Iron Man

Iron ManVictoria and I went to see the new Iron Man movie today. I really liked it. But I figured as soon as I heard that Robert Downey Jr. was playing the lead that I’d like the movie. Who else could really nail Tony Stark? Yes, folks. I’m an old comic book geek. I read a lot of them when I was a kid, and Iron Man was one of my favorites.
I have an ongoing complaint about movies based on comic books. Mostly that most of them suck (obvious contradictions to that statement, like the X-Men movies and Spider-Man excluded). Ang Lee’s The Hulk anyone? The first three Batman movies? The “super-hero” movies that suck usually do so because someone is trying to put a comic book on the screen instead of simply making a movie about extraordinary characters. Those movies suck because the film-makers don’t respect the material, the characters, or the people who read the comic books in the first place.
X-Men worked so well because the director respected the material and simply made a movie about amazing people. He didn’t try to make a campy movie because it was based on a comic book. He didn’t try the old Hollywood wink-wink-nudge-nudge to show that he was more intelligent than the people who read the comic book the story was based upon. Ang Lee’s The Hulk failed because he didn’t put The Hulk character himself on-screen, but instead tried to make a visual representation of a comic book. You could say that most super-hero fail for the very same reason. The ones that work do so because the directors tried to make a semi-serious movie and respected the characters and the people who made those characters popular in the first place.
Obviously, this is a pet peeve of mine. Don’t ask me to shell out good money to see your movie if you’re making fun of me and disrespect me because I read the comic book your movie is based upon.
Iron Man doesn’t have this problem. Robert Downey Jr. is perfect as Tony Stark. The effects are cool. There’s plenty of humor in the movie without it ever becoming campy. Well, at least not like the earlier Batman movies, which you expected to become a Broadway number at any moment. Iron Man works because they put a compelling character on-screen, played by one of Hollywood’s most talented actors, and not once did they giggle about this being based on a comic book.
I highly recommend Iron Man. You don’t have to be a fan of the comic book, or even be aware of it, to enjoy this movie. It stands on its own. All the best super-hero movies do.

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