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Information about Iron Man (film)Iron Man is a 2008 (5 years ago) American superhero movie based on the Marvel (19 walls) Comics character of the same name. Directed by Jon Favreau, the movie stars Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist and master engineer who builds a powered exoskeleton and becomes the technologically advanced superhero, Iron Man. Gwyneth Paltrow (6 walls) plays his personal assistant Pepper Potts, Terrence Howard plays military liaison James Rhodes and Jeff Bridges plays Stark Industries executive Obadiah Stane.
The movie was in development since 1990 (23 years ago) at Universal Studios, 20th Century Fox, and New Line Cinema, before Marvel (19 walls) Studios reacquired the rights in 2006 (7 years ago). Marvel (19 walls) put the project in production as its first self-financed film. Favreau signed on as director, aiming for a naturalistic feel, and he chose to shoot the movie primarily in California, rejecting the East Coast setting of the comics to differentiate the movie from numerous superhero movies set in New York City-esque environments. During filming, the actors were free to create their own dialogue because pre-production was focused on the story and action. Rubber and metal versions of the armors, created by Stan Winston's company, were mixed with computer-generated imagery to create the title character.
Marvel (19 walls) Studios and Paramount Pictures, the distributor, planned a $50 million marketing campaign for the film, which was modeled on Paramount's successful promotion of Transformers; Hasbro and Sega sold merchandise, and product placement deals were made with Audi, Burger King, LG and 7-Eleven. Reviews were mostly positive, particularly praising Downey's performance. Downey, Favreau and Paltrow will return in the sequel Iron Man 2, scheduled for release on May 7, 2010 (3 years ago). Downey also made a cameo appearance as Stark in The Incredible Hulk.
PlotTony Stark gambles at a Las Vegas casino, leaving his deceased father's friend and business partner, Obadiah Stane, to accept a prestigious award for him. As Stark leaves the casino with his entourage, he is approached by reporter Christine Everhart, whom he charms into a one-night stand at his Malibu house. When she awakens the next morning, Stark is gone and she is coldly greeted and helped on the way by Pepper Potts, his personal assistant.
Stark flies off to war-torn Afghanistan with his friend and company military liaison, Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes, for a demonstration of Stark Industries' new weapon, the "Jericho" cluster missile. On the way back, however, his military convoy is attacked. In the firefight, his escort is wiped out and Stark himself is knocked unconscious by one of his own company's bombs.
Waking up in an Afghan cave, he discovers an electromagnet embedded in his chest, placed there by fellow captive Dr. Yinsen. Powered by a car battery, it keeps shrapnel from working its way to his heart and killing him. Stark has been captured by a terrorist group known as the Ten Rings, whose leader, Raza, orders Stark to build a Jericho missile for him.
Instead, during his three months of captivity, he and Yinsen begin secretly building a crude suit of armor, powered by a miniature "arc reactor." Finally, the terrorists grow impatient and give Stark 24 hours to finish. Unfortunately, the terrorists become suspicious of their activities before the suit is fully activated, so Yinsen makes a suicidal attack in a desperate bid to buy time. Once the armor is ready, Stark charges through the caves. Near the entrance, a dying Yinsen tells him not to waste his life. Forever grateful to Yinsen, Stark burns all the munitions the terrorists have accumulated and then flies away, only to crash in the desert. Stark survives, but his suit is destroyed. After being rescued by Rhodes, Stark announces at a press conference that his company will no longer manufacture weapons. Stane tells him shortly thereafter that his decision is being blocked by the board of directors of Stark Industries.
Stark focuses his energies on building a better version of his power suit, while making an improved arc reactor for his chest. Once the new reactor replaces the old one, Potts gives Stark a gift: his first miniature reactor encased in glass and bearing the inscription, "Proof that Tony Stark has a heart". During Stark's first public appearance since his return, he spots Potts wearing a dress and realizes that he has romantic feelings for his assistant. As they are about to share a kiss, Potts interrupts them by asking for a martini.
