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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Iron Man (2008)

#2 - 2008 Box Office: Gross $318,412,101

Heroes aren't born. They're built.
Jon Favreau directs this comic book adaptation which opens with billionaire and weapons engineer Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) demonstrating his company's shocking and awesome new Jericho Missile in Afghanistan.  As he and best friend James Rhodes (Terrence Howard) travel away from the demonstration, Stark's vehicle is attacked with his own technology, leaving him near death (as Rhodes escapes unharmed).  Stark awakens to find he's being held by terrorists who want him to build them their very own Jericho Missile.  His fellow captor has implanted an electromagnet into Stark's chest to keep the shrapnel from destroying his heart, and soon the two secretly build a suit in which Stark can escape.  Back home in his mansion, he's able to fine tune his heart magnet and perfect his suit with some help from assistant and sometimes love interest Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).  Stark begins to dissolve his father's company having found out his weapons are being sold to both sides of almost every war, but his father's business partner Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges with some of the most evil hair I've ever seen) wants to continue the business as is.  Meanwhile, the Afghan terrorists are trying to reverse engineer the destroyed suit they found in the desert which Stark left behind after he escaped.  Will self-centered Stark have a change in heart regarding his role in his father's company?  Will he be able to keep his ego in check with his new found identity?  Who will win the final battle of Iron Man vs iron man?


Trivia (mostly courtesy of the IMDb)
  • In its opening weekend, Iron Man grossed $98,618,668 in 4,105 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking number one at the box office
  • At the time of its release, it had the second-best premiere for a non-sequel (behind Spider-Man) and had the fourth-biggest opening for a superhero movie
  • Marvel Studios' first self-financed movie
  • The script was not completely prepared when filming began (since the filmmakers were more focused on the story and the action) so the dialogue was mostly ad-libbed throughout filming
  • According to composer Ramin Djawadi, Tony Stark's different moods (as performed by RDJ) were the inspiration for his score
  • Tony Stark's computer system is called JARVIS (an acronym for Just A Rather Very Intelligent System). This is a tribute to Edwin Jarvis, Tony Stark's butler in the comics. He was changed to an artificial intelligence to avoid comparisons to Batman/Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred
  • JARVIS is voiced by Paul Bettany, who has said he had little idea of what the role was even as he recorded it, simply doing it as a favor for his friend, director Jon Favreau
  • Ghostface Killah, a long-time fan of the Iron Man comics (having used "Ironman" & "Tony Starks" as aliases, titling his 1996 album "Ironman" and sampling clips from the 1966 TV series "Iron Man"), got a cameo as a Dubai tycoon, however, his scene was cut from the final film
  • In the scene where Pepper discovers Tony removing the damaged Iron Man armor, you can see Captain America's shield on Tony's workbench
  • An early draft of the script revealed Tony Stark to be the creator of Dr. Octavius's tentacles from Spider-Man 2
  • During the highway battle with Iron Monger, a building can be seen in the background with a Roxxon logo. In the Marvel Universe, Roxxon is a notorious conglomerate known for illegal activities, agents of which were responsible of the death of Stark's parents
  • Just before the final press conference, Tony Stark is reading the newspaper with a grainy, amateur photograph of Iron Man on the cover. The picture was taken by onlookers hiding in a bush during initial filming, that appeared on the Internet in 2007
  • For home releases of the film, the above scene had to be altered due to a lawsuit filed by Ronnie Adams, photographer who took the photograph which had been used without his permission
  • One of the cars in Tony Stark's garage is an all-electric Tesla Roadster, which had not yet been released during the film's production
  • Stan Lee cameos as a man in a red bathrobe with three blondes, whom Stark mistakes for Hugh Hefner
That's how Dad did it, that's how America does it, and it's worked out pretty well so far
It's scary how bad my memory is (or how fluid my feelings on movies are)... As I sat to watch this, I remembered really liking the film and in the end was a little disappointed.  However, as I went over to IMDb to update my rating, I noticed my new rating was higher than my previous one!  Looking further into the matter, when I first saw this in theaters, I gave it 3 stars; on my first DVD rewatch it bumped up to 3.5 and yet for some reason I thought I loved this and assumed it used to be 4.5... This is why I try to rate everything on IMDb so I have record of what I actually think of a movie so I don't have to be bothered with actually remembering it or my thoughts about it.  Complaints that I had with it on first viewing have turned into things I find humorous and enjoy (Stark's interaction with his robots). And things I enjoyed at first are still great (if not better): the effects (even 3 years later) are amazing—I can't imagine how many scenes with the suit are CGI but they all feel very real.  Also, the film is extremely well-paced; at over two hours, the story clips along at a very good speed and it never seems to drag.  RDJ is fantastic as Tony Stark (I'm sure some of his own personal demons informed his performance) and Paltrow is positively phenomenal as Pepper Potts (despite not getting all that much screen time). 

Ponch's Rating:

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