Sunday, January 3, 2010

“Iron Man” – Great lines + great special effects – forgettable plot = $100 Million in 3 days.

Let’s start with the unexpected. “Iron Man” took in over 100 million dollars in its first weekend and we haven’t even started the summer movie season yet. Not even the folks at Marvel saw this coming. They predicted half that number and it actually brought in 200 million dollars worldwide. We knew there would be a sequel, but Marvel already announced it would be released by 2010. The sequel is not unexpected, but the two-year turnaround on the sequel is. They better have already started production and have a story or it’s going to be a bad sequel. We also learned that Robert Downey Jr., playing Tony Stark/Iron Man, can play a superhero. I definitely had my doubts, even considering how great an actor he is. Granted, with respect to Chris Evans (“The Fantastic Four’s” Human Torch), Stark is probably the most egotistical hero ever, which is right up Downey’s alley. Also unexpected was Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Pots)not annoying the shit out of us, as well as being unexpectedly hot as a red head. And no, I did not make up that character name.

By now, you’re probably wondering what I actually thought of this film. Since I’m a plot guy, let’s hold off on that for a minute. The acting was good and the writers didn’t saddle the characters with any ridiculous lines. Don’t get me wrong, there were some ridiculous lines, but none of them came off as awkward, stupid or contrived. Example:

Army Soldier: “Is it cool if I take a picture with you?”

Stark: “Yes. It is cool.”

Great delivery that most actors could not pull off. Maybe Pitt or Clooney could, but that’s about it. Could you imagine Will Ferrell or Ben Stiller with that line? Me either. Even Jeff Bridges (Obadiah Stane), Stark’s boss/partner was given good dialogue. I don’t say it much, but the writer’s did a good job with this script (again, I’ll get to the plot in a moment). The special effects were also pretty cool in this movie, especially the scene where the two F-22’s are attacking Iron Man while he is flying. This is a great example of how to render effects without making them too unrealistic (I’m talking to you George Lucas).

With all of that going for this movie, we’re left with what they decided to give us for a story. Was it good? Eh. It was very average. In a nut shell, Stark is kidnapped by terrorists to build them some super advanced rockets. He escapes and has a moral change of heart regarding his weapons company (whose logo looked suspiciously similar to a certain number one U.S. defense contractor’s logo). Obadiah Stane (was Stan Lee sleeping or completely shitfaced when he came up with these names?) will sell anything to anyone and becomes Stark’s enemy. They battle in their respective super-suits and we all forget that terrorists were even involved. Like I said, very average and very predictable.

There were also some very large plot holes. For instance, the terrorists wanted Stark to build them rockets, but we find out later they were buying them from Stane. Stane even says that they should have killed him like he told them to, so why didn’t they? Later on, Stane paralyzes Stark so he can steal Stark’s little power generator from Stark’s chest. Why doesn’t he kill him? I know this is common in movies, especially James Bond flicks, but we already know he wants him dead. Plus, the little generator wasn’t keeping Stark alive, it was just keeping the shrapnel from going to his heart. We know this because his buddy in the caves told us and we know that it will take at least a week! So why is Stark crawling around like he is dying? Writers…read your own story before you submit it. It’s not that long and YOU wrote it. Things like this shouldn’t happen. Want more proof? Stark discovers that the suit freezes at high altitudes while he is testing it. While he is falling back to the ground, the suit comes back online and he is fine. During his battle with the Iron Monger (Stane), he tricks him into going really high and the Iron Monger freezes. Again, you already showed us that this is not a big problem. The only reason for using it is to end the battle, but we already know it won’t. Please listen to me. Read your shit before handing it in. People like me will be much happier and so will you.

Luckily, the production, acting, and surprisingly good dialogue made up for this very average plot, so the movie was very entertaining and worth seeing. Although, I wouldn’t call it 100 million dollar entertaining.

Rating: Ask for three dollars back (I used my equation in the beginning to come up with that).

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