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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 32.39%
Average: 9.09%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 3.41%

7 reviews, 134 user ratings

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Iron Man
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by Erik Childress

"Pretty Peppy Party, Isn’t It Pepper Potts?"
4 stars

You can tell where my loyalties take a shift when I first heard the announcement of a feature-length version of Iron Man that I was more excited at the prospect of Robert Downey Jr. in the role than I was about the character; one I knew very little about. But with Downey headlining it, I knew anything was possible. Despite a historically troubling battle with his own self-medicated demons, he has remained without question in a revolving top five of the best actors of his generation. Nearly every Downey performance is a carefully dry-witted mechanism (see recent home runs in Zodiac and A Scanner Darkly) that is typically a front for a deeper psychological entity. Who better to see the natural progression of his career lead him to topline a superhero that Stan Lee seemed to create specifically for him just a few years before his birth? Like his contemporaries Johnny Depp and Christian Bale, two actors praised for years before finding box office acceptance in big-budget tentpoles, Downey is set to explode this summer between this and his sure to be scene-stealing turn in Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder. But like every path to success, there is an origin story and Iron Man ranks as one of the most instantaneously satisfying of all of them.

Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) is a wunderkind of biomechanics, engineering and you name it ever since the age of six when he built his first engine. Inheriting the legacy of father, he has taken Stark Industries to the top of the military industrial complex, designing state-of-the-art weapons just as dad did when he helped design the Manhattan Project. While presenting his latest missile in Afghanistan, his escorts are ambushed and, nearly fatally wounded, Stark is captured and forced to build the enemy a weapon. With more than just a shoddy casing of used pinball machine parts, Stark and fellow captive Yinsen (Shaun Toub) begin working on an escape plan involving a specially-made suit of armor that will make, at least, one of them practically invincible to an army full of the very weapons his company has sold around the world.

After escaping in spectacular fashion, Stark is greeted back home by his most faithful assistant, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) who does everything from setting up appointments to “taking out the trash” he slept with the night before. Soon to be a little less happy is his business partner, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), who was not expecting Tony to announce the dissipation of their weapons division and seeing the stocks plummet. Stark sees a better way to put his intellect to use and begins to perfect the very suit that saved his life. Several flight experiments later and Stark is ready to jet halfway across the world to fight the very injustices our government seems unable to end.

Iron Man - being by and large an extended origin story to familiarize a public who knows him as strictly part of the B-list that included other hopeful franchises like Daredevil, The Punisher and Ghost Rider – is not going to wow you as an action-packed extravaganza. The three set pieces, spread liberally throughout the two hour running time, will hardly rank as the most exciting to be put on record but are nevertheless sprinkled with, for lack of a less geeky term, a huge dash of giddy awesomeness. Bad guys are punched into walls twenty feet away, the best guidance system since Robocop can take out multiples with hostages and he can sustain a direct hit with the wing of an F-16 and still manage to save the pilot. The final mano-a-mano threatens to become the kind of lifeless technological mess that made up most of Transformers’ finale or all of Robot Jox, but director Jon Favreau wisely strips it down and pulls back enough to keep us involved.

No, the wow factor comes from the brainpower within the entire production starting with the surprisingly crisp script from the committee of Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby (Children of Men) and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway (the upcoming Punisher sequel, War Zone.) Stark’s evolution from arrogant, womanizing playboy to passionate crusader sneaks in some relevant (though never shoe-pounding) anti-war sentiments and the ancient arguments of a good offense being the best defense. The evidentry use of an artificial heart as one of both Grinch-like rebirth and as a shield to prevent his real one from being pierced by his own shrapnel is also a nice metaphorical touch. While Downey is quick enough to improvise any number of zingers, the interplay between him and Paltrow has a welcome zip to it and is electrified further thanks to a pair of pros with the natural rapport of old friends.

If some special award could be given for casting decisions then those involved with Iron Man can share it with Favreau for getting the best out of them. Four Oscar nominees make up the primary cast. Terrence Howard may have the least to do, but is very likable as the Army Colonel and close friend to Stark who gets a great little line towards the end to hint at the inevitable sequel. Paltrow, while not completely fleshed out (figuratively or literally), gives Pepper Potts the sort of grace and dignity her parents obviously never dreamed about when naming her. Jeff Bridges, one of the great actors of any generation, gets to have some fun (especially in one fantastic intro shot on a Segway), but knows just how to chew on that scenery to savor his ultimate role in the Stark legacy. And, of course then, there’s Downey who while probably being able to do this role on Ny-Quil has moments of such individual clarity and regret that his humanity (about destruction and his relationship with Pepper) becomes one of the best three-dimensional effects you’re likely to see this summer. Save for Christian Bale’s turn as Bruce Wayne, Downey’s portrayal of Stark is maybe the best hero performance the cinematic comic world has seen to date.

