Terrorism

Iron Man Confidential

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Early word on the latest Marvel Comic turned big-screen spectaculah, Iron Man? It's been updated from Vietnam to the War on Terror and is techno-riffic. From the Daily News:

Downey is Tony Stark, a millionaire arms inventor who, while giving a weapons demonstration to troops in Afghanistan, is attacked and kidnapped. Shoved in a cave by terrorists who give him a week to build a rocket from spare parts, Stark—who now has a magnetized sphere in his chest that keeps shrapnel in his body from entering his aorta—instead constructs a tank-suit that looks like the Michelin Man and boasts more goodies than a Swiss Army knife.

Back home at his L.A. mountaintop bachelor pad (which of course has a workshop General Motors would kill for), Stark experiences a true change of heart, deciding to stop making war machines. So he builds a suit of armor that flies like a jet, shoots energy blasts and helps keep his ticker going as he fights injustice.

The fact that Iron Man is a B-lister in the Marvel Comics stable doesn't stop director Jon Favreau and his writers from aiming high and generally hitting the target. Meanwhile, Stark's inner circle—including Gwyneth Paltrow (sexy and bookish) as his trusty assistant, Terrence Howard (tough and loyal) as his military connection, and Jeff Bridges (bald and menacing) as a mentor-turned-villain—lend a touch of class.

But cruising above it all is Downey. Since Iron Man's helmet has no nose and a little rectangular mouth, the smartest thing Favreau did was cast a lead who's constantly alive. The few times the red-and-yellow battle gear is front and center in "Transformers"-ish action moments, Favreau often shows his star's face inside the shell-head. As Downey pumps life into every scene, it's clear the actor, long regarded as one of the best of his generation, has not let the rust set in after his battle with drugs a decade ago.

Sexy and bookish? Bald and menacing? Tough and loyal? It sounds like they're really blazing new trails!

More here.

I salute Iron Man because he, along with the board game MonopolyDallas, Bruce Jenner, Jimmy Carter's cardigans, and Bobby Fischer helped us beat the Russkies when it mattered (until his death earlier this year, the insaniac former chess champ Fischer was helping us defeat Islamism by identifying as anti-Western[*]). And because Iron Man points the way to the coming age of the cyborg (or cyborg-like humans), which we're already in. Everytime you see someone with a cochlear implant (look carefully) or a pacemaker or wearing a wrist-guard for carpal tunnel syndrome, there beats the adamantium heart of Iron Man. If you can't be a full-blown mutant (thanks for nothing Mom and Dad) and are a couple standard deviations down the Bell Curve from homo superior, you might as well have microprocessors and exoskeleton-like devices up the ying-yang.

But enough with the drug-story backstory on RDJ (and Iron Man, who battled the sauce longer than he did The Mandarin, one of the last great gasps of full-blown Orientalist fantasy is post-war pop cult)! Spencer Tracy had problems—including a penchant for locking himself in hotel room bathtubs for an entire weekend while drinking and pissing himself into stupor—but you don't have to know that to enjoy Bad Day at Black Rock, do you?

All you need to know about Tony Stark–a cool exec with a heart of steel and two fistfuls of "repulsor rays"–in 22 seconds:

Bonus video: Black Sabbath asks the musical question "Can he walk and talk?,' etc. in this great home-brewed video.

[*]: Corrected spelling and life status of Fischer thanks to reader UCrawford.

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  1. Sexy and bookish? Bald and menacing? Tough and loyal? It sounds like they’re really blazing new trails!

    LOL! fantastic! don’t forget the “mentor turned adversary”.

    maybe they could have a scene where one says, “I see everything so clearly now”, and the other says, “yeah. I’m four hours from retiring”.

    and then they get hit by an escaped emu and their car blows up.

  2. Bobby Fischer is actually not helping us or Islam, since he died in January.

    I agree that the Iron Man movie looks great, though. Nice to see Robert Downey Jr getting a starring role in a big-budget film. When I first found out he was Iron Man, I couldn’t help but be impressed that Favreau had cast the perfect actor to play the Tony Stark character (particularly in regards to Stark’s alcoholism…which will apparently be an issue in the next films). I think it’s going to be excellent.

  3. LOL! fantastic! don’t forget the “mentor turned adversary”.

    The Batman reboot did this well, as well.

  4. Iron Man has kind of moved up from the B-list of Marvel superheroes in recent years, as he took a leading role in the recent superhero Civil War. Iron Man argued in favor of all superhumans having to register with the government. It’s been an interesting metaphor for the debate of civil liberties, in which the anti-registration camp is either the ACLU or the NRA, depending on how you choose to read it.

    It has nothing to do with the movie, but I highly recommend the Civil War story line.

  5. We’ll see. I don’t trust Hollywood as far as I can throw Iron Man.

  6. Shit, I am spaced out today.

    I don’t trust Hollywood about as far as I can throw Iron Man.