While ordering the drinks, Stark is accosted by Everhart, who shows him pictures (wallpaper) of Stark Industries weapons, including Jericho missiles, recently delivered to insurgents. He realizes that Stane has been supplying both the Americans and their enemies, and attempting to remove Stark from power. Enraged, Stark dons the power suit, flies to Afghanistan and rescues Gulmira, Yinsen's village, from the Ten Rings. While leaving, Stark attracts the attention of the United States Air Force, which dispatches two F-22 Raptors to try to identify the mysterious flying object. Rhodes is consulted about the nature of the object, but cannot offer help, and the fighters are ordered to destroy the target. During the resulting dogfight, Stark has time to reveal to Rhodes that he is the unidentified target. One of the planes is accidentally destroyed when it collides with Stark. The pilot ejects, but his parachute does not deploy, so Stark rescues him before escaping.
Stark sends Potts to hack into the company computer system. She discovers that Stane hired the Ten Rings to kill Stark. The group reneged on the deal upon discovering who the target was, which ultimately seals their fate when Stane has them eliminated later. She also learns Stane has recovered the pieces of the original power suit and reverse-engineered his own version, one much larger and more powerful than Stark's. As she leaves Stane's office, she meets Agent Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D., a newly-established counter-terrorism government agency, who has been accosting her and Stark about an interview concerning Stark's escape from the Ten Rings.
After she leaves, Stane discovers what she has done. Stane goes to his group of scientists, and is angered when they state that they cannot duplicate the arc reactor technology that Tony created. Later that evening, Stane ambushes Stark in his house, using a Stark Industries device to temporarily paralyze him. While revealing his plan to take over Stark Industries, Stane removes the arc reactor from Stark's chest and leaves him to die. However, Stark gets to Potts' gift and re-installs his original reactor. Meanwhile, Stane returns to Stark Enterprises where SHIELD agents, guided by Potts, break in to arrest him, only to be attacked by Stane in the now functional Iron Monger armor.
Although his original reactor is underpowered for his latest armor, Stark races to the rescue, and a battle erupts between him and Stane. Finding himself outmatched, Stark lures Stane atop the Stark Industries building. With no power left, Stark instructs Potts to overload the full-sized reactor in the building. This unleashes a massive electrical surge that knocks Stane unconscious and sends him falling through the ceiling into the reactor itself, apparently incinerating him.
The next day, it is revealed that the press has dubbed Stark's alter ego "Iron Man". Rhodes gives reporters a false explanation of what happened. Before speaking, Stark briefly makes an attempt to establish a romantic relationship with Potts, but is put on hold. During the press conference, Stark starts to tell the cover story given to him by S.H.I.E.L.D., but then instead announces openly that he is Iron Man.
In a post-credits scene, Stark is visited by S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury who notes that Stark is not "the only superhero in the world" and states he wants to discuss the "Avenger Initiative".
CastRobert Downey Jr. as Anthony "Tony" Stark / Iron Man: A billionaire industrialist, genius inventor, and consummate playboy, he is CEO of Stark Industries, a chief weapons manufacturer for the U.S. military. The son of a Manhattan Project engineer, Howard Stark, he is an engineering prodigy, having built a circuit board at four years old and an engine at six, as well as graduating from MIT summa cum laude at the age of 17. He takes charge of Stark Industries at the age of 21 from Stane, who had been in control of the company since Howard's death.
Favreau had planned to cast a newcomer in the role, but ultimately chose Downey (a fan of the comic) because he felt the actor's past made him an appropriate choice for the part. "The best and worst moments of Robert's life have been in the public eye," the director explained. "He had to find an inner balance to overcome obstacles that went far beyond his career. That's Tony Stark. Robert brings a depth that goes beyond a comic book character who is having trouble in high school, or can't get the girl." Favreau also felt Downey could make Stark a "likable asshole", but also depict an authentic emotional journey once he won over the audience.
Downey had an office next to Favreau during pre-production, which allowed him greater involvement in the screenwriting process. He brought a deeper sense of humor to the movie not present in previous drafts of the script. He explained, "What I usually hate about these [superhero] movies [is] when suddenly the guy that you were digging turns into Dudley Do-Right, and then you're supposed to buy into all his 'Let's go do some good!' That Eliot Ness-in-a-cape-type thing. What was really important to me was to not have him change so much that he's unrecognizable. When someone used to be a schmuck and they're not anymore, hopefully they still have a sense of humor." To prepare, Downey spent five days a week weight training and practiced martial arts to get into shape, which benefitted him because "it's hard not to have a personality meltdown...after about several hours in that suit. I'm calling up every therapeutic moment I can think of to just get through the day."
Howard preparing for the role by riding an F-16 flight simulatorTerrence Howard as Lt. Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes: A friend of Stark's, and the liaison between Stark Industries and the U.S. Air Force in the department of acquisitions. Favreau cast Howard because he felt he could play War Machine in a sequel. Howard prepared for the role by visiting Nellis Air Force Base on Mar. 16, 2007 (6 years ago), where he ate with the pilots and observed HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue helicopters and F-22 Raptors. While Rhodes is roguish in the comics after he met Stark, his earlier disciplinarian character forms a dynamic with Stark, and he is unsure whether or not Stark's actions are acceptable. "Rhodey is completely disgusted with the way Tony has lived his life, but at a certain point he realizes that perhaps there is a different way," Howard said. "Whose life is the right way; is it the strict military life, or the life of an independent?"
Howard and his father are Iron Man fans, partly because Rhodes was one of the few black superheroes when he was a child. He was a Downey fan since he saw him in Weird Science, and they competed physically on set: "Robert and his competitive ass almost tore my shoulder trying to keep up with him. Because I'm 40 or 50 pounds heavier than him, so I'm in there lifting and I pushed up about 225 pounds [102 kg] and knocked it out 10 times. Robert wanted to go about 235 [106 kg], and he did it. So I'm going to push it up to about 245 [111 kg]. I took him out running and gave him some nice cramps. He couldn't walk after a couple of days."
Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger: Stark's business second-in-command. Bridges read the comics as a boy and liked Favreau's modern, realistic approach. He shaved his hair and grew a gray beard for the role, which was something he had wanted to do for some time. Bridges googled the Book of Obadiah, and he was surprised to learn retribution is a major theme in that particular book of the Bible, something which Stane represents. Many of Stane's scenes were cut out to focus more on Stark, but the writers felt Bridges's performance allowed the application of "less is more". The character was called Iron Monger in the comics when he used his armor, but the codename is only mentioned in the movie when Stane describes himself and Stark as "ironmongers".
Gwyneth Paltrow (6 walls) as Virginia "Pepper" Potts: Stark's personal secretary and budding love interest. Paltrow asked Marvel (19 walls) to send her any comics that they would consider relevant to her understanding of the character, who she considered to be very smart, levelheaded, and grounded. She said she liked "the fact that there's a sexuality that's not blatant." Favreau wanted Potts' and Stark's relationship to be reminiscent of a 1940 (73 years ago) comedy, something which Paltrow considered to be fun in a sexy, yet innocent way.
Shaun Toub as Dr. Yinsen: Stark's fellow captive. In the comics, Yinsen is Chinese and a physicist, but in the film, he comes from an Afghan village called Gulmira, which is one of the aspects of the modernization of the Iron Man mythos for the movie.
Faran Tahir as Raza: The leader of the Ten Rings. Tahir is a fan of the comics, and wanted to bring humanity to the henchman. "I tried to find ways to show that although he may be the bad guy, there might be a moment or just a hint of vulnerability at times, where he hasn't made the right calculations or there's a certain amount of doubt. Jon was very receptive to that kind of layering."
Paul Bettany voices JARVIS: Stark's personal Artificial Intelligence computer program, which assists him in the construction and programming of the Iron Man suit. The name of the character is a reference to the comic book character Edwin Jarvis, Stark's butler. Bettany did the part as a favor to Favreau (having worked with him on Wimbledon) and claimed he did not know what movie he was recording the lines for during his two-hour recording session.
Leslie Bibb (6 walls) as Christine Everhart: A reporter for Vanity Fair.
Clark Gregg appears throughout the movie as Agent Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Samuel L. Jackson appears as their head, Nick Fury, following the credits. Jackson's face was used, with his permission, as the model for that of the version of Nick Fury in Marvel's Ultimate Marvel (19 walls) imprint. Other cameos include Iron Man co-creator Stan Lee (whom Stark mistakes for Hugh Hefner at a party), and director Jon Favreau as Stark's bodyguard and chauffeur, Happy Hogan. Audioslave and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who provides additional guitar music for the film, has a brief cameo as a terrorist guard. Jim Cramer, star of CNBC's Mad Money appeared as himself, commenting on the investment opportunities ("Sell, Sell, Sell") of Stark Industries. Rapper Ghostface Killah cameoed in a scene where Stark briefly stays in Dubai while returning to Afghanistan, but it was cut from the theatrical release for pacing reasons.
DevelopmentIn Apr. 1990 (23 years ago), Universal Studios bought the rights to develop Iron Man for the big screen. Stuart Gordon was to direct Universal's low-budget film. By Feb. 1996 (17 years ago), 20th Century Fox acquired the rights from Universal. In Jan. 1997 (16 years ago), actor Nicolas Cage (6 walls) expressed interest in being cast for the lead role, and in sep. 1998 (15 years ago), actor Tom Cruise (12 walls) had expressed interest in producing as well as starring in the movie debut of Iron Man. Jeff Vintar and Iron Man co-creator Stan Lee co-wrote a story which Vintar adapted into a screenplay. Jeffrey Caine (GoldenEye) rewrote Vintar's script. Director Quentin Tarantino was approached in Oct. 1999 (14 years ago) to write and direct Iron Man. With no deal made, Fox eventually sold the rights to New Line Cinema the following December. By Jul. 2000 (13 years ago), the movie was being written for the studio by Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, and Tim McCanlies. McCanlies's script used the idea of a Nick Fury cameo to set up his own film. New Line entered talks with Joss Whedon, a fan of the character Iron Man, in Jun. 2001 (12 years ago) for the possibility of the director taking the helm. In dec. 2002 (11 years ago), McCanlies had turned in a completed script.
"We worked with Michael Crichton's researchers to find a grounded realistic way to deal with the suit. The idea was he needed the suit to stay alive. He's the same guy we used with Spider-Man 2 to come up with Doc Ock's inhibitor chips and what the arms are made of and how they work....Mandarin was an Indonesian terrorist who masqueraded as a rich playboy who Tony knew."
——Alfred Gough on his draft for Nick Cassavetes's and New Line's aborted version
In dec. 2004 (9 years ago), the studio attached director Nick Cassavetes to the project for a target 2006 (7 years ago) release. After two years of unsuccessful development, and the deal with Cassavetes falling through, New Line Cinema returned the movie rights to Marvel. Screenplay drafts had been written by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar and David Hayter, but they were not retained. New Line's script pitted Iron Man against his father Howard Stark, who becomes War Machine. In Nov. 2005 (8 years ago), Marvel (19 walls) Studios worked to start development from scratch, and announced it as their first independent feature, as Iron Man was their only major character not depicted in live action.
In Apr. 2006 (7 years ago), Jon Favreau was hired as the film's director, with Arthur Marcum and Matt Holloway writing the script. Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby worked separately, with Favreau compiling both team's scripts, and the script received a polish by John August. Comic book staff Mark Millar, Brian Michael Bendis, Joe Quesada, Tom Brevoort, Axel Alonso, and Ralph Macchio were also summoned by Favreau to give advice on the script.
Favreau had wanted to work with Marvel (19 walls) producer Avi Arad on another movie after the Daredevil adaptation. Favreau celebrated getting the job by going on a diet, and lost seventy pounds. The director found the opportunity to create a politically ambitious "ultimate spy movie" in Iron Man, citing inspiration from Tom Clancy, James Bond, and RoboCop. Favreau also described his approach as similar to an independent film, "if Robert Altman had directed Superman", and also cited Batman Begins as an inspiration. He wanted to make Iron Man a story of an adult man literally reinventing himself, and realizing the world is far more complex than he believes. Favreau changed the Vietnam War origin of the character to Afghanistan, as he did not want to do a period piece.
Choosing a villain was difficult, because Favreau felt Iron Man's archnemesis, the Mandarin, would not feel realistic, especially after Mark Millar gave his opinion on the script. He felt only in a sequel, with an altered tone, would the fantasy of the Mandarin's rings be appropriate. The decision to push him into the background is comparable to Sauron in The Lord of the Rings, or Palpatine in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Favreau also wanted Iron Man to face a giant enemy. The switch from Mandarin to Obadiah Stane was done after Bridges was cast. Stane was intended to become a villain in the sequel. The Crimson Dynamo was also a villain in early drafts in the script. Favreau felt it was important to include intentional inside references for fans of the comics, such as giving the two fighter jets that attack Iron Man the call signs of "Whiplash 1" and "Whiplash 2," a reference to the comic book villain Whiplash, and including Captain America's shield in Stark's workshop.