Iron Man, while I believe overall more satisfying than the original Spider-Man, does share some of the flaws with Raimi’s juggernaut. Heavily rooted as an origin story, there’s less time to develop much else – especially a great villain – which results in a final act that’s more showdown-by-necessity than a memorable faceoff populated by faceless costumes. The villain also doesn’t have the luxury of the days and weeks of training that our hero gets and yet is able to manage it better than Ripley in Aliens. In making a list of my favorite comic book adaptations, it would start with Batman Begins and then go through Superman II, Spider-Man 2 and Richard Donner’s Superman before having a revolving fifth spot on any given day that could include Sin City, Ang Lee’s unfairly underappreciated Hulk or childhood favorite, Flash Gordon. While I suspect Iron Man 2 has the potential to find a permanent spot on that list, the kick-off to the series certainly has earned a spot in the current rotation.

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originally posted: 05/01/08 14:00:00
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User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell great fun skip 2&3 though 5 stars
5/12/15 Christian Paulson The rebirth of comic-book movies!!! 5 stars
10/02/14 Horror Lover Still the best solo superhero movie from the Avengers Universe. 4 stars
8/27/12 roscoe disappointing because relies heavily on stark and not enough of iron man 3 stars
10/19/11 Magic The most fun superhero movie at that time. RDJ's best performance in years. 4 stars
1/22/11 Jeff Wilder Easily among the best recent superhero movies. 5 stars
12/03/10 Dr.Lao Definitely one of the better live action marvel superhero movies 4 stars
9/11/10 Barbara Leaf Downey, Jr. looked vulnerable with his puppydog eye -until he donned that iron suit -WOW. 5 stars
2/24/09 man love it 5 stars
2/08/09 Monday Morning Great super hero. He should kick some Wall St. banker and politician ass in the sequel.. 4 stars
1/01/09 zenny not bad, not bad at all 4 stars
11/01/08 Annie G A little disappointing based on reviews, but still an enjoyable action flick. 3 stars
10/21/08 Nichole This is the best movie! 5 stars
10/10/08 man fantastic 5 stars
10/10/08 dude so good 5 stars
10/07/08 Luisa Robert Downey Jr is awesome! Great action flick! 5 stars
10/02/08 Charles Tatum Nothing but fun, great cast and action sequences 5 stars
8/27/08 Shaun Wallner One of the greatest movies ever made! 5 stars
8/22/08 The Talking Elbow Way better than the Dark Knight fo sho 5 stars
8/06/08 E K Zimmerman Extraordinary! Bring on the sequels! 5 stars
7/28/08 David Good, but a little overrated. 4 stars
7/19/08 Susan Lee Love RDJ but was skeptical about his role .. he did awesome job. Gweneth was wasted tho 5 stars
7/14/08 Karen Awesome movie! 5 stars
6/26/08 DK Downey is immense and good script but the ending was like Transformers done worse. 4 stars
6/26/08 Mario A bit overrated, but still a good action film. 4 stars
6/25/08 JD Smith A bit uneven, but overall V entertaining 4 stars
6/25/08 FJ Am ever a fan of RDJ. Thee movie is entertaining, but i would say slightly overhyped. 4 stars
6/22/08 J Black Excellent movie RD, jr was perfect for the role 5 stars
6/22/08 David V Great acting and action, but this is a little over-rated. 4 stars
6/12/08 Heather Incredibly fun movie. Robert Downey Jr. was ubelievably brilliant. 5 stars
6/08/08 John Patricio Great ac tion and acting. How could you not love it. 5 stars
6/06/08 Ming K BEST Comic film of the year...great actions and story 5 stars
6/05/08 Jayson Robert Downey, Jr. was perfect!! 4 stars
6/05/08 katmagick Robert Downey Jr is excellent in this flick! 5 stars
6/04/08 Dana awesome movie i highly recommend it 5 stars
6/02/08 George Barksdale Good action movie and worth going to 4 stars
5/29/08 Raymond What a load of can such crap get good press reviews??!!?? 1 stars
5/28/08 jordan keith i loved this movie but what happens after the credits? 5 stars
5/28/08 Arcane The moive is good, but wayyyyyyyy overhyped. 4 stars
5/26/08 R.W. Welch Hi-caliber perfs for a comic book flick, especially Bridges' smarmy villain. 4 stars
5/20/08 bullit16 Not just a great superhero movie ... a great movie 5 stars
5/19/08 Bert Overrated, formula movie,unlikable people 3 stars
