The Iron Man films didn’t interest me initially, the same can be said for The Incredible Hulk which is still absent from my collection. However due to recent super hero movies catching my attention & them leading towards The Avengers it was time to gather the full set in preparation. Thankfully for my wallet both the Iron Man films are bargain bin fodder these days & the pair cost less than a single new release.
I don’t need to go into the whole back story of Iron Man, and I’m sure it would just result in a Marvel fan correcting me on everything since I’m not much of a comic person. That doesn’t mean I didn’t watch & enjoy the cartoons growing up, they were pretty old ones too – from the 60’s, and boy did the age show on the art. But this isn’t about cartoons of old, this is about the current pair of films.
Think of the first one as an origin story, once again I’m not really qualified to comment about how accurate to the original story it is. Within 15 minutes the stage has been set & the main plot begins. After Captain America it was refreshing to see a film cut the crap and just get to business, but that’s another film for another day.
Jeff Bridges makes a more than welcome addition to the cast providing the bad guy, not a role I’m used to seeing Bridges in. Either that says a lot about my collection or it’s a rare occasion it happens. None the less he does as good a job as always. The rest of the cast is fairly solid, Gwyneth Paltrow gets a fair bit of screen time as Pepper the out of reach love interest, and Robert Downey, Jr. provides a quality performance as Tony Stark – a role he appears to have a lot of fun with.
All in all it’s a good film, loaded with CG which normally would provide a red flag, but in this genre it’s fitting. Even when it starts to look dated, in the context it’s used at worst it’ll look a bit cheesy rather than garish. It looks good though and that’s all that matters, in fact it looks better than a lot of more recent films.
Yes there’s a basic plot, but as it comes off more as an origin story than stand alone film it’s more than adequate at setting the pace for the sequel. And on that note…
The second movie lifts off from where the previous ended, it even has a sound clip from the end of the original just in case you forgot. So the world knows Stark is Iron Man and… Oh hello Mr Rourke, you must be the bad guy then?
Stark’s ego is more inflated than ever, and Downey Jr. seems to be having a ball with it. There’s a cast change for Rhodey but since the character wasn’t used much in the previous film it’s a minor niggle. If Pepper had been changed it would be a whole other story, I’m sure I’m not alone where hate for recasting major roles is concerned.
Iron Man may be saving the world, but he’s also inspired copy cats… If you call failed attempts that look like rejects from a Mech Warrior game copies. As many have said before, it’s that one guy working in a shed you have to keep an eye on, and that’s the case here. There’s also the matter of Stark slowly being poisoned to death by the very object that’s keeping him alive.
There’s certainly a lot more plot involved this time, but that’s to be expected since the first was essentially an origin story. I don’t want to provide spoilers so I’ll leave it at that.
What I can talk about is the actors. Once again Downey Jr. & Paltrow are great, Rourke is fantastic – I’m no expert on accents but to my ears that’s a great Russian accent. Scarlet Johansson makes for another addition as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, though other than providing extra eye candy she doesn’t do much until the end. Shame because the character should’ve been used for bigger & better things.
They’re a good watch, putting the more recent Avenger films (let’s be honest – they’re all prequels to that) to shame – especially Captain America. You could get away with skipping the 1st Iron Man, but then you’d be missing out on a good film. Sure it’s mostly origin, but it was well made & if you’re going to see one you should see the other. As should be expected the second film is heavy on CG, which is as good as the original making for a nice seamless experience if you watch them one after the other.
All in all if you’re into super hero movies, these are ones you want to see; not only for the spectacle, but also as a reminder that not all films of the genre are poor cousins to the animated series that pre-date them.
There is one thing that bothers me about all these Avengers movies… Isn’t Nick fury supposed to be white?