Iron Man: This Post Was Written By My Super Smart Robot

Iron man is all the rage this weekend, and while I liked it, all I heard leaving the theater were glowing reviews. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend doing so, but only so you can see how dead on the following observations / complaints about it are. I’m not usually a hater, but for all the praise I’ve heard, there is a serious need for a rebuttal. First, some overall background.

Tony Stark is an unparalleled genius, the heir to a weapons manufacturing company and a womanizer with no equal. Throughout the movie he becomes Iron Man, basically a souped up, more custom fitted version of those walking mech suits at the end of the 3rd matrix. But don’t worry, those old matrix suits do make an appearance as the “final boss”, if you will.

The movie has a TON of flash, and Robert Downey Jr. is really good in the title role. But, the more and more I think about it, this movie alternatively didn’t make much sense or was completely formulaic.

In the first scene of Iron Man, Stark is yukking it up with some soldiers, drinking a scotch, and talking about how many Maxim cover models he’s bedded, when the convoy of humvees he is riding in gets attacked. As he watches soldiers around him one by one leave the humvee, and one by one get mercilessly gunned down, he decides…to also leave the humvee! Interesting strategic choice. Considering they were in the middle of the desert, there was only one way to escape – keep driving the bulletproof humvee and hope you get away. He gets out and starts running! After he reaches his goal of hiding behind a rock 20 feet away, a missile lands and messes up his shit anyway. He wakes up in a cave full of evil terrorists. Here, he meets a nice doctor who keeps him alive while helping him build his first Iron Man suit (Think of a cross between the Pillsbury Doughboy and C3P0 after being dismantled). The doctor also changes his personality by talking about his dead family. I would have to say the scene with the doctor “creating a decoy” is one of the top 10 jokes of a scene I have ever witnessed. It’s one thing to shoot your gun in the air to draw attention…but he starts shooting right at the entrance to the “iron man suit lab”. Why wouldn’t that send even more guys right there? Then, there is the part where he is running behind 3 enemies in a narrow tunnel. The doctor is still shooting his gun into the air, yelling. Why he doesn’t actually shoot the terrorists, who killed his family and imprisoned him, is beyond me. He eventually dies, and his death is supposed to lead to some sort of personal transformation of Stark, who humanely and maturely no longer thinks about banging really hot chicks. So, he retreats to his lab, where 2 ultra-smart, completely voice controlled robots that can pretty much do anything are his main lab buddies. The combination of Stark interacting with the robots over and over, and their ability to do anything possible with any voice command quickly got boring. It was like someone said “how quickly and easily can we get him to make this suit, so he can start flying around in it ASAP.” Throughout the movie, this ultra-smart, ubiquitous computer helps Stark every step of the way. This is true until the end sequence, when he has to fight Iron Monger, as listed in the credits, or The Dude, as everyone in the theater was thinking.

The ending sequence was really what scaled back any kind of excitement/respect I had for this movie. After this, I quickly slapped the “standard super hero movie” label on this guy, and never looked back. I guess we can start at the beginning of it, where Stane (villain’s real name) is standing around in his lab. Oh no, a knock at the door. I don’t know which was less realistic – Stane hopping into an enormous mech suit in 10 seconds that Iron Man needs his two genius robots to help him put on, or Gwen Paltrow’s brisk jog to safety while a fireball chases her down. This was the 2nd time that she “escaped” due to the weakest of scenarios. In the first, Pepper (Gwen’s character) is at Stark’s office computer when Stane walks in. She already knows hes the bad guy, so discreetly finishes her download of the incriminating files, then suavely puts the screen saver up just as Stane walks over. After she leaves, Stane removes the screen saver to see “download complete.” “NO!”, he exclaims in a kind of sigh / whine / tantrum combo. What will he do now? Oh wait…SHE IS 10 FEET OUTSIDE YOUR OFFICE, WALKING IN HIGH HEELS. Stane has a plan though. Instead of wasting time shutting up that pesky Pepper, who quickly alerts the entire military, he breaks into Stark’s house and waits for him. Here, we see for the 2nd time the “super ear weapon”, which after being used next to a person’s ear will make the veins in their face pop out, and will paralyze them for 15 minutes. Unless you are the terrorist he first uses it on, then it kills you. So, he paralyzes Stark, takes out his crucial power source for the suit, and leaves. Yes, he leaves the hero sitting on his couch, unmoving. This kind of negligence towards the powerful hero hasn’t been seen since the Bond days, unless you count the spoofing of it in Austin Powers. So…Stane can kill him while wearing huge mech suits, but can’t kill him while he’s sitting motionless on his couch?

As for the final fight itself, obviously much can be explained away with the easy cover of “technology”. Like when Stark gets thrown into a bus, then a missile is launched from 15 feet away into the same bus. I’ll believe that the suit prevented his body from reaching temperatures that would turn him into a puddle of goop, just like I’ll believe that in the first suit scene, not a single one of those bullets finds their way through one of the enormous eye holes in his mask. Oh wait, what am I thinking. Obviously the Arab terrorists aren’t smart enough to think of shooting at his potential weak points. Wild screams and panicked, inaccurate gunfire is all they can come up with. Speaking of those terrorists, the head guy reveals his master plan to Stane just before dying – to make 8 Iron Man suits and take over all of Asia!! Of course, how did I not see it before.

