Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Summer Movies 2008 - Iron Man

1 Down, 9 to go.

Of course I'm talking about this year's batch of highly anticipated movies for the summer and I just saw the first of them - Iron Man.

Ever since I first heard that Robert Downey Jr. was set to play Iron Man, I've had very high hopes for this movie. As a kid, I always thought that Iron Man was one always one of the cooler superheroes, right up there with Spiderman, Batman and Superman. I think that the key to a successful superhero film is how popular the comic character was to begin with. It's no surprise that Batman and Superman were probably the two most popular comic superheroes back before any movies, with Spiderman a very close 3rd. These 3 made up the "A" list of characters, while Iron Man, Wonder Woman, the Flash and Captain America were probably more of the "B" list type. Finally you have characters like the Incredible Hulk, The Fantastic Four and Ghost Rider that lead the "C" list in terms of popularity.

Where a character's popularity initially lies is a key to understanding how well it's chances are that a big screen adaptation will be successful. You only have to look at the big three of Batman, Superman and Spiderman to see the truth in that, while movies like HULK and The Fantastic Four have been either total flops or acceptable popcorn faire.

I'm very happy to report that the new Iron Man movie is definitely more like the Spiderman movies, than the terrible and misguided HULK disaster in terms of entertainment value and appeal. Iron Man was an exciting 2 hours of fun, laughs, cool special effects and a solid story about the origins of Tony Stark and his unorthodox superhero.

Robert Downey Jr. as the playboy Tony Stark was an inspired bit of casting, as Downey's own personal demons seem to be mirrored perfectly in his characters. Instantly likeable externally, yet distant and destructive internally, Downey nails the complexities of the character by filtering his acting through his own personal experiences of destructive tendencies and behavior. You can't help but root for him early in the film, even though you already know he's on a downward spiral. This only makes his later change in behavior more satisfying and the specifics of how he becomes Iron Man are explained in a level of depth and detail comparable only to what was seen in the early Superman films as well as the more recent Batman Begins.

I won't discuss any of the plot here or give away any spoilers, I hate when that happens to me and I'm not going to ruin your movie experience by doing that myself. All I can say is go see it SOON, before you hear too much about it (good or bad) so you can judge for yourself it's merits.

One thing I will recommend you doing is to STAY THROUGH THE FILM'S CREDITS at the end! You will not be disappointed.

With IRON MAN now out, the summer movie season has now begun and I'm anxiously awaiting to see these films:

May 9th Speed Racer
May 16th The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
May 22 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
June 13 The Incredible Hulk
June 13th The Happening
June 20th Get Smart
June 27th Wanted
July 2nd Hancock
July 18th The Dark Knight

See you at the movies!