Sunday, May 04, 2008

Dear Charlie:

Since everyone and their grandmother seems to have enjoyed Iron Man almost as much as I did, I won't have to be so glowing. Heh. Not that I could help it.

To be honest, Iron Man has supplanted the first Spider-Man movie in my affections. Spider-Man had the novelty of being one of the first comic book movies to really catch the public eye -- comic book fans and non-com fans alike. But Iron Man succeeds on different levels, partly because it's so damn good despite the rush of comic book flicks already out and partly...just because of Robert Downey, Jr.

Yup. I said it.

I've never been a big fan, you see. I didn't even remember that he was in Weird Science until Dave said it yesterday. In fact, I couldn't think of a single movie of his I'd seen and could only think of one that I hadn't. After I checked his filmography, I realized I had indeed seen him in a few things and that he's been praised vigorously for others, but I hadn't seen anything terribly...memorable.

Sorry, but it's true. Air America is probably the best of my memory, and I only vaguely remember how he did in it. Yeesh.

But that completely changed when I watched him as Tony Stark. He owned that role. I believed him from his first line. Or should I say "from his first snark"? Heh.

Director Jon Favreau said he wanted Downey because he thought he could really nail the "likable asshole" role. And oh, did he. Even at Stark's worst moments, he still has this...charisma...this presence that just radiates. You want to hate him, but you can't because under all the rich-boy entitlement, under all the schmarmy-fake charm, under all the elitist "I'm better than you" grease lies the unendingly loyal heart of a true patriot. Admittedly, he's only blinded himself to the reality of his work, but when it's finally brought home to him how far his father's dream (or his ideal of his father's dream) of bettering and protecting our beloved country has slipped, he reacts with instant and unswerving resolve.

And that's what Tony Stark is. Unswerving. Loyal. A jerk, but a jerk with purpose.

Now, I had a unique opportunity in watching this flick. I'm a comic book fan, so I'm pretty much going to enjoy the action, but I never read any of the Iron Man comics, so I didn't have any pre-set ideas about the story's mythology. I had both sides of the equation, there, which could have been either a blessing or a curse.

Then again, in a way, I'm probably the easiest fan to impress, so maybe my opinion doesn't mean much, but I was truly blown away by this flick. The CG was Transformers impressive, moving seamlessly between live action and computer work. The acting on all sides was spot-on -- even the director's body guard character (and I love Favreau's acting work -- I'm thinking both The Replacements and Very Bad Things here). The storyline was fabulous, combining patriotism in a decade not known for it and a biting, sarcastic, charming wit.

Even the understated and wholly believable love story was great, and that's usually the last thing a no-heart like me would mention. I'm no romantic, and I've never been particularly keen on Gwyneth Paltrow, either, but she did play Pepper Potts well with a quiet charm and a kind of cute panache that suited Stark's more obvious and polished schmarm perfectly. Good stuff, there. A good dynamic.

And the story-teller in me appreciated how well this story was told. I picked off every hint of what would happen. Little comments like, "That could power your heart for 15 lifetimes" followed by, "Or one big thing for 15 minutes". The significance of Pepper's gift of the "obsolete" arc reactor. But I still enjoyed the reveals. Their drama and intensity wasn't robbed by the foreshadowing, and they were subtle enough that most of the audience was appropriately surprised when they proved through. I like that. I like seeing craft in action.

And, while Edy and Dave both were a little disappointed at the final battle sequence -- claiming that it was anti-climactic and that they wished the two had really thrown down -- I had no such inhibitions. Iron Man had to defeat this final foe as he had the first one -- with his wits. With his genius. With only the tools at hand. And he succeeds with blinding, glaring colors. Heh.

In all, an excellent flick that hits all possible marks. I truly enjoyed it and will probably watch it again well before it's released on DVD. Heh, I simply can't wait that long.

Is there higher praise?


At 7:12 AM, Blogger McKoala said...

Hi ms g'ball - thought I'd drop by and what a fine day I chose - I love Robert Downey jr. He's not particularly handsome, but he's walking, talking charisma. He's invariably the bright light in any movie he is in, including the shockers, and he's had a few of those.

At 10:42 PM, Blogger GutterBall said...

Hey, McK! I guess I missed so much of his work because I'm more of a comedy, action, get the drift. Comic book movies are right up my alley, and I'm so glad he was finally in one. I mean, I did want to watch Chaplin when it came out, but I am always daunted at the prospect of taking on a drama. You never know what you're gonna get, and in my experience, that hasn't been a good thing, drama-wise. Heh.

May have to revise that, though. If Downey brings that kind of charisma to every part he's been in, I may have to have a RDJ movie marathon or something. Oi.

At 9:35 AM, Blogger writtenwyrdd said...

I ditto everything you said. I'll be buying that CD. Many of the superhero/comic movies are too cartoonish (in the worst meaning) for me. Spiderman the first, Iron Man, Superman the first, and the first Batman with Michael Keaton are the only ones that stick in my memory. Then there's Constantine, my favorite of them all. Not sure where to put it, book or comic based. I think it's both.

Know what I'm really hoping they make (but doubt it'll ever happen)? The Preacher. Bwahahaha! That'd be a killer movie.

At 12:13 AM, Blogger GutterBall said...

I. Love. Constantine.

I still pop that one in pretty frequently, because it just never gets old. Frickin amazing movie.

At 2:44 PM, Blogger Zojojojo said...

Well, duh, RDJ is a *fine* piece of ass. If Vegeta was in the new DB movie (which he's not, due to its shitty placement at end of Dragonball) I'd peg RDJ to play him. Wow the sexiness.

I've already watched Ironman twice. Did you stay for the snippet at the very end of the credits?

At 12:43 PM, Blogger GutterBall said...

Heh, yes ma'am, I did. *wicked grin* I knew that voice the instant I heard it, and that was just miles of fun.

I've so far talked myself out of going to see it again by reminding myself of all the other movies I'm gonna want to see this weekend. Hopefully, they'll be reeeeeal quick on the DVD for this one, because this waiting thing is killing me.

Why can't it just be like in Spaceballs? You know, instant cassettes? Out in the stores before the movie's even finished filming?



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