5/18/08 mr.mike Close to awesome , climactic battle could have been a bit better. 4 stars
5/18/08 jm Overrated if you ask me. Good story, crap action. Tony stark is hard to like. 3 stars
5/17/08 Anthony Feor This is the superhero movie I've been waiting for. It is the best one ever made. 5 stars
5/14/08 dude great 5 stars
5/13/08 matt end fight could have been longer, but highly enjoyable 4 stars
5/12/08 pin Finally. Great Casting. a little cheap on the music. 5 stars
5/12/08 austin wertman best superhero movie since spider-man 2 5 stars
5/12/08 kris Overrated. Only the first 30 mins were very good, the rest was formulaic and for kids. 3 stars
5/11/08 Koitus A couple of unlikely plot points (original suit=no eye protection), but still a good movie. 4 stars
5/11/08 Ole Man Bourbon Meh. 3 stars
5/10/08 ironman this film is fkin awsome 5 stars
5/09/08 Quigley Surprisingly excellent comic book film. Great CG effects and spetacular Robert Downey, Jr. 5 stars
5/07/08 dee Great movie, great cast, Downey is terrific 5 stars
5/07/08 Greg It's a movie about evil weapons-makers and it's still non bleeding-heart enough for you? 5 stars
5/07/08 Sarbu Rada Yes, an amazing movie. No wonder it made so much money and they already plan the sequel 5 stars
5/07/08 my precious What a whiney reviewer... forgot to take his meds so that he could properly review a movie. 5 stars
5/06/08 AJ Muller Oh, and I can't take it anymore - Gonsalves is fucking retarded. Erase this if you will - 5 stars
5/06/08 michaelb1478 Downey was spot on, great comic book movie 5 stars
5/06/08 Loserboy2049 When life hands you lemons just dance a disco beat 3 stars
5/06/08 AJ Muller Downey is perfect; Favreau does a kickass job. One of the best comic flicks ever. 5 stars
5/06/08 carlos Not perfect, but > than SM3, X3 & others trying 2 do 2 much. Oh, & easter egg aft credits! 5 stars
5/06/08 Wolfrider Didnt exactly live up to my expectations - but the GF liked it 3 stars
5/06/08 CallistaZM I would agree with others that this is the best superhero movie I've ever seen. 5 stars
5/06/08 diggz it was ok. but the fighting scene at the end has the corniest dialouge ive ever heard. 3 stars
5/06/08 Cherie Partain Great movie -- Robert Downey, Jr. was great! 5 stars
5/06/08 Loserboy2049 Take it from me, rust doesn't taste like ketchup! 1 stars
5/06/08 sue bobier Best movie in a long time, robert downey, jr is awesome! 5 stars
5/06/08 STH Rob, Iron Man kicked ass. nuff said 5 stars
5/06/08 Loserboy2049 One time I got lost in an abdondoned van 5 stars
5/06/08 Excruciator Why is this bonehead allowed to review movies with any measure of authority? 5 stars
5/06/08 mlvassallo You know Rotten Tomatoes labled your review as "Fresh"... so you are helping with the ratio 5 stars
5/05/08 Blue Knuckle Your review is replete with spelling errors!!!!! 5 stars
5/05/08 NB Your first sentence has a flaw. He is repentant 5 stars
5/05/08 Loserboy2049 My feet smell like cat piss after I stepped in cat piss... 1 stars
5/05/08 Brett Your review is inane. Great superhero rollercoaster ride! 5 stars
5/05/08 FredGarvin I'm very sorry for what seems to have happened to you as a child. It wasn't your fault. 5 stars
5/05/08 Amy You just seem to hate that it's popular and that it isn't a bleeding heart anti-war film 5 stars
5/05/08 Mark In the hands of a lesser actor, this movie would have fallen on its face. Props RDJR. 4 stars
5/05/08 igor deviates in a good way from many recent superhero movies 5 stars
5/05/08 MightyMad For God's sake, Rob: it's a summer blockbuster, dummy! Enjoy it for what it is - I did! 5 stars
5/05/08 Ryan Best superhero I have seen 5 stars
5/05/08 Kevin This reviewer is insane 5 stars
5/05/08 JC Awful, predictable movie... this thing didn't surprise me once and relied on cheap humor... 1 stars
5/05/08 Dennis Awesome movie had alot of fun watching it might even go back and see it again your review s 5 stars
5/05/08 BB It's pretty good movie. I supose it's just that you don't like superhero movies that much 4 stars
5/05/08 Andre The movie is true to the source material, and fun, it isnt pro war, or right wing 5 stars
5/05/08 Ya Daddy Anybody that didn't like this plays with Care Bears 5 stars
5/05/08 Bob best movie I've seen lately. 4 stars
5/05/08 Kay Best superhero flick ever! Downey was fantastic! 5 stars
