Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Iron Man - Review

As I exited the theatre doors on Friday night, having just braved hordes of pubescent comic book geeks and equally geeky cinephiles (myself among them) to watch Iron Man, I let out a long satisfying sigh.

“A sigh?” you ask. Surely I would have been screeching with my movie-going brethren; singing Iron Man’s praises at the top of my lungs for all skeptics to hear.

Nope. I chose to express my opinion in the form of a sigh. A sigh can mean many things, you know. Every feeling I have for Jon Favreau’s young summer hit can be encapsulated by a sigh. Let’s take a closer look at how this peculiar (oft misunderstood) human sound can describe how Iron Man is the best release of the year, so far:

A Sigh of Relief:
Summer movies get a bad wrap. Just the term “summer movie” is enough to send chills up one’s spine (useful for those of us with no air conditioning this summer) with memories of pungent sequels, remakes, and effects heavy claptrap. Iron Man should not be classified as a “summer movie”. It’s perfectly enjoyable any day of the year. Yet it had the responsibility to officially kick off the summer movie season, and to my relief, it did so in terrific fashion.

A Sigh of Exhilaration:
You know that excited exhale you release after you step off a roller coaster? Having never ridden a roller coaster, I wouldn’t know, but that’s what I felt after leaving Iron Man. Its action sequences are as good as any you’ll see in such movies, and Favreau, smartly, does not over-saturate his film with these heart-pounding moments. The sound design is fantastic (I’m pleasantly unsurprised). Ditto for the VFX.

A Sigh of Surprise:
Iron Man is not completely devoid of the unexpected, despite its formulaic plot. But it surprised me that the movie’s high caliber action and production values were not the most interesting assets. I was much more taken with the strength of the cast’s performance (special note to the smarmy and slick Robert Downey Jr.) and the cheeky jokes and dialogue. The picture is thoroughly entertaining the whole way through, so much so that I was disappointed when it ended.

A Sigh of Foreboding:
See this movie while you can, while it retains its novelty and freshness. There is no doubt that sequels will be spawned in summers to come, especially since it’s had such a massive opening weekend and strong critical response. Now I don’t have anything against sequels in particular, but I’ve never seen a sequel to a comic book movie I liked more than the original (storm clouds for The Dark Knight? We’ll see).

This dissertation on the sigh could go on forever, but I wouldn’t want to cause you sighs of boredom and frustration. I’ll just close by saying I’m even more confident with my sound and FX predix for Iron Man now than I was before: “Oscar for you!”

*** out of ****

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