Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Iron Man

An email from a friend contains what I thought was an insightful review of Iron Man. Here it is:

I enjoyed IRON MAN. Well, actually, I didn't enjoy Iron Man the hero -- or Iron Man the computer-generated special effect -- or even IRON MAN the movie as a whole -- but I loved watching Robert Downey Jr as the solipsistic Tony Stark, hellbent on reinventing himself as Iron Man: it's a funny and nuanced bit of business, beautifully handled by a brilliant comic actor. The best scenes are those in which Tony is alone in the garage-cum-laboratory -- alone except for JARVIS (and that sophisticated fire extinguisher that is seemingly made to do only one thing -- extinguish fires -- and just won't leave the stage until it's had the chance to fulfill its destiny as a fire extinguisher). My favorite line is Tonys's remark after being borne aloft -- magically -- by boots of his own design, skittering around the room, and then coming in for a wobbly two-point landing: "OK, I can fly." He's just performed a technological miracle, but his mind is racing ahead to the next challenge, the next step in becoming Iron Man. He's a genius who takes no pleasure in his genius, he's too busy looking ahead to the next thing. This is all conveyed to the audience in a line or two and in an attitude, with a brilliant economy and flair. (I also liked the funny-tender scene in which Pepper Potts helps Tony replace the little "arc-reactor cup thing" that keeps his heart beating. I liked it because it was intimate in a yucky way, yucky in an intimate way, and the partly improvised dialogue both funny and sexy, in the old-fashioned, Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart, screwball comedy style. And because it was something fun and unexpected that arose out of the material -- and, in the end, proved anything but gratuitous to the storyline.) I read online that the sequel is scheduled for April 2010; I hope that now that all the throat-clearing exposition has been accomplished the writers can craft a really good movie out the world they've created, the way they did for SPIDER-MAN 2 (the Dr. Octopus chapter, which was the best of the lot, don't you think?). They just can't forget that what is really compelling about Iron Man is the actor in the suit, not the suit itself, or the physical punishment it can take . . .

No comments: