A Solid Origin Story
Growing up, Iron Man was always one of my favourite superheroes. Alongside Spider-Man and X-Men, I distinctly remember watching the old 90’s cartoon and reading numerous comics depicting Tony Stark’s adventures. When Marvel announced they’d be doing a feature film on him I have to admit, I doubted whether they’d be able to pull it off. With the perfect casting in the form of Robert Downey Jr. and a surprisingly grounded and smartly written story, Iron Man remains true to its source material with a solid origin plot, one that does a great job bringing Iron Man to the 21st Century and kicking things off in the best possible way in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.
The story here revoles around billionare inventor Tony Stark, consistently armed with a sharp wit and a host of sarcastic comebacks. When terrorists kidnap Stark and force him to build a super-weapon for them, he instead secretly constructs an armoured suit in order to escape. After a dramatic showdown in Iraq, he leaves the choked desert and returns to the States where he refines his suit, determined to make a difference and fight crime. In the meantime, Stark Enterprises undergoes its own transformation, leading to a climactic battle to close the film out as Tony goes up against a formidable foe in a fight for Stark Enterprises.
Iron Man is a surprisingly compelling superhero film, one that mixes charm, wit and intelligence into a highly enjoyable action flick. The film itself is well-paced, with a decent character arc for Tony Stark and some nicely worked action sequences that feel grounded, making good use of pyrotechnics and light bites of CGI on the suit itself. Seeing the CG complement the practical effects rather than the suit itself being completely created in CGI adds a level of realism to the film that helps bring Iron Man to life.
The suit itself looks amazing too, and the clever use of close-up shots inside while Tony’s wearing it, do well to show his emotional state which doesn’t always shine through in the comics. It’s a clever move too and it helps that Robert Downey Jr was absolutely born to play this character. Much like Jack Black as Po in Kung Fu Panda, he effortlessly slots into the role with the perfect blend of charisma and sarcasm to complement Stark himself. I genuinely can’t imagine anyone else playing him and because of this, Iron Man is all the stronger.
With some light bites of comedy and typical Marvel-esque tropes, Iron Man sets the foundation for what’s to come, with a solid, well written superhero origin film. The grounded special effects, perfect casting and great world building combine to make Iron Man a really good film, even if it does falter a little in its third act showdown. Still, this is a minor gripe in what’s otherwise the perfect introduction of Iron Man to the 21st Century.