Note from T, The Focused Filmographer:
Welcome to AVENGERS WEEK! -where we take a more-or-less chronological shared look at the “prequel” films and characters in preparation for The Avengers. In case you missed the introductory post explaining the next 7 days, please visit HERE. Let the festivities BEGIN!
To start things off, Dan from Fogs’ Movie Reviews shares his thoughts/expectations of IRON MAN. Thank you, Dan.
2008’s “Iron Man” was the first movie Marvel Studios made and released under its own production banner. It wasn’t the first superhero movie in this recent renaissance to feature a Marvel character… but it was the first that Marvel produced themselves. The others were all licensed to various other studios. The seeds of the Avengers were planted within, so it’s fair to say that “Iron Man”‘s success paved the way for the Avnegers to happen. Had “Iron Man” failed, it would have called the entire plan into doubt.
In the film, billionaire weapons designer Tony Stark is captured by a terrorist group after conducting a demonstration of his most recent creation, the Jericho Missle. The group demands that Stark build one for them, but instead, he uses the time and resources they provide to build a suit of armor to escape in. Though successful in escaping, the incident effects a change of heart in Stark. He now wishes to use his intellect, technology, and fortune to defend and help others, as opposed to building instruments of destruction. He announces his company’s intention to cease designing and producing weapons – a decision that doesn’t sit well with his second in command, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges).
The situation is complicated by the fact that Stark took a piece of shrapnel in his chest during the raid on his caravan, and now the only thing keeping it from piercing his heart and killing him is the arc reactor that powers his suit. Stark hits the drawing board to develop an improved version of the suit, and a more powerful arc reactor that will retain its charge longer. He succeeds, and shortly thereafter he takes to the air in order to defend a village that’s under attack by the same group that kidnapped him, and gets into a skirmish with the US military as well.
Along the path, he falls for his assistant Pepper Potts, played marvelously by Gwenyth Paltrow. The chemistry that she and Downey lend to the romance is one of the huge factors in Iron Man’s success, in my opinion. It comes with all the typical superhero origin story bells and whistles, all the action sequences and moral philosophizing… but this is also a movie where the romance doesn’t feel tacked on. It earns its keep
A showdown with Stark Industries’ Obadiah Stane looms. In addition to being unhappy with Stark’s decision to abandon weapons development, Stane is zealous for the applications potential of Stark’s arc reactor. He attacks Stark, steals the reactor, and powers a suit of his own. The slugfest between Iron Man and his armored opponent is inevitable.
SHIELD and Nick Fury were both present here, with Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson appearing in several scenes, and Samuel L Jackson appearing as Nick Fury for the first time in the post credits sequence. Marvel was setting up the massive eventual crossover right from their very first movie. In spite of this, and in spite of the fact that in the comics Iron Man was a key figure in the Avengers, the trailers seem to be poistioning Stark as the loose cannon and rogue outsider of the group. It fits well with the persona Downey has imbued Stark with… and I’m hopeful that the chemistry works as well as I imagine it will.
I expect the Avengers to kick a ton of a#$. It seems as though they’ve spared no expense in the action sequences/effects work, and early, favorable reviews have been pouring in. With all these superheroes to play off of each other, they will be no shortage of witty banter and snappy comebacks. Plus, all of the characters have been established previously, so they can focus on “Team Gelling” and the action as opposed to origins and explanations of superpowers. I hope the cast is able to play off of each other well, and the dialogue and banter supplied by the script are worthy of the talent they’ve assembled. I’m sure it will be. After that it’ll just be a matter of bringing some kick-a#$ action to life! 😀
Up Next: Iron Man 2 with looks at both Black Widow and Nick Fury! Stay Tuned.
–T, The Focused Filmographer