I had absolutely no expectations for Iron Man before it came out. I had seen the preview once or twice; since we don’t get TV, we don’t really get the media saturation that goes on for some movies. What I did know is that any superhero movie can make a spectacular trailer. Ooooo, big effects! Oooo, the superhero using his superpowers! Ooooo, cinematography! Oooooo, look at the actors! The trailer is usually spectacular, the movie, not so much. Therefore my expectations were pretty much nonexistent. I have a lot of bad superhero movies buried deep in my Netflix queue, and if I get to them in a year or two, they’ll be lucky. I was going to see what Rotten Tomatoes had to say about it, and if it was good, then I’d see it. On Wednesday, Rotten Tomatoes had it rated at 90%. On Thursday, it slipped a bit to 86%. Friday was a busy day, so I only had a few moments to see, but it went up to 95%. So I didn’t really get excited for it until Wednesday, but when I did get excited for it, I got really excited. So we saw it on Saturday morning, when the prices are cheap, and damn!
First off, this isn’t Batman Begins. Its initial reaction is definitely positive, but not as much for the fancy action or climactic battle. What really sticks with me is that it’s actually a good character piece, particularly strong considering it’s a flashy superhero movie. I’m not saying it’s Citizen Kane, but we see Robert Downey Jr (who’s a really good actor, despite his checkered personal life) developing from a playboy, care-free, self-centered genius, to someone who recognizes value in people after an attack, capture, and subsequent escape from Afghan terrorists. There are believable human moments, and moments of real, but not forced or excessive, comedy (which is something that isn’t in enough superhero movies). The action is nice and fancy, but nothing special. I like the power armor concept, and am kind of surprised that I never got into Iron Man when I wore a younger man’s clothes, so I was able to overlook the fact that some of the action really isn’t all that exciting (please note that I did say “some”). The climactic battle at the end is actually a little awkward, but I was able to give in to the moment and accept it. But what made the movie for me, what makes me want to see it again, what makes me want to own the DVD, is the fact that I really like how Tony Stark is played, and I really like who he becomes, and I really like the relationships that develop.
John’s recommendation: see it.