5/05/08 Darkstar Be sure to wait until after the credits roll for the best scene of the movie. 5 stars
5/05/08 Doc Austin I wanna see it again! Sorry if I'm politically incorrect here, but i liked it a lot. 5 stars
5/05/08 bill s stick to art-house. i hate when movies try to drag reviewers down to theri level 5 stars
5/05/08 Michael Quite simply the movie was boring- it wasn't about anything after he escaped from kidnapin. 1 stars
5/05/08 zetronet This critic can not be taken seriously and should not be paid more than minimum wage 5 stars
5/05/08 Jimmy probably great if you're a comic book fan, otherwise it's just kind of meh 3 stars
5/05/08 Destarius This movie rated 94%. You're not intellectual, you're just flatulent and out of touch. 5 stars
5/05/08 Terry You're rating simply shows your liberal upbringing - get a grip! The movie is excellent! 5 stars
5/05/08 Derek C "Iron Man is as thoughtless as it is weightless." Much like your review, Iron Man rocks!! 5 stars
5/05/08 Drei Hw didn't bring up the fact that he killed people himself because he didn't people knowing. 5 stars
5/05/08 joey Your review stinked... awesome movie! .. setting up for a nice sequal 5 stars
5/05/08 Diesel Downey captures the snarkiness of Stark and achieves superhero-movie apotheosis! 5 stars
5/04/08 Kzach What a dumb review. Talk about having an agenda. Get off your political high horse, moron. 5 stars
5/04/08 johnnybgoode Great casting. One of the best superhero movies to date. 5 stars
5/04/08 Dutch Your right , great entry into superhero flicks but the end was a letdown. 4 stars
5/04/08 m price GREAT comic book movie. Plus far-lefty Tom Morello gets it in the cave. Nice touch. 5 stars
5/04/08 Steve Excellent movie, ignore this pretentious wannabe and his subpar review and go see it! 5 stars
5/04/08 MCMC Another bitter, failed critic pooping and screaming for attention and praise. 5 stars
5/04/08 philip Simply incredible, best superhero movie to date. 5 stars
5/04/08 SonofAnon Very good movie I don't know why people give it bad reviews could of been like fantastic 4 5 stars
5/04/08 AJ Gudmundsen "I saw Americans Die" I dont know you didnt understand that. 5 stars
5/04/08 Kyle What the hell is this reviewer talking about? Pretentious douche ahoy! 4 stars
5/04/08 Kanoose One of the best movies I've ever seen. Was enjoyable from start to finish. Good job. 5 stars
5/04/08 ska-boss I was thinking the same thing when he said "I saw Americans die" 4 stars
5/04/08 Jerry N. Wow. Once again Gonsalves has proved himself to be mentally hadicapped. 5 stars
5/04/08 lawl Pretentious douchebag critic drowned in fanboy spam, and rightfully so. I lol. 5 stars
5/04/08 Stephen Glad someone says it. This movie is awful. 1 stars
5/04/08 stavos williams Talk about pretentious critics - Rob "SnobMan" Gonsalves wants a moralistic pacifist Ghandi 5 stars
5/04/08 Rock Star This reviewer does social commentary better than film criticism 5 stars
5/04/08 John Christopher The movie was fantastic, and you review was poor. Maybe you should find a new career. 5 stars
5/04/08 Phil The best super-hero film? It just might be....... 5 stars
5/04/08 Tony G The bar has been set for super-hero movies and Iron Man is IT!!! 5 stars
5/04/08 Jmac64 Saw Movie twice in 12 the only choice for Stark...A Millenium Classic 5 stars
5/04/08 Jacqueline Carpenter Keeps me interered all through 5 stars
5/04/08 gcc Equal to the 1st spidey and x-men, Downey perfect as Stark, well done. 5 stars
5/03/08 sebas1972 Excellent movie!!! Stay during the end credits... surprise at the end!!! 5 stars
5/03/08 Obi Wan Very well done movie. RDJ, JB and GP were on the money! 5 stars
5/03/08 Dan Excellent. Downey Jr. was perfectly cast and did a superb job. Only weakness was PepperPots 5 stars
5/03/08 john nicely done...2008 is finally getting some great movies like '...Sarah Marshall 5 stars
5/03/08 action movie fan very good adaption of marvel super hero-downey is good as stark-good story 4 stars
5/03/08 damalc big fight should have been longer, but very good. downey cast was perfect! 4 stars
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  02-May-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 30-Sep-2008


  DVD: 30-Sep-2008

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