Iron Man was a fun movie. It had explosions in the desert sand, a was-it-or-wasn’t-it romance, a robot arm with personality to provide some laughs, and even a moral. Oh, and something missing from Indy 4: a plot.
The movie opens with Tony Stark, weapons producer, kidnapped in Afghanistan. Stark’s fellow captive, Yinsen, helps, umm, augment Stark’s heart with a glowing white coaster. Okay, I didn’t follow that part, but it was cool looking. The warlord who captures him, wants him to make a weapon for him. But with the help of Yinsen, he fashions a metal suit, an exoskeleton, that allows him to escape. Yinsen dies in the escape and Stark realizes he needs to do good with his power. (Very Spidey-like.) Stark gets rescued by a US miltiary helicopter shortly after he escapes – quite unlike the ordeal that Dieter Dengler went through trying to escape in Rescue Dawn!
By the way, it’s always great to see Shaun Toub on screen. He played Yinsen in Iron Man, the shopkeeper that almost killed a locksmith in Crash, and a bunch of other memorable characters in things like The Sopranos and Bad Boys.
Back home again, Stark builds a new version of the exoskeleton. It’s cool to see that this guy who relies so much on technology can build a working prototype in a cave yet even cooler to see how technology helps him build it better when he returns.
A nice twist is that the warlord turns out not to be the real bad guy. Instead, the real bad guy turns out to be the supplier of the arms to the warlord, none-other than Stark’s right-hand man in his company, Obadiah Stane. The next twist, though, is a cliché: To battle Stark, Stane has created a weaponized version of the exoskeleton. (So clichéd, in fact that Marvel is going to use it in two movies this summer: the preview before Iron Man seemed to indicate that the ultimate battle in the Hulk movie will be against a bad Hulk.) While it’s nice that differences in the bad suit vs. the good suit represent the differences in offensive posture vs. defensive posturing, it was a disappointment to see the movie come down to Bad Iron Man vs. Good Iron Man.
If the movie had ended with Stark defeating warlords in Afghanistan, discovering that Stane was behind it all, and turning in Stane to the military to lock him up, it would have been a great comic book ending to a great comic book story. But the way it did end was a bit of a disappointment.
Rating: 8 (out of 10)