’t help but smile. While not absolutely perfect, it was definitely a strong first outing for the fledgling company and so far is one of Marvel Studios strongest outputting’s.

Tony, I think you did more than okay. You did good son. You did good.

Iron Man gets a 4.5/5
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Filed Under "Iron Man" 3/16/2014
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GuardianDevil - 3/16/2014, 9:57 PM
Excellent review...Iron Man is the best MCU film yet and one of the best comic book films of all time! Sadly can't say the same for any of its sequels...
Poolio - 3/16/2014, 10:04 PM
Still the best MS film, nothing has topped it in my opinion, though the final battle is a bit underwhelming.
JoeMomma29 - 3/16/2014, 10:09 PM
Thumbs up you whore!!!!!!
MercwithMouth - 3/16/2014, 10:20 PM
Great review. A thumb up the...for you.
VISIONaryNPa - 3/16/2014, 11:22 PM
Excellent review. I approve. I still think it's the best MCU film to date, and I think Captain America 2 will be right behind it once it's released, and behind that is The Avengers.

Here's my list from best, to least liked...

1. Iron Man
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
3. The Avengers
4. Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor (tied)
6. The Incredible Hulk
7. Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World (tied)
Platinum - 3/16/2014, 11:51 PM
Great review. It's amazing how well this film holds up.
Enphlieuwince - 3/17/2014, 12:32 AM
Nice work, JM!
MightyZeus - 3/17/2014, 12:35 AM
Great review. Iron Man is still one of my favorite film next to The Avengers.
JamesMan - 3/17/2014, 2:03 AM
Holy crap, I made it to main! Thanks everyone for the thumbs up and please keep on commenting!

Jwe75 - 3/17/2014, 2:21 AM
Well Done! ;)
Brainiac13 - 3/17/2014, 2:27 AM
Great review.

One of my favorite CB movies. Great start to the MCU. Looking forward to Cap2 this weekend.

Lockjaw - 3/17/2014, 3:12 AM
1 Avengers
2 Iron Man
3 First Avenger
4 Dark World
5 Thor
6 Iron Man 3
7 Incredible Hulk
8 Iron Man 2
Lockjaw - 3/17/2014, 3:14 AM
Hopefully Winter Soldier & GotG power into the top 3 MCU movies before AoU blows us away!
superbatmanlantern - 3/17/2014, 3:17 AM
Iron Man 3, best comedy movie!!!
MarVell - 3/17/2014, 3:21 AM

loki668 - 3/17/2014, 3:36 AM
superbatmanlantern, worst attempt to troll!!


Congrats!! Nice article. I think, ten years from now, we'll be able to go through ALL of the cbms and see how they stand the test of time.
nikgrid - 3/17/2014, 3:39 AM
Yes! the BEST MCU movie! It pisses all over the Avengers, it just does.
GeekyCheekyChic - 3/17/2014, 4:04 AM
If only that final battle was a bit longer....despite that though I probably would have went ahead with a solid five stars. Its replay value is off the charts...its always a great time. Hopefully it stays that way because recently I went back to watch the tim burton Batman films along with the kevin smith podcast and woof those were tough to sit thru again. Iron Man is still the 1A of best MCU films thus far.
plan99fromouterspace - 3/17/2014, 4:54 AM
This is the movie that made the entire MCU possible. For me, the moment where the film really transcended the genre and into good film territory was conversation between Obidiah Stane and the scientist.
Stane: Tony Stark built this in a CAVE! With a box of SCRAPS!
Scientist: Well I am not Tony Stark.
It was a couple of lines that highlighted the absurdity of a human being concocting a game-breaking technology with the rawest of materials, and in so doing marked how much of a genius Tony Stark is considered in the MCU. Also it was funny! It kept my non comic book reading friends firmly in this comic book movie. This is Tony Stark. He is really really frickin smart. How smart? He built a tiny cold fusion reactor in a cave with a box of scraps thats how smart he is.
Pasto - 3/17/2014, 5:18 AM
So I'm not the only person who has seen 'Plan 9 From Outer Space' huh?
Prime - 3/17/2014, 5:20 AM
Too bad it all went downhill after this.
batz11 - 3/17/2014, 5:23 AM
Just a few years late, A-hole!

...just kidding, wanted to be the first to make that stupid comment...nicely done JM!

