“IRON MAN” (Robert Downey, Jr., Gwenyth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges & Terrence Howard) / “MADE OF HONOR” (Patrick Dempsey & Michelle Monaghan)
This was a trade-off weekend – my wife went to ‘Iron Man’ for me & I went to ‘Made Of Honor’ for her. The reason I’m lumping them together is we both liked both movies. ‘Iron Man’ isn’t your typical ‘Comic Book Superhero Extravaganza’ & ‘Made Of Honor’, though definitely ‘chick flicky’, was a cut above the normal dumb romantic comedy. So if you’re looking for a good something for him/something for her combo with your date, I’d recommend this duo; she’ll be surprised how good Iron Man is & he’ll be shocked that Made Of Honor doesn’t totally suck.
That said – here’s my “IRON MAN” review...
Let me begin by telling you I DON’T LIKE COMIC BOOK SUPERHERO MOVIES; I loathed the first ‘Spiderman’ & was very upset with Roger Ebert for singing the praises of ‘Spiderman 2’ & tricking me into spending money to sit thru that piece of trash. I liked the new Christian Bale ‘Batman Begins’, but didn’t like any of the Michael Keaton, (etc.) Batman movies. The only Superman movie worth a darn was ‘#2’ with Christopher Reeves. I felt it necessary for you to know my background on the genre so when I tell you I loved ‘Iron Man’, you’ll realize this isn’t coming from a comic book geek. I don’t know if I ever read an Iron Man comic! My only reason for wanting to see this film version was Robert Downey, Jr. in the starring role & of course, the obvious cameo by Ozzy. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first; Ozzy Osbourne does not make an appearance in the film. The good news – Robert Downey, Jr. steals it, so it’s not that much of a disappointment.
This is a character driven story that doesn’t involve anything all that far-fetched (No radioactive spiders or beings from other planets) Tony Stark(Downey) is an arms creator/ manufacturer. He runs Stark Industries with his late father’s partner, Obadiah (Jeff Bridges, barely recognizable with a shaved head & bushy grey beard)
After conducting a demonstration of his latest ‘weapon of mass destruction’ in Afghanistan, Tony is kidnapped by terrorists who want him to build them one. With the aid of another prisoner(Who saved Tony’s life) Stark ‘pretends’ to build the bomb while actually constructing a suit of armor that would protect him as he just walked out of captivity. (Rocket boosters would help propel him to a safe distance as well)
If there’s a downside to this movie, it’s that a little too much time is spent with ‘technical’ scenes showing how the plans were conceived & the suit is built. But if they edited the scenes, I’d probably complain that they ‘made it look too easy to build’ – They must have reached a happy medium because I loved this film! On the other hand – the ‘test drive’ scenes where Tony 'irons' out the kinks in his new gadget are among the most enjoyable; his 'relationship' with his robotic aides provide many genuinely funny moments. Yes, this film has it all – the terrorist aspect makes it scary; Tony’s redemption gives it heart & makes you ultimately cheer for the ‘war monger’; Gwenyth Paltrow (as Stark’s assistant Pepper Potts) provides sweetness & a ‘spark’ of romantic chemistry; & Jeff Bridges plays his role as sly as Howard Cosell – right from the moment you meet him, there’s just something about him you don’t like. Terrence Howard, who has been on a role lately, plays Tony’s best friend Jim Rhodes & even though he isn’t given one of the ‘juicy’ roles, he adds to the believability of the entire story by being an average, ‘centered’ character.
But this is totally Robert Downey, Jr.’s baby – If, like me, you’re a fan & was concerned over his choice to take on a ‘Superhero’ role – don’t be. He’s Robert Downey, Jr. playing a fast talking womanizing weapons genius & pulling it off as only he can. Iron Man isn’t a ‘super’ hero – he’s a guy in a ‘suit of armor’ that allows him to do ‘superhero’ tasks. This is an actual ‘story’, well acted, with excellent character development. & for those who are jones-ing for the ‘rock ‘em, smash ‘em superhero special effects scenes, well, it’s got that as well, just not on a continual loop.
Go see ‘Iron Man’ even if you don’t like ‘Comic Book’ movies – I believe you will be pleasantly surprised. I don’t mean to sound snobbish (Cause I hate those kind of critics) but this is the ‘Superhero’ movie for those of us who don’t normally care for ‘dumbed-down’ Superhero movies. You know the kind – where plot doesn’t matter, it is only used to set up the next spectacular special effects scene.
Oh, & a warning for you non-Comic Book Superhero Movie fans that go to this – If they tell you ahead of time to stay seated thru the credits for a ‘special’ surprise – don’t bother; it is just a :15 promo for another Comic Book Superhero Movie starring Samuel L. Jackson... I was hoping it would be the ‘deleted’ scene with Ozzy!
“MADE OF HONOR” isn’t as bad as the trailer makes it out to be; the preview is aimed at the ladies & the actual movie isn’t that silly or sappy. It has its silly & sappy moments, but it is ‘watchable’. Patrick Dempsey plays womanizer Tom; his best friend is Hannah (Michelle Monaghan) they met when he mistakenly climbed into bed with her in her college dormitory. There’s no real character development as they just jump to ’10 Years Later’ & we see Tom bringing ‘buddy’ Hannah some coffee (with the phone number of a woman he just met written on her cup)
As I sat thru the early scenes, checking my watch (counting down the minutes until I could escape) I was feeling correct in my assumption that this would be a long, agonizing process. But somewhere along the road, it stopped being ‘ridiculously stupid’ & started having some realistic scenes with honest emotion involved as Tom realizes he’s in love with Hannah – after being without her company for 6 weeks when she is sent to Scotland by the museum she works for. Tom’s male buddies provide some humorous moments & I have to say that even though Michelle Monaghan isn’t a ‘wondrous’ beauty by any means, she looks pretty hot prancing around in the lingerie scene.
I might say the movie gets off track by making the Scottish hunk that Hannah falls in love with too nice of a guy; the formula should be that Tom is such a better person than Colin (Kevin McKidd) that we want him to get the better of Hannah’s fiancé & win her away – but Colin is perfect in every way – a nice guy; filthy rich; good looking, & apparently very well endowed (But fortunately I finally got a movie that didn’t show us proof of such! WHEW!) Yes, my initial reaction was that’s a mistake – Colin should be flawed in some way (& I guess the fact that he likes to hunt & kill defenseless animals is one flaw) but it apparently is what Scottish men do to prove their manliness since they run around in skirts a lot of the time!
I don’t know, maybe I was on a high after seeing ‘Iron Man’, but by the time they got to the typical & predictable sappy ending, I’d stopped looking at my watch long ago...