  7. This article had me until they said Gwyneth Paltrow was at all sexy.

  8. This article had me until they said Gwyneth Paltrow was at all sexy.

    You are clearly gay and belong over at conservopedia.

  9. Epi,

    Well, maybe if you used your adamantium arm. [snigger]

    (There is no adamantium in Iron Man, guys. And you call yourselves journalists…)

    Geeks in the service of geeks, Wikipedia:

    Agent Zero’s combat knife

    The outer skin of some of Alkhema’s robotic bodies

    Battlestar’s shield

    Bullseye’s spinal column and some strips coating several of his bones.

    Constrictor’s original wrist-mounted, prehensile metal coils

    Cyber’s claws and skin

    A unique set of Doctor Octopus’ arms

    Hammerhead’s skull plate

    The outer layer of Citizen V’s rapier

    Lady Deathstrike’s skeleton and talons

    One of Mister Fantastic’s labs for extremely dangerous experiments

    Moon Knight’s crescent blades

    A unique suit of armor once used by the villain Stilt-Man

    The robotic body of TESS-One

    The outer skin of some of Ultron’s robotic bodies

    Wolverine’s skeleton and claws

    X-23’s claws

    One of several layers of containment at the superhuman incarceration facility known as the Vault

    An outer coating on the Swordsman’s blades.

    Although Wikipedia does omit that some iterations of Captain America’s shield have been pure adamantium or blends/laminates. I’m going to go correct it… as soon as Mom’s done with the laundry and I can go back to the basement. The fabric softener makes me itchy.

  10. I saw something recently that implied the predecessor to Monopoly was invented to make an argument against capitalism. The theory was that if you taught people that every time four people played the game there would eventually be three losers and only one winner, therefore people would be more inclined to accept communism. I don’t know if it is true, but I found it an interesting take.

  11. I’m so conflicted about this movie. On the one hand, Iron Man sucks. Never an interesting hero, he played in the minor leagues for 40 years until Civil War, where he’s basically just Sean Hannity with money. On the other hand, I do like Jon Favreau.

  12. This article had me until they said Gwyneth Paltrow was at all sexy.

    You are clearly gay and belong over at conservopedia.

    Let’s kick this up a notch. Paltrow is very good looking but she is as stiff as LMNOP’s schlong when he sees her.

    Bonus note: I was sitting behind her mother at an off-Broadway play in the Village one time. Being the dick that I am, and bored because it was a one-woman play (and as excruciating as one would expect), I started commenting to my friends on how shitty an actress Gwyneth was. Blythe shot me some dirty looks; it was great.

  13. Gwynny was awesome in The Royal Tennenbaums. I haven’t watched many of her other movies, but in that movie she rocked.

  14. Downey didn’t “battle drugs” he battled the judicial system (and lost). He doesn’t have a ‘drug problem’ he has a ‘legal problem’.

  15. @ Reinmoose

    Re: Royal Tennenbaums,, yes, she did. I love that movie.

    @ Nick

    Thanks for mentioning Bad Day at Black Rock. Definitely one of my favorite “Man comes to town” movies. Reasonoids, if you haven’t seen it, you really ought to. Spencer Tracy, Ernest Borgnine, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan , Anne Francis? Put it in your Netflix queue.

  16. Downey didn’t “battle drugs” he battled the judicial system (and lost). He doesn’t have a ‘drug problem’ he has a ‘legal problem’.

    Downey doesn’t see it that way. He had an interesting interview in the NYT a couple of weeks ago about how his experience with drugs and the penal system made him a closet conservative.

  17. Abdul,
    Well you know. Actors have to tow the (heavy braid nylon) line for the WOD. But I’d be interested in what RDJ had to say anyway. Link?

  18. Downey doesn’t see it that way. He had an interesting interview in the NYT a couple of weeks ago about how his experience with drugs and the penal system made him a closet conservative.

    Yeah, I read that. He spoke about waking up in a pool of blood multiple times and strongly implied he’d been raped.

    However, instead of becoming a conservative maybe he should have become a libertarian and supported an end to the WOD which would result in people like him not having to go to prison and get raped.

    But I guess I can’t fault him for hating violent criminals who physically assaulted him.

  19. You had me at Gwyneth Paltrow (sexy and bookish)

  20. Warren,

    Here you go: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/movies/20carr.html

    Money quote: “”I have a really interesting political point of view, and it’s not always something I say too loud at dinner tables here, but you can’t go from a $2,000-a-night suite at La Mirage to a penitentiary and really understand it and come out a liberal. You can’t. I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone else, but it was very, very, very educational for me and has informed my proclivities and politics every since.”

    (Suffice it to say he is not one of the Hollywood types who weeps over innocents trapped behind bars.)”

