Friday, May 02, 2008
Basking in the After Glow of Pure Geek Joy
Gentle Reader the summer movie season is upon us. This is my super bowl, my world series, my world cup. I love the eye candy that graces the multiplexes from sea to shining sea during May, June, July and August. And Ladies and Gentlemen, IRON MAN has set the bar for all other movies that will be released this summer.
I’ve been reading the spin on Iron Man for the last year or so. I follow this sort of thing – it’s what I do. This project marks the first time that Marvel has made a film on its own without having some studio executive throw in his two cents or product placement deal (see Macy Grey in Sony’s Spiderman or Prince doing the “Bat Dance” from Warner’s Batman). Marvel handled these duties and in the process has made probably the finest transfer from a comic book to a movie that has EVER been produced. Oh there have been some great comic book films (Superman – the Movie, Spiderman, X-Men, and Hellboy, but for each of these there are also the ugly side of the business. For every great Batman Begins you have to put up with a shoddy Hulk or a flimsy Fantastic Four. As a geek from WAY BACK let me just tell you those two films (three if you count Fantastic Four II) were complete and udder rubbish. Why? Because the people who made them had NO LOVE for and NO KNOWLEDGE of the characters, stories and heritage that was placed into their hands. Oh they may have had a decent opening weekend but if you are completely ignorant of the source material you have no business playing in that sandbox. They are forgetable films. All this leads me to why I absolutely love Iron Man. The people who made the film know, love, and respect the characters and their 45 plus years of heritage. They get it – and better still, they share the love with a world that just may not know who Tony Stark is.
The casting is inspired. Robert Downey Jr. IS Tony Stark. Hindsight being what it is, I cannot think of another actor who is more perfect for this role. Seriously. Jeff Bridges pulls off a wonderfully evil bad guy. And the rest of the cast is spot on too; Terence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow deliver. There are geek moments aplenty but they are not overdone; those in the know will truly appreciate seeing what’s going on there on the silver screen those that don’t will be pleasantly surprised. Iron Man is not your typical brainless explosion fest; nope, Iron Man has been and always should be about Tony Stark – a changed man and watching his character develop and grow into something more than what he once was. The suit is secondary to what’s going on inside old Shell Head.
Go early, the final trailer for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is attached and is very cool indeed. You can fully believe the Iron Man hype – it is so worth the price of admission. For my money it’s about the best comic book movie I have ever seen; not to toot my own horn, but that’s saying something.
Oh yes, and STAY for the end credits.
…That is all I can say on that matter… Let’s just say I’ve still got geek chills up and down my spine.