Friday, April 25, 2008

FanBoyWonder Cinema—Iron Man

Next week, fanboy film season formally kicks off with the May 2 release of Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jr. as the title character.

Here’s the Upshot from Paramount Pictures and Marvel Studios: Oscar ® nominee Robert Downey Jr. stars as Tony Stark/Iron Man in the story of a billionaire industrialist and genius inventor who is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Instead, using his intelligence and ingenuity, Stark builds a high-tech suit of armor and escapes captivity.

When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, Stark dons his powerful armor and vows to protect the world as Iron Man. The film also stars Oscar ® winner Gwyneth Paltrow and Oscar ® nominees Terrence Howard and Jeff Bridges and is directed by Jon Favreau.

FanBoyWonder has been digging the slow but steady buzz around this picture. We’ve been quite impressed by what we’ve seen in the trailer but our enthusiasm is tempered by the memory of two summers ago when both X-Men: The Last Stand and Superman Returns both boasted visually appealing, if narratively misleading, preview trailers of films that utterly failed to deliver when the house lights dimmed for the full-length film.

Nonetheless, we’re hopeful that we just may have a winner in Iron Man. Why? Because even as we’ve acknowledged that looks (and previews) can be deceiving, director Jon Favreau gives every appearance of having gotten the memo—that to make a good comic book motion picture, it’s character, character, character, THEN the funky super-powers.

As we’ve noted before, we like the selection of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark as they are a lot alike in many ways. Both brilliant talents in their own right who suffer from the demon of addiction—in the comics Tony Stark is a recovering alcoholic. In life, RDJ is a recovering addict of booze, drugs and being a Hollywood ass.

From what we understand, Favreau won’t be dealing with Stark’s substance abuse in this movie but it’s definitely potential for the sequel, assuming all goes well opening weekend. If they simply just adapted the classic Demon in a Bottle storyline for the screen, they would have a dead-bang character driven winner.

We are also encouraged by the reported cameo of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in the upcoming Incredible Hulk, staring Edward Norton and in theatres June 13 (we’ll be doing our own separate Hulk write-up another time).

With Downey’s cameo in Norton’s picture, it would seem to be a statement that Iron Man and the Hulk exist in the same motion picture universe. Dare we hope that an Avengers picture might not be too far behind?

Other films that FanBoyWonder is looking forward to this summer—Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, in theatres May 22 and of course, long awaited, much anticipated sequel Batman Begins—The Dark Knight, in theatres July 18.

Like (Stan) the man said…EXCELSIOR!…and we’ll see you…at the movies.

UPDATE--April 27: Iron Man director Jon Favreau told Comics Continuum that he already has ideas for an Iron Man sequel.

"I think Mandarin, for sure. I think War Machine, for sure," Favreau said during the Iron Man press junket in New York City on Sunday afternoon.

"I think you've got to go with War Machine. You've got to give Terrence (Howard, who plays James Rhodes) more to do. He really had to be patient in this one. He could have been Tony Stark if you wanted to go against the grain from what was in the books."

Howard was the first key actor cast in Iron Man, and like Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark) and Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts), was signed for three films.

"Once you break him out of the role he was relegated to in this one, I think he could go toe-to-toe with Robert and it could really be a cool buddy story," Favreau said. "And then you need some big bad guys and I think the bad guys are going to be tech-based for the most part."


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