Iron Man, loved it!-that simple...special thanks to all involved, without it's success, no amazing MCU!
McNyagano - 3/17/2014, 5:28 AM
Nice work but IM3 is the best IM film to date and the 2nd best MCU film. Cap 2 takes the spot as the best MCU film to date;)
Pasto - 3/17/2014, 5:30 AM
Oh, you smuggy-smug.
batz11 - 3/17/2014, 5:39 AM
@McN, you will be crucified for an IM3 statement like that...I actually like IM3 too, so we'll back each other ;)
IronRuhail - 3/17/2014, 5:44 AM
Mine is:
Phase 1:
The Avengers
Cap+TIH (tied)
Iron man
Iron man 2

Phase 2:
Iron man 3

Hopefully Cap and gotg can be as good/good enough to eclipse the list
plan99fromouterspace - 3/17/2014, 5:47 AM
@Pasto The only parts of Plan 9 From Outerspace I've seen were the ones that were in the film Ed Wood sorry!
MrSotoMan - 3/17/2014, 6:26 AM
I remember reading up on this movie a bunch of times. Even when Nick Cage was rumored at one point and the story was Iron Man vs. Howard Stark sort of like Ang Lee's Hulk, it also had Nick Cassavette in the running to direct before New Line gave up the rights.

I'm glad we got a good version of Iron Man to start, who knows what the hell the other ones could of been like, but this was a movie that had to succeed, even I knew that 2 months before the movie was release there was promise of opening up an MCU and it all depended on Iron Man. Now, we've made it all the way to Iron Man 3, an Avengers movie and now Captain America 2 is due out Thursday for me and Avengers is next year, all in a matter 6 years.......wow.
GodzillaKart - 3/17/2014, 6:29 AM
@JamesMann: Great review! IM is still my favorite CBM. Hoping it might be knocked to second place with CA:TWS.

One great achievement of the original IM is that they took a relatively unknown character and created a film that the comic fans loved and the general audience ate up.
Jwe75 - 3/17/2014, 6:40 AM
Current list:

1) Iron man
2) Avengers
3) Iron man 3
4) Captain America FA
4) Thor TDW
5) Incredible Hulk
6) Thor
7) Iron man 2
marvel72 - 3/17/2014, 6:43 AM
great review its definitely the best solo outing in the marvel cinematic universe,may be toppled by the awesome looking captain america the winter soldier(only 9 days to go).

favorite marvel cinematic universe movies

8th iron man 3 3/5
7th iron man 2 3/5
6th thor 3/5
5th captain america the first avenger 3/5
4th the incredible hulk 3/5
3rd thor the dark world 4/5
2nd iron man 4/5
1st the avengers 4/5

interested in seeing where captain america the winter soldier & guardians of the galaxy end up,i hope somewhere in the top five.
ThePowerCosmic - 3/17/2014, 6:53 AM
The Avengers & Iron Man are tied as my all time favorite comic book films!
marvel72 - 3/17/2014, 7:14 AM
this is definitely a contender for best comic book movie ever,checkout the ship fight uncut.

its only missing the batroc fight.

CaptainAmerica31 - 3/17/2014, 7:24 AM
Best MCU film. One of the best CBMs. Only MCU film that's not drenched in cheesy humor and one liners
fettastic - 3/17/2014, 7:46 AM
"Christmas was the biggest bukkake of Batman related material in my life."

"And like many, once time passes and I don’t remember much about a movie, I tell everyone I hate it! I think I did so just to not admit to my friend, whose favorite Marvel hero was Iron Man, that the film was good."

So much [frick]ing fail in these two phrases that I won't bother reading the rest of your ridiculous article.
DaVinci31 - 3/17/2014, 8:05 AM
DaVinci31 - 3/17/2014, 8:16 AM
As with The Avengers, I loved this film so much because it showed us Tony Stark, and not RDJ.

DaVinci31 - 3/17/2014, 8:20 AM
"Nice work but IM3 is the best IM film to date and the 2nd best MCU film."

DaVinci31 - 3/17/2014, 8:22 AM
I honestly cannot think of one redeeming quality in IM3.
GodzillaKart - 3/17/2014, 8:43 AM
@DaVinci31: Let me help you out: Great performances, outstanding action, brilliant social commentary.
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