  21. Downey didn’t “battle drugs” he battled the judicial system (and lost). He doesn’t have a ‘drug problem’ he has a ‘legal problem’.

    I think Downey really did have a drug problem, just like some have drinking problems.

  22. This is Buttkiss, Klahn’s bodyguard – he is tough and ruthless. This is Kwong, Klahn’s chauffeur – he is rough and toothless.

  23. Let’s kick this up a notch. Paltrow is very good looking but she is as stiff as LMNOP’s schlong when he sees her.

    LOL. I’d say middlingly sexy, not break your leash sexy.

    As an actress, her performances are pretty uneven. She was boring in Seven, but quite good in Sliding Doors. Shakespeare in Love, she was *alright* (I didn’t think Oscar-worthy).

  24. LOL. I’d say middlingly sexy, not break your leash sexy.

    Not even. She’s all looks and no heat.

  25. it was a one-woman play (and as excruciating as one would expect)

    (!)
    This could only be compensated for by truly awesome sex, with a girl who makes Gwyneth Paltrow look like Margaret Hamilton.

  26. I salute Iron Man because he, along with the board game Monopoly, Dallas, Bruce Jenner, Jimmy Carter’s cardigans, and Bobby Fischer helped us beat the Russkies when it mattered

    Man, Gillespie, you must be in throes of an intense mid-life crisis. But you’ve also helped me realize how much the late 70’s really sucked.

  27. OK, Read the NYT piece. Sounds like he was having more problems with drugs than I remember at the time.

    He doesn’t say anything about his political (conversion? revelation? genesis? evolution?) beyond the ‘money quote’. And that confuses me, most of the time coming contact with the penal system drives people straight to the ACLU.

  28. how much the late 70’s really sucked.

    Compared to what?
    I’ll take the 70’s over any decade since.

  29. If they were gonna use that Black Sabbath song, they should used the theme of the song instead of that trite plot.

  30. maybe they could have a scene where one says, “I see everything so clearly now”, and the other says, “yeah. I’m four hours from retiring”.

    and then they get hit by an escaped emu and their car blows up.

    Dammit Moose! If you’re going to keep making jokes about them, I’m going to stop showing you my screenplays.

  31. At least they have enough of a clue to use the Black Sabbath song for this movie. The ’98 Godzilla remake will have my eternal hatred for (besides being a terrible movie) not using the great B?C song.

  32. The comment on prison making him a closet conservative could mean a lot of things. For one thing, it could mean it made him a closet libertarian.

    But I think it’s more likely along the lines of what Episiarch said–he probably means he’s not under the impression that there are a lot of oppressed innocents in prison. Which may or may not mean he’s pro-WOD.

  33. The current issue of Popular Science has an article on the current state of mechanical exoskeletons. On-line version at http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2008-04/building-real-iron-man

    Also, you missed correcting one “Fisher”.

  34. Not even. She’s all looks and no heat.

    Ya a full frontal fuck scene a’la Haley Barry in Monsters Ball would do her career wonders.

  35. the movie is p fucking good fyi

  36. At least they have enough of a clue to use the Black Sabbath song for this movie. The ’98 Godzilla remake will have my eternal hatred for (besides being a terrible movie) not using the great B?C song.

    You can’t top lyrics like –

    ?He picks up a bus and he throws it back down
    As he wades through the buildings toward the center of town

    Oh no, they say hes got to go
    Go go godzilla, yeah
    Oh no, there goes tokyo
    Go go godzilla, yeah?

    Yeah, there was some good stuff in the ’70s.

  37. Iron Man argued in favor of all superhumans having to register with the government. It’s been an interesting metaphor for the debate of civil liberties, in which the anti-registration camp is either the ACLU or the NRA, depending on how you choose to read it.

    This is not surprising that Iron Man took this position.

    Iron Man’s powers are not innate. Iron Man can be disarmored, just as an armed person can be disarmed.

  38. Gwyneth is plenty good-looking, if seemingly anemic. It’s the whole “vegan/married to Coldplay dweeb/naming kid ‘Apple'” thingy that splashes cold water on the proceedings.

  39. Ol’ Shellhead was always one of my faves. Excelsior!

  40. Back when I was still reading comic books (and yes, shellhead had the red and gold suit by then), Iron Man was definitely NOT B-list. Then he went through all the alcoholism thing. Were all the other superheroes ashamed to be seen with him? How did he fall off the A-list?

    In any case, I agree that Downey is an amazing choice for Stark. I’ll probably go and see this movie; if I miss it in theatres, I will definitely get it from Netflix. With all respect to Gwyneth, Blythe Danner was the bomb.

  41. Enough about Stark! If I had his PR guys, nobody would have ever heard about his “Golden Avenger.” I was climbing inside a metal suit when he was just a gleam in his old man’s eye!

  42. I just got back from Iron Man. Absolutely an excellent movie. Downey is awesome.

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