I Am Iron Man

Went to see Iron Man last night. The trailer had me a-titter in a way that, say, the new Indiana Jones' didn't. I thought the casting inspired. Jon Favreau hasn't done me wrong yet. And Rotten Tomatoes had the movie at a whoppingly fresh 94%. Thus, Iron Man was singled out as one of the few films I was going to see in theaters this year.

I wasn't disappointed. Top notch effects, great actions scenes, good acting, a very funny robot pit crew, and it felt distinct from other superhero movies (a must). But what I most liked was that it sounded like a Jon Favreau film. The dialogue, with people constantly speaking over one another, felt very natural and reminded me of Swingers and Made. Comic book movies so often sound "written", with one-liners taking up the bulk of the dialogue, and exposition the rest. Not so here. Between that and the "current affairs" environment, Iron Man had a realistic vibe running through it.

And for the geek (and here come the spoilers, by the way), there's a nice number of references to the comics too. I was impressed at how well they were integrated into the script so as to not usually call attention to themselves or make non-geek audiences scratch their heads, and yet feel like the makers paid homage to the entirety if Iron Man comics through the decades.

Attempting a full list (from memory, feel free to add to it):
-Iron Man's origins in the middle of a war zone (Afghanistan taking the place of Vietnam).
-Tony's problems with alcohol.
-Tony being a billionaire jackass (a mix of the current incarnation and Ultimate Iron Man).
-The original iron suit.
-The gold iron suit.
-The original 60s supporting cast: Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan.
-From the 80s supporting cast: Rhodey.
-Rhodey gives a silver suit a longing look.
-A Mongolian terrorist with a large ring recalls the Mandarin, and his terrorist organization is called the Ten Rings. In the comics, the Mandarin indeed had 10 aliens rings, each with its own power.
-Obadiah Stane and the Iron Monger suit (that name dropped in conversation).
-SHIELD makes an appearance, and it's true that it's a big part of current Iron Man stories.
-The motivation to destroy weapons he's created is reminiscent of Armor Wars.
-The obligatory cameo by Iron Man co-creator Stan Lee.
-Dr. Yinsen suffers a nationality change, but is once again part of Iron Man continuity.
-At the awards show, the orchestra plays the 60s Iron Man cartoon theme.
-The bodyguard cover story is given lip service, but discarded.
-And the big one, Tony's home A.I. is called Jarvis, after the Avengers' butler (and Stark employee).

And in the small bit after the credits...
-Ultimate Nick Fury shows up as played by Samuel Jackson, the man the comic book character was modeled on.
-Not only are the Avengers mentioned, but the word "Initiative" as well.

That's what I remember... anything else you'd call a reference to Iron Man continuity?


Nicholas Yankovec said...

The jet fighters were called "Whiplash" after Iron Man's old enemy.

Anonymous said...

Iron Man was a practically flawless hero flick; its makers drop some pretty obvious sequel hints too... i'm thinking the next one should be equally great

Matthew Turnage said...

Other references: Tony's crisis of conscience over weapons manufacturing, leading him to abandon that part of the business (a storyline back in the early '70s); Professor Yinsen's death serving as a distraction while Tony waits helplessly for his armor to charge (straight out of Tales of Suspense #39); his heart-saving technology actually inserted into his chest (happened during Quesada's brief stint writing the book in the late '90s); the Jarvis set-up in the movie, while named after the Avengers' (and Stark family) butler, in function was basically the same as his HOMER system in the early '90s.

Unknown said...

I didn't stay after the credits. The wife had to pee.

And I have to admit that I caught 95% of the references you mentioned.

Damn, I love being an Iron Man geek.

Austin Gorton said...

Totally missed that they were playing the original theme song music at the awards show.

What an awesome movie..

Anonymous said...

Iron Man did for the recent Superhero movie craze what Casino Royal did for James Bond... It was a great movie.

Not just in the genre, but alltogether. I recently was watching Made, writen by John Favreau with the commentaries (very worth it if you never watched a Favreau/Vaughn commentary track... you are missing out!) and what he was talking about when he made Made, about how he choses to create a balance between emotions even in a comedy... he does this here.

Favreau IS BRILLIANT! (dude... i think i have a man crush on Favreau... this just got weird)

Anonymous said...

The one thing that leapt out at me in the movie was when Stark puts the old arc reactor unit back in his chest.

When Pepper took out the wire, she pulled the electromagnet coil out too. Stark didn't replace it before putting the new reactor in. The new arc reactor might have had one built in, but the old one must not have.

So I'm not sure how putting the old reactor back in his chest, without the magnet to pull the shrapnel away from the heart, would be of any use.

Other than that quibble, it was awesome. Better than X-Men, probably because there was only one hero to introduce, and his origin was very well handled.

rob! said...

just saw it today, thoroughly enjoyed it.

never being that big of an IM fan in the comics, it didn't have the resonance with me, say, an Aquaman movie would, but i bet if i was a lifelong IronMan fan i would've gone nuts for this movie.

very funny, good action, Downey kicks ass. the final (pre-credits) scene is great in a "what the hell" kinda manner.

and that Nick Fury scene is to a fanboy what that cheeseburger was to tony after his 3 months in captivity.


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