You look to the horizon as the sun rises earlier this time of the year. You know the long hot lazy days of summer are around the corner and you yawn because a slew of overcharged superhero movies have invaded the cinema again.
Didn’t we do this last year? You say, in the summer of disappointments.
You remember having hopes.
Wasn’t Spiderman 3 supposed to be good? Weren’t you waiting to find out the truth about Captain Jack Sparrow? Didn’t you wait in anticipation for that silver streak to pass overhead and alight childhood memories of doom-bringing planet devourers?
The truth is last summer was disappointing. When the best performance came from a finicky rat with a taste for French food, you now look out across that summer horizon with a bit of trepidation.
And this time that silver streak is replaced with a touch of gold and scarlet and you wonder can this be the summer movie that can lift your spirits again?
Well, for all you fan boys and thrill seekers, Iron Man brings back that guilty pleasure of what movies are supposed to be like. This summer, the golden avenger, a very fast car, and a return of Dr. Jones just might resuscitate the summer movie.
Iron Man, while being a summer blockbuster, has a lot more to offer hidden underneath. Don’t judge this movie by the past. There is a subtly at work underneath that takes this movie out of the league of past blockbusters. For one, there are no A-list actors in it for a paycheck, or fresh-faced rookies trying to launch their career. Look deeper into this movie and you’ll see it is filled with actors (and a director) who are powerhouses on the screen in every role they play and who have a loyal and loving fan following. Dare name a movie that Robert Downing Jr., Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow didn’t give their all, didn’t get possessed by the characters they played.
Who still doesn’t love the Dude? A round of White Russians for everyone.
In Iron Man, there are dimensions to the characters, there is action that doesn’t rely on blue boards and CGI, and there is a story that demands your attention, that makes you want to follow along and care what happens to the characters. And for those who follow the comics, there is even more hidden underneath.
Some of you are wondering why Robert Downing, Jr.? Why not Tom Cruise or some other A-lister?
Well, if you’ve never picked up an Iron Man comic, you would never truly understand. Robert wasn’t picked for the hero you see, but for the human underneath. Tony Stark is one of the most tragic characters in mainstream comic history. He survived murder attempts, alcoholism, homelessness, the loss and betrayal of everything and everyone he knows including the technology he created.
For those who have read the comics, you watch the movie as a voyeur, you worry every time Tony picks up a drink, you ponder when is Rhodes going to get in the suit, and when you hear the names Ten Rings and SHEILD, you know that a certain Oriental warlord and a mysterious man with an eye patch lurk in the future. (For those who don’t know yet, stay until after the credits and you’ll get a hint about a certain project in the future)
Like I said, these things are subtle and left there for the fans while also not deterring from the movie being enjoyed by the mainstream. It is something new and exciting in comic movies, like a reward for faithful reading (like how all the fans knew that Ken Watanabe was not Rha’s al Ghul in Batman Begins) and Iron Man capitalizes on this factor.
Marvel made a decision to start producing all their own movies and with Iron Man, it seems like they made the right decision. Iron Man is what a superhero movie is supposed to be: character first and action second. Comics are a two-dimensional story with pictures. The action never comes with special effects. It’s just another panel. It is the story that keeps fans buying issue after issue. Hollywood seems to forget that factor.
Next up for Marvel is the Incredible Hulk, and if you think this has anything to do with the last disappointment, know that it is a new tale, with a new direction, and for those of us in the know, consider it a follow up to Iron Man, (which Robert Downing Jr. appears in as Tony Stark) and a lead-in to a sequel that will have both Iron Man and the Hulk in it, plus a few other of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
‘Nuff said. Excelsior.