Anyway, as the final fight begins, obviously on the rooftop of the Stark Industries building, we have Stark and Stane squaring off in their mech suits. In what you think is his last gasp move, Stark flies up really high in the air. Stane is chasing him, and as they get higher, its pretty clear what is going to happen – the same thing that happened the only other time he flew really high into the air. This time, Stark doesn’t have much battery left in his suit, as the audience updater / character sounding board / perfect suit making computer system tells him. As predicted, at the high altitude Stane’s suit ices up, like Stark’s once did, while Stark’s doesn’t, since he had since changed the kind of metal in his suit. So, to set the scene, we have two people in mech suits, thousands of feet above ground. One of them is frozen, the other is not, but is running on emergency backup power. So, Stane’s frozen suit starts falling, while Iron Man’s fall is interrupted by intermittent bursts to slow his fall. Eventually, he lands safely, and starts to remove his suit, which I guess would suffocate him / be too heavy to move if it ran out of power while he was in it. BUT WAIT! Out of the sky, here comes…Stane? HELL NO. I will believe in super computers, I will believe in Iron Men, I will even believe that Jon Favreau cast himself as the driver with 3 lines (really? You couldn’t have just directed it?). But I will not believe that a free falling mass took longer to fall than one that was constantly being slowed down by rocket propulsions. If the movie had ended with a frozen Stane falling thousands of feet and, say, shattering into a million ice / metal pieces (I know, awesome right) it would’ve been a fine ending. I would’ve said “cool, they fought, Iron Man used his knowledge and experience of metal suit avionics, and he won. End of story”.

It was not, unfortunately, the end of the story. The exact sequence of events of the ending isn’t really coming all the way back to me, but lets just say that a big, swirling purple thing, described earlier in the movie as a “science project”, has the effect of electrocuting any metal that is around it. The swirling purpleness is located directly beneath a metal framework that once held windows. Now, the only thing there is Iron Man, hanging, powerless and helmetless, while Stane tees off on him with rockets. Trusty Gwen Paltrow is below with her finger on the button, but she can’t push it because Stark would die too. Its cool though – Stark tells her to push the button, then, gracefully and dramatically…rolls over about 4 feet away to some kind of metal platform on the side of the purple swirl chamber. Meanwhile, up on top of the building, Stane, who is at this point about 10 times farther away from the explosion, starts getting jolted like a guy with a jackhammer who just hit a live wire. Meanwhile, Stark, in his metal suit, lying on a metal platform, RIGHT NEXT TO THE INTENSE BEAM, is fine. So, presumably, is Pepper, who we last see pushing a button in a building that explodes 10 seconds later. I’m guessing she jogged away to safety.

The superlative I heard most about Iron Man was the “top 5 superhero movie of all time” claim. While this may be true, it gives way too much credit to Iron Man. Back when special effects were new, people made super hero movies that actually, probably blew people’s minds. Now, we’ve seen it all. Yeah, his suit was cool, but was it as cool as any of the Transformers? Yeah, its nice he’s a rich guy with a sweet house who builds a suit, but isn’t that the exact same thing as Batman? If this movie was the new Batman with sweeter special effects that would be one thing, but its not. Batman was dark and had some depth, while Iron Man clumsily tried to have morality – the “I never got to say goodbye to my dad and ask him about this business” part was interesting, but he said it in front of a room full of reporters…maybe it would’ve been a little more personally interesting if he had confessed it in the lab, alone with Pepper. Or even alone with his computers.

Iron Man has flash, sizzle, explosions, sex (if you consider some chick trying to bite Stark’s face off sex), and plenty of terrorists getting killed in ridiculous ways. What it doesn’t have is character development or any kind of desire to ground its high technology inventions in reality. I even tried to turn my brain off for the 2 hours I was there, to sit back and just enjoy the movie without overanalyzing. It almost worked, until I woke up this morning with my brain back on and full of questions.

– Warsh


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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It’s been two days, so I’ve given it time to set in, and your complaints are all just, but I still had one hell of a time at Iron Man. Maybe it was the bad ass music. I actually feel kinda conflicted about having a diatribe on why Iron Man was bad on my site, but I’m certainly not going to censor one of the founding Trifecta members. Once you step in to a fictional universe you best be expecting purple shit that only kills the bad guy and terrorists who can’t shoot at eye holes. I suspect The Dark Knight will cure all your Iron Man woes.

  2. mmmm Dark Knight…

  3. dude, its the movies. spiderman will rescue a trolley car of people by placing it on a trash boat and beat the band guy, the power rangers will always be able to call upon giant robots to beat the bad guy, and iron man will use the power of love to get his chick to press a button that kills the bad guy.

    it was a sweet superhero movie. there will be superhero ridiculousness

  4. Iron Man was practically flawless as a super hero flick; it drops pretty obvious hints that would indicate a sequel as well… i’m thinking the next one should be equally great

  5. the only fatal flaw in this movie that isnt easily dismissed by the “sweet superhero movie” defense is casting jeff bridges – who will forever be remembered as the laziest man in los angeles county by every 15-20something male in the world (about 90% of the people seeing this movie i’d assume) – as the evil obadiah stane/rick ross’ older albino brother. suspension of disbelief is one thing, but the Dude as a supervillain? thats just downright silly.

  6. I have to say, I, like the author, enjoyed the movie at first. What I did not do was go home and then critically analyze the entire movie. That said, before I entered the theater, I expected the kind of easy runs to safety and nonsensical survival of the protagonist that the author criticizes. Movies are often about escapism, getting away from the everyday. Super hero movies are even more so about seeing someone larger than life take on equally menacing villains. While movies like Batman Begins may be able to achieve the same levels of escapism and billionaire lionization without breaking some sort of logical progression, I don’t find the lack of it disturbing to my brain.

  7. djtavoacrjnrkabuwell, hi admin adn people nice forum indeed. how’s life? hope it’s introduce branch 😉

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