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Wednesday, 07 May 2008

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Sara

Hear, hear! I hated that movie. What's up with T. Howard: "Maybe next time..." Please. Put on the suit already.

Chuck

Given the film's box office, it was actually money well spent. Maybe with the profits from this film they will be able to afford a screenwriter for the sequel.

Chris

I'm not really sure where to start with this.

Robert Downey Jr. was in rehab for coke and heroin, among other things, but never for booze. He's also been out for at least five years, which in my opinion qualifies him as beyond post rehab.

Watch the teaser after the credits for an eye-opener in regard to the role of blacks in this movie. It more than balances out Howard's character, who I'll grant you is very much a tool.

For a superhero flick, this thing has a tiny cast-- four main characters at most. There is only one major female, and it could be convincingly argued that she's every bit as strong as Stark is, and certainly more so than the vast majority of the film's cast. Her strength may not be in the muscles or the headlong leap into danger, but it's a quiet, dignified sort that shouldn't be downplayed. The only other woman, despite certain glaring faults, is far from a secretary; she poses a constant obstacle to Stark because she questions his every move. If she weren't so damned weak-willed early on, I would be tempted to call her a minor antagonist.

The line you reference is by far the worst the film has to offer; I'm pretty sure it's been delivered word for word before. The script generally is filled with some pretty clever dialogue, and Downey was a brilliant casting move; no one could have delivered it like he did. It may be (frequently) crude or silly, but it's also downright witty much of the time.

Speaking of Downey, his character is the lone wolf type, so much of the movie is spent focusing solely on him, with little more than a semi-sentient robot helper to take his screen time. When he is around other people, he talks circles around them. To assert that he's the quiet type here is something of an exaggeration at best.

I'm all for bashing movies when they deserve it, but on the rare occasion that a writer and director manage to smartly execute an incredibly dumb premise, why not praise it for the relative success it is rather than harp on its bloated budget?

SEK

Sara:

Put on the suit already.

I know. I haven't read the books in decades and even I know well enough where they're headed. Which means, most likely, that it's an unsubtle appeal to the fan-folk.

Chuck:

Given the film's box office, it was actually money well spent. Maybe with the profits from this film they will be able to afford a screenwriter for the sequel.

Actually, Hawk Ostby and Mark Fergus wrote Iron Man. The last film they did? Children of Men. I can only guess they wrote down to their idea of the genre. The script is slick, it's just not particularly good.

Chris:

Robert Downey Jr. was in rehab for coke and heroin, among other things, but never for booze. He's also been out for at least five years, which in my opinion qualifies him as beyond post rehab.

That wasn't meant as a criticism of him. Point of fact, he delivered his lines -- like the one I quoted -- like only someone very familiar with the ins-and-outs of public intoxication can. Not that he's not a brilliant actor -- one of my favorites, in fact -- only that he doesn't have to work that hard to play a hard-living partier.

Watch the teaser after the credits for an eye-opener in regard to the role of blacks in this movie. It more than balances out Howard's character, who I'll grant you is very much a tool.

I saw the [NO SPOILERS FOR YOU] after the credits, and if confirmed my suspicion that we were watching the birth of Ultimate Iron Man. Even so, they still didn't give Howard nearly enough to do in the film. It could've been played by "Anonymous Black Man." You have someone of Howard's talent, you should take advantage of it like Nolan did with Caine and Freeman in Batman Begins.

There is only one major female, and it could be convincingly argued that she's every bit as strong as Stark is, and certainly more so than the vast majority of the film's cast. Her strength may not be in the muscles or the headlong leap into danger, but it's a quiet, dignified sort that shouldn't be downplayed. The only other woman, despite certain glaring faults, is far from a secretary; she poses a constant obstacle to Stark because she questions his every move. If she weren't so damned weak-willed early on, I would be tempted to call her a minor antagonist.

What I said for Howard applies to Paltrow too. I understand that she turned the volume down to play what is a not altogether interesting amalgam of two typical female roles -- mother and secretary -- but I suppose that's indicative of why I thought the entire film went so horribly wrong: with the exception of Bridges and Downey Jr., everyone turned the volume down. (Except, at times, Bridges turned the dial a notch too loud.) From the screen-writers to the A-list cast, everyone seemed to behave to the occasion, which in this case was "Summer Action Movie."

The line you reference is by far the worst the film has to offer; I'm pretty sure it's been delivered word for word before.

Actually, I thought that line was brilliant. Yes, it's been said before, but so have most lines. What made the moment hilarious was Downey Jr.'s delivery of it.

The script generally is filled with some pretty clever dialogue, and Downey was a brilliant casting move; no one could have delivered it like he did. It may be (frequently) crude or silly, but it's also downright witty much of the time.

Agreed. He's perfect. I'm surprised he hasn't been photo-referenced in the book for years now.

I'm all for bashing movies when they deserve it, but on the rare occasion that a writer and director manage to smartly execute an incredibly dumb premise, why not praise it for the relative success it is rather than harp on its bloated budget?

I think it's because it had the potential to be so much better that I'm complaining. Put another way: do you realize that in the course of the entire movie he likely kills more people than he saves? On one side of the ledger you have:

1. Anonymous Afghani Father 2. American Pilot

On the other, you have:

1. Hundreds of Commuters on the 405 2. People in the Buildings He Smashes into

Shouldn't a superhero, you know, save people?

Kav
Shouldn't a superhero, you know, save people?

You cannot make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. sheesh!

Besides, did you actually see those people die? No, I bet they happened off screen and so do not really count.

I'm still looking forward to seeing the movie.

Chris

I think it's because it had the potential to be so much better that I'm complaining.

It seems like we differ less on the film itself and more on where we set the bar. I'll readily agree that this movie is victim to a lot of typical summer blockbuster pitfalls, not the least of which is its failure to properly utilize its stellar cast. But that's how movies like this work; the actors are mostly there to sell tickets, and when it's time to act, they sit back and play second fiddle to their setting, and that's okay, too. Sometimes. But I hesitate to judge a movie on what it could have been rather than what it is; if I did that I might never like anything.

I will point out one last thing, though, and that is that with the notable exception of Superman, most heroes save people in a very vague, "Look at what might have happened" sort of way. Stark saves people by destroying his weapons and stopping [the bad guy], not by pulling blind men out of the way of buses. Although for specific saves, you did leave out the whole village he saved from the terrorist group, and the carful of people he saved from [the bad guy].

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