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Review of Iron Man

Iron ManWhen I finally got to the front of the queue at Manchester’s Odeon cinema and asked for a ticket yesterday it was about 2:15. Screenings began every hour so I asked for a ticket for two o’clock – on the basis that there’d be ten minutes each of adverts and trailers before the film started. The ticket person said I’d miss the first five minutes of the film; I didn’t think he was right about that, but anyway I deferred to his infinite wisdom and got a ticket for three. It was actually a good move. I had time to use the toilet first, and then the trailers constitued a geek’s wet dream. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Dark Knight, Prince Caspian and The Incredible Hulk … mmm.

Robert Downey Jr as a superhero is an unlikely bit of casting, but it works perfectly. Jeff Bridges in his role is also none too obvious, but he too was great, and, with his full beard and shaven head looked positively archetypal as the evil industrialist. In fact, facial hair seems to be a major theme in Iron Man – there’s a full range of moustaches, goatees and beards.

The best part of the film is the first half, where Stark is kidnapped by the Afgan terrorists and begins transforming himself into Iron Man. His tests, helped – and hindered – by the AI that runs his house are certainly the movie’s comedic highlight. The crux of the story, where Stark realises the true intent of his business partner, didn’t work so well for me. From then on, the story loses some of its emotional and narrative dynamic and just becomes a lead up to a fight scene between two men in exoskeletons.

And then that fight didn’t seem all that good. After spending so much time on Stark’s journey to superhero-hood, this climactic scene felt as if it had been condensed to prevent the film as a whole being too long. Also, sitting in the fourth row from the front, I wasn’t best-placed to see it. The antagonists fill the screen and the action is so fast that it often appears as a big blur.

In fact, all the action scenes were fairly modest. After the pyrotechnics of Die Hard 4.0 and the robotic choreography of Transformers last year, action films have a new benchmark – and Iron Man doesn’t reach it.

But it is very good – it’s engaging, it’s humorous, it looks a million dollars … well, make that about $200 milion (not counting the dye on Downey’s moustache in the close-up shots). And if you stay right to the end fo the credits you get to see Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury providing a prelude to the sequel (although I don’t believe the rumours that it will be a Rastafarian-themed film entitled I an’ Iron Man).

  1. 8 May 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Dear Captain

    I am a publisher of THE EAST; the only English newspaper, which is mainly focused on the East Asian information (at the beginning of every month, more than 12,000 free copies are distributed throughout the London area, particularly, where East Asian Networks are established).

    I looked at your blog the other day and have been wondering if there would be any chance that we could publish some of your interesting articles on the paper.
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    The East cannot afford to pay for your articles right now (as we are non-profitable organisation). However, if you wish, we can still offer you:
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    We look forward to hearing from you shortly.

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    Hyung Wook Lee

    THE EAST, The East Asian Monthly Business Newspaper,
    Elephant Consulting Limited, 37 Charter Court, Linden Grove,
    New Malden, Surrey, KT3 3BN, UK
    Tel : + 44 (0) 7912 608 321 / Web site: http://www.theeast.org / E mail : publisher@theeast.org
    Registered in England & Wales, Company No. 6254454

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