I refuse to acknowledge Stan Lee as a sexual being.

§ May 6th, 2008 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on I refuse to acknowledge Stan Lee as a sexual being.

So the Iron Man movie had a 100 million dollar weekend, and by “weekend” they mean “starting from about last Thursday afternoon,” which is when it started showing around here…and presumably everywhere else for that matter. I managed to catch a Monday evening showing at the local theatre, which I tend to prefer for your standard-issue blockbuster movies. Smaller crowds, you see…our theatre was only about half-full, if that.

Short review: quite good, filled with snappy dialogue, easy-to-follow action, a strong sense of humor and wonder, and very clearly defined character motivations. And everything you’ve heard is true: Robert Downey Jr. kills as Tony Stark. Quite possibly the best superhero casting ever, since Christopher Reeve put on that red cape.

And now, some more SPOILER-iffic comments about the film. The SPOILERS begin right after this still of Iron Man shooting off his arm-rocket, and end when you see the still with the big blowy-upness. Did I mention SPOILERS?

  • I do like that Iron Man’s wartime origins were kept intact, even as the location of the war itself was updated to someplace more relevant to today’s audiences. I do like the subtle…well, sorta subtle…reference to Iron Man villain the Mandarin, with the name of the group that kidnapped Stark (“The Ten Rings”).
  • I have to admit, that absolutely last song I expected to hear on the soundtrack was Suicidal Tendencies’ “Institutionalized.” Many many years ago, my friends would ask me to draw skulls on the back of their white shirts so they could make their own homemade Suicidal Tendencies clothing. That has nothing to do with the movie, but I just wanted to establish my punk cred, maaaaan.
  • It seems odd that the shiny, glowy power source would sit in what looks like an unprotected well and completely exposed through the armor. I’m assuming that maybe there’s some clear cover that slides over the thing, or something, because why wouldn’t someone just aim their guns at the big glowing target? Or why wouldn’t Iron Man just reach into Iron Monger’s chest and yank out the stupid thing?
  • Speaking of which: the effect of Stark essentially having a metal-lined shaft in his chest is supremely disturbing and effective.
  • Okay, show of hands…who wants their own 3-D holographic interactive computer interface like the one Stark uses in the film? Yeah, me too.

    In fact, and I’m totally stealing this observation from a fellow weblogger though I don’t remember where I saw it, I like that the science and tech in this film is of the “half hour into the future” kind…just advanced enough to help along that suspension of disbelief that something like Iron Man could be built.

  • They mostly get around the “we can’t have Spider-Man wear his mask too much, so people can’t see our star” problem by including several shots of Stark, in the dark of his mask, his face illuminated by the many in-mask interfaces.
  • Stan Lee’s cameo bothered me somehow. I refuse to acknowledge Stan Lee as a sexual being.

    On the other hand, it is amusing to think that’s how Stan Lee actually is all the time, going to fancy parties with armloads of babes.

  • There is a lot of alcohol flowing in this film, certainly setting the groudwork for Stark’s most famous character flaw.
  • The climatic battle between Iron Man and Iron Monger was just as long as it needed to be, not stretching out to uncomfortably long sequences to keep the explosions and mayhem coming. And doesn’t Jeff Bridges make a great villain? It’s a nice quiet menace, not really chewing any scenery until he’s actually in his Iron Monger suit. At that point, he spouts out some good old fashioned comic book type dialogue, but Bridges sells even that quite well.
  • As long as I’m mentioning the supporting characters: Gwyneth Paltrow does a good job as Stark’s assistant Pepper Potts, and Terrence Howard brings a lot of humor to the long-suffering yet steadfast Jim Rhoads. There’s a cute bit where Rhoads (who eventually gets his own armor in the comics) looks wistfully at one of Tony’s old suits. I don’t mind the occasional concession to nerd-centric inside jokes…I’m not that jaded.
  • The conclusion of the film is spot-on perfect, keeping completely in character with Stark’s “what the hell…full speed ahead” way of dealing with the world. The shock of Stark’s announcement, and the immediate leap into the credits (with Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” playing in the background) makes for a fine last jolt of excitement for the audience….
  • …At least until the post-credits sequence, and I planned to sit there and wait for all the credits to scroll by so I could gets me some Samuel Jackson “Nick Fury” action. Watching the credits, I noticed one of the names of the production artists (or storyboarder, I forget) was “Stephen Platt.” Surely not THE Stephen Platt, of ’90s “Hot Artists as Decided upon by Wizard” fame? A quick Googling seems to confirm that yes, it is the same guy. Huh.

    Also caught the creator credits, stuck in there somewhere: “Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck, and Jack Kirby.”

    Earlier in the film, there was a particular ring tone associated with a call from Tony Stark that made some people in the audience giggle a little. I didn’t quite get why until I saw a credit for the Iron Man cartoon theme in the credits. I never saw the Iron Man cartoon, but I’m gonna guess that was what the ring tone was. If so…that’s a pretty good joke for the more attentive fans.

    By the way, most of the audience cleared out, except for the three people directly behind us, who were yakking it up during the entirety of the credits. Which, you know, fine, it’s just the credits, no big whoop. But, seriously, these were three of the stupidest people alive. It hurt to listen to them. Their dumb caused pain. And they weren’t even waiting for the “secret” ending…when it started, their responses were essentially “wait…there’s more?”

  • As for the actual coda itself…Samuel Jackson introducing himself as “Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D.” really, really made me want to see that Nick Fury film.

    And the tease for a potential “Avengers” flick — I’ll believe that when I see it. Though apparently it’s more likely than a Justice League of America movie at this point.

So there you go. Pretty brave move including Dakota Fanning as “Iron Girl,” but I think the fans will really take to her.

So, what did you all think of the movie? (And if you posted reviews on your own weblog, please drop ’em in the comments section so I can go back and read them…I’ve been avoiding reading reviews until I saw the film!)

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