IRON MANMarvel Studios

“Is it better to be feared or respected? I say, is it too much to ask for both?”

After the less-than-enjoyable comic book-based movies of 2007 (namely, Spider-Man 3 and Ghost Rider), I wasn’t too enthusiastic about the upcoming big screen adaptations for 2008. Given the recent track record, the big screen treatment of Marvel Comics’ billionaire superhero had a lot on its plate to make it worthwhile to spend my $9. And after seeing this with my compatriots Nex and Boz Man, I’d say Marvel Studios has taken a huge step in the right direction.

I’ve owned maybe two Iron Man comics in my youth. Regardless, as a comic geek, I’m very well-versed in the history of the character- the background, origin, main villains, personal struggles, allies, etc. So, while I didn’t have a lot of fanboy baggage going into Iron Man than I did with Spider-Man back in 2002, I would know if the movie was being true to the character and general comic mythos, or if the filmmakers were gonna pull an Ang Lee.

Fortunately, with Marvel now in full creative control, Iron Man was an incredibly fun action flick that remained true to the source material while rendering some unavoidable modern tweaks. I fall in the camp that thought Robert Downey, Jr. was a perfect choice for the roll of Tony Stark from the get go, and he doesn’t disappoint. He has fun with the character from within the first few minutes after the movie starts, giving a certain depth to the genius millionaire industrialist playboy; essentially, Stark is the lovable jerk, and Downey, Jr. really brings this out. The cast of supporting characters round out the story nicely, with Jeff Bridges almost unrecognizable with his shaved head and full beard.

Overall, Iron Man is pretty slick, good on the action, some very cool effects, and more than a few laughs, while staying true to the comic fans. A well-made geeky summer action superhero movie. Here’s hoping Marvel keeps this kind of quality up for the future.