IRON MAN: DVD
Tony Stark (Robert Downey jr) has inherited his famous, respected father's giant weapons manufacturing empire and has used his scientific skills to develop an awesome new weapon, which he first shows off in Afghanistan. But when he's ambushed and forced to reproduce the weapon for mysterious warlords, he realizes he has been duped by his own firm's publicity, and instead of helping to keep people safe, he has helped to bring them harm. He makes a conscious decision to change all that, which brings down the wrath of his firm's long time lieutenant, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges). With his trusted friend in the hierarchy of the military, Jim Rhodes (Terrence Howard) and his ever loyal PA Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Stark embarks on a one-man crusade to use his skills and his extensive technology to fight evil as Iron Man.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Those who appreciate the unique screen presence that Robert Downey jr brings to every role will be seduced by his persona as Tony Stark - not because it's a different Downey, but because it's the same one we have learned to travel with in so many guises. Always a little battered, a little self deprecating and stubbornly self destructive one way or another, he makes Iron Man an entertaining caper - at least for me. I think his greatest talent in knowing which lines to throw away - and they're not the ones anyone else might have picked.
It's not (for the lead parts) the usual suspects: Downey is surrounded by high profile actors who we are equally surprised to find in a sci-fi action thriller: Jeff Bridges transforms himself as a bearded baldie with corporate grunt, and Gwyneth Paltrow is at her best as the smart PA Pepper Potts (dig the name) who has a secret crush on her boss. Terrence Howard is likeably discombobulated by his friend's antics, and Faran Tahir is outstanding as the nasty warlord, as is Sayed Badreya as another nasty. Shaun Toub has a small but perfectly formed role at the start of the film, and Christine Everhart is feisty as a probing journalist for Vanity Fair (nice product placement).
As for the rest of the film, we can say it is trying to be a relevant transportation of an old (and minor) Marvel comic character by thrusting him into the middle of the war in Afghanistan. But it doesn't want to get bogged down in the real politics of that conflict, so it smudges the bad guys and paints them as evil, child-killing warlords anxious to rule all of Asia.
But that's par for the genre course, and the film's major strength is in its high tech, gadget-filled and supercool sequences that involve advanced computer technology, 3D imagery (akin to hologram realisations of mechanical parts of the iron man suit) and the big-end effects of Iron Man flying like Superman, or fighting like a nuclear warhead with arms. All up, it's a strange mixture of elements that are stuffed into this two hour film and there is less of the superhero bashing the baddies than you might expect. There are lots of scenes establishing Tony's change of heart, and his development of the ultimate fighting machine.
In another era, this would still have been a B movie for the Saturday afternoon youngster crowd, but with its top cast and top budget, Iron Man has to have a blockbuster feel about it.
Available on single disc and two-dvd disc sets, special features include deleted/extended scenes, Robert Downey's sscreen test, scene rehearsals with cast and a stack of entertaining features that canvas the film, its origins and visual effects.
Published October 9, 2008
Email this article
IRON MAN: DVD (M)
CAST: Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Leslie Bibb, Bill Smitrovich, Shaun Toub
PRODUCER: Avi Arad, Kevin Feige
DIRECTOR: Jon Favreau
SCRIPT: Arthur Marcum, Matt Holloway
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Matthew Libatique
EDITOR: Dan Lebental
MUSIC: Ramin Djawadi
PRODUCTION DESIGN: J. Michael Riva
RUNNING TIME: 126 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 1, 2008
SPECIAL FEATURES: Available on single disc and two-dvd disc sets, special features include deleted/extended scenes, Robert Downey's sscreen test, scene rehearsals with cast and a stack of entertaining features that canvas the film, its origins and visual effects.
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount
DVD RELEASE: October 9, 2008