Iron Man

Distributed By: Marvel Studios

Reviewed by Justine Manzano

            Back when I was little, my brother – who, as far as I was concerned, owned all the comic books in the world - used to allow me to occasionally raid his comic book collection when I was bored.  Unfortunately, Iron Man was the comic book I would read only when I ran out of the “good stuff” (i.e. Spiderman, X-Men, Batman, Spawn).  For a kid my age, it just didn’t make that much sense to be interested in a Superhero with an iron suit.  I didn’t get it.  Yet still, the movie this comic book spawned intrigued me.  So I chose to indulge it.

            Iron Man is the story of billionaire playboy Tony Stark (you thought I was going to say Bruce Wayne, didn’t you?  Well, no, wrong universe!  But the similarities don’t end there…), a brilliant inventor and child prodigy who graduated MIT at the age of 15 and took over his parents’ company, Stark Industries when they died, under the tutelage of family friend Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges, Seabiscuit, The Big Lebowski).  Tony (brilliantly played with both comedic and dramatic flair by a newly buff-as-all-hell Robert Downey, Jr., A Scanner Darkly, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints) goes to a war torn area of the Middle East with his military friend, Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Terence Howard, The Brave One, Crash) to demonstrate some new weapons he and his company have created as part of their contract with the U.S. Military.  While there, Stark is kidnapped, almost killed by a group of enemies and held captive until he builds his most alarming weapon yet for the enemy forces.  Rebelling against his captures, Stark builds a suit of armor, complete with weapons and uses it to escape. 

            However, Stark now knows that someone has been dealing his weapons to enemies of the US.  Though his prototype suit has failed, he begins to work on a new, more advanced suit, all the while enlisting the help of his assistant, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow, Seven, Shakespeare in Love), as  well as Rhodey to help him find out how his weapons got into enemy hands.  Stark has a mission – to stop the flow of his work to enemies of the US – whatever the cost. 

            In the shortest, most descriptive sentence I can use to describe this film, Iron Man rocked so hard it surprised me.  Filled with nods to comic book fans and loads of fun action-packed scenes, this movie made a fan out of me where there was no fan before.  Downey Jr. managed to use his already proven acting chops to play the role of loutish Stark with sincerity and spunk, and the directors of the film, intelligent enough to know that an iron masked hero doesn’t evoke much sympathy, interspersed scenes of the hero’s iron mask with scenes shot from inside the helmet, which Downey, Jr. respectively, sold.  Paltrow (looking her damn-cutest in this movie ( was fun and playful while pulling at your heartstrings.  Every character, even those that made small appearances were interesting and very well cast. 

            So, whether you like Iron Man comics or not, checking out this movie will make you wish you’d picked up reading them earlier.  If you are a fan, or even if you simply love the Marvel Universe, I have one tip for you.  Stick around for after the credits – you will not be disappointed.  And that is all I’m at liberty to say. 


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