Wow, who can resist seeing Robert Downey Jr. enact his 1st superhero role of Iron Man in the latest Marvel comics title brought to the big screen.
The movie sets good pace for a person who is not into the comic scene & has no idea who the superhero is.
It starts right off with action as an American convoy is attacked by terrorists in Afghanistan. Then it flashes back to a few months earlier and then skips back to the aftermath of the attack. The object of the terrorist attack is to kidnap American industrialist, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Stark is not only an arms manufacturer, but an inventor of great skill and intelligence. The terrorists want Stark to build them a working model of a very deadly short range missile armed with cluster bombs. They have all the parts.
Now, Stark was badly wounded in the attack (by his own weapons actually) and is being kept alive by an electromagnet which keeps the shrapnel from working its way into his heart. This ingenious rig was built by the Muslim doctor who operated on him, Yinsen (played by Shaun Toub of “The Kite Runner”).
The Iron Man armour was invented out of Stark’s determination to escape captivity. The suit not only succeeded in helping Stark escape but eventually turned out to be the ultimate killing & flying machine. However, instead of profiteering on his new invention, Stark’s near death experience caused him to swing 180 degress – to use the armour for saving mankind instead ‘destroying’ mankind.
There is a strong cast supporting Downey’s character. Pepper Potts played by Gwyneth Paltrow is his able and sexy assistant. There is hidden romantic tension between them. Jeff Bridges plays Obadiah, Tony’s business partner in Stark Industries. Obadiah plots to black Iron Man out from the board of directors’ decisions as he plans to continue selling arms despite Tony’s change of heart. After all plunging stock prices and peaceful enterprises did not augur well for business. Obadiah is also anxious to steal Stark’s invention so that he can put the armour up for sale in the weaponry market as the ultimate killing machine. He is prepared to snuff Stark out for good lest he get in the way. That sets the stage for the final standoff between good and evil in the movie, a ‘clash of Iron Men’ so to say.
Well, here are snippets of entertainment facts that might interest you about Iron Man the movie…
1. This is Marvel Studio’s maiden super hero production………
Yes! The film is the first self financed production from Marvel studios. They spent US150m to make the movie and US75m to market it. The movie is set to hit or exceed the projected US85million box office takings during the opening weekend. Friday alone grossed US32.5m so its well on track to meet its target. To top it off, the movie cast big names like Oscar nominee Robert Downey, award winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow and veteran Jeff Bridges and Shaun Toub of Kite Runner fame. Reviews for the movie were over 90% favourable. Now if this does not garner a winning formula, what will? Be prepared for more super hero movies from Marvel…
2. What inspired the creation of Iron Man’s character?
Howard Hughes. Iron Man was bourne out of the collaboration between editor and story-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, story-artist Don Heck, and Jack Kirby. In 1963, Lee thought “what about a businessman superhero”? So he set out to create a new character a rich, glamorous ladies’ man, but one with a secret that would plague and torment him as well. Lee based this playboy’s personality on Howard Hughes, explaining, “Howard Hughes was one of the most colorful men of our time. He was an inventor, an adventurer, a multi-billionaire, a ladies’ man and finally a nutcase”
3. Did you know that there is a parallel that can be drawn between the original comic character and Robert Downey Junior …?
In the addiction department that is. The original cartoon character of Tony Stark, Iron Man’s alter ego developed a serious dependency on alcohol when he discovered that the national security agency S.H.I.E.L.D. was buying a controlling interest in his company in order to ensure Stark’s continued weapons development for them. Downey too had a dependency problem. He was arrested numerous times from 1996 until 2001 on drug-related charges and went through drug treatment programs several times unsuccessfully, explaining in 1999 to a judge: “It’s like I have a loaded gun in my mouth and my finger’s on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gunmetal”. Wow how ironic he now plays the Iron Man!
4. Did you know that this is the first time Jeff Bridges shaves his head bald for a screen role?
Yes, its the very first time and he thought it would be fun! Jeff Bridges plays the villain Obadiah in Iron Man. Obadiah, is depicted as a BALD man in the comic. Jeff was waiting to see if the director Jon Favreau was going to persuade him to cut off his locks for the role but the director was not particularly obsessive about that detail. Jeff himself decided to show some skin in his head which is a first in his film career! He figured it would be in keeping with the comic villain’s appearance! Actors who reinvent themselves to be in character deserve my applause. I must say he succeeded in presenting himself as an authentic comic villain, just with the look only. What a bonus it was that there was great acting thrown in as well.
5. There was no script when Robert Downey signed on for the role.
Yup, the role was THAT enticing to Robert Downey. He actually signed on for the role without a script. Needless to say, he had a part in developing the script together with Marvel, the screen play writers & director Jon Favreau. That’s why the movie has a contemporary theme as it truly is hot from the oven. The original comic book had an anti communist theme but Iron Man has an anti terrorism theme.
6. Pepper Potts (Tony Stark’s Girl Friday) is Gwyneth’s comeback role after becoming a mother.
Gwyneth admits that she is sort of geeky & has never read comics in her life. But the offer to play the role of Tony Stark’s “Girl Friday” Pepper Potts besides Robert Downey Jr was irresistable. The timing was right too. Gwyneth was enjoying mother hood but the time seemed right for a comeback as Gwyneth’s son Moses is now a year old. Although she had to shed about 20 lbs of motherhood related ‘flab’, she said that she enjoyed playing the role very much & has confirmed enthusiastically that she has signed on for the ‘sequel’ with blood! Anything for a little extra time with Robert Downey I’m sure! (Check this interview out with Gwyneth!)…..BTW, did you notice how high the heels of her shoes were in the movie, especially during the stand off scenes..Phew…talk about risk of ankle injury…
7. You wanna KICK A** like Iron Man? ….. Thanks to SEGA you can.
Well, I don’t know how desperate you are to enact the role of Iron Man but never fear, SEGA has a video game which premiered the same date (May 2) as the movie. It can be played on PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, Wii, Xbox 360, PC and Mobile Platforms . Hey you can even change your armour for goodness sakes. Take your pick, you have the Classic armor, Extremis armor, Hulkbuster armor, Classic Mark I armor, Mark I armor, Mark II armor, Mark III armor, Silver centurion armor (Xbox 360 exclusive) and Ultimate Iron Man (PS3 exclusive). You also get to upgrade your iron man suit by doing missions and getting money to buy the upgrade. Oh, btw, it features the actual voices of Robert Downey, Terence Howard & Shaun Toub ……
Needless to say, the merchandisers will cash in on the Iron Man bandwagon next. ….. So start saving and get some shelf space ready for your Iron Man miniatures!
Have a great week at the movies!