FilmingProduction was based in the former Hughes Company soundstages in Playa Vista, Los Angeles, California. Favreau rejected the East Coast setting of the comic books because many superhero movies had already been set there. Howard Hughes was one of the inspirations for the comic book, and the filmmakers acknowledged the coincidence that they would movie Iron Man creating the flying Mark III where the Hughes H-4 Hercules "Spruce Goose" was built.
Filming began on Mar. 12, 2007 (6 years ago), with the first few weeks spent on Stark's captivity in Afghanistan. The cave where Stark is imprisoned was a 150- to 200-yard (150-200 m) long set, which had movable forks in the caverns to allow greater freedom for the film's crew. Production designer J. Michael Riva saw footage of a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, and saw the cold breath as he spoke: realizing remote caves are actually very cold, Riva placed an air conditioning system in the set. He also sought Downey's advice about makeshift objects in prison, such as a sock being used to make tea. Afterwards, Stark's capture was filmed at Lone Pine, and other exterior scenes in Afghanistan were filmed at Olancha Sand Dunes, where the crew endured two days of 40- to 60-mile (97 km) an hour (60 to 100 km/h) winds.
Filming at Edwards Air Force Base began in mid-April, and wrapped on May 2. Exterior shots of Stark's home were digitally composited on footage of Point Dume in Malibu, while the interior was built at Playa Vista, where Favreau and Riva aimed to make Stark's home look less futuristic and more "grease monkey". Filming concluded on Jun. 25, 2007 (6 years ago) at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. Favreau, a newcomer to action films, remarked, "I'm shocked that I [was] on schedule. I thought that there were going to be many curveballs". He hired "people who are good at creating action", so "the human story [felt] like it belongs to the comic book genre".
There was much improvisation in dialogue scenes, because the script was not completed when filming began (the filmmakers had focused on the story making sense and planning the action). Favreau acknowledged that improvisation would make the movie feel more natural. Some scenes were shot with two cameras to capture lines said on the spot. Multiple takes were done, as Downey wanted to try something new each time. It was Downey's idea to have Stark hold a news conference on the floor, and he created the speech Stark makes when demonstrating the Jericho weapon.
Brian Michael Bendis wrote three pages of dialogue for the Nick Fury cameo scene, with the filmmakers choosing the best lines for filming. The cameo was filmed with a skeleton crew in order to keep it a secret, but rumours appeared on the Internet only days later. Marvel (19 walls) Studios's Kevin Feige subsequently ordered the scene removed from all preview prints in order to maintain the surprise and keep fans guessing.
The top half of this freely licensed image (wallpaper) of the interior of the Vehicle Assembly Building was used in a shot of Stark and Stane at the presentation for Stark's awardA scene of the inside of the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center used a photograph taken by Flickr user Jeremy Keith licensed under a Creative Commons license; but a studio representative demanded $1,500 to be attributed in the credits, offering instead to pay less for the right to use the photo (wallpaper) without attribution. Keith declined the offer but granted the studio permission to use his photograph for free with no attribution requirement.
EffectsFavreau wanted the movie to be believable by showing the construction of the suit in its three stages. Stan Winston, a fan of the comic book, and his company built metal and rubber versions of the armors. They had previously worked on Favreau's Zathura. Favreau's main concern with the effects was whether the transition between the computer-generated and practical costumes would be too obvious. Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) was hired to create the bulk of the visual effects with additional work being completed by The Orphanage (3 walls) and The Embassy; Favreau trusted ILM after seeing Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (27 walls) and Transformers.
The Mark I design was intended to look like it was built from spare parts: particularly, the back is less armored than the front, as Stark would use his resources to make a forward attack. It also foreshadows the design of Stane's armor. A single 90-pound (41 kg) version was built, causing concern when a stuntman fell over inside it. Both the stuntman and the suit were unscathed. The armor was also designed to only have its top half worn at times. The Embassy created a digital version of the Mark I. Stan Winston Studios built a 10-foot (3.0 m), 800-pound (360 kg) animatronic version of the comic character "Iron Monger" (Obadiah Stane), a name which Obadiah Stane calls Tony Stark and himself earlier in the film, but is never actually used for the suit itself. The animatronic required five operators for the arm, and was built on a gimbal to simulate walking. A scale model was used for the shots of it being built.
The Mark II resembles an airplane prototype, with visible flaps. Iron Man comic book artist Adi Granov designed the Mark III with illustrator Phil Saunders. Granov's designs were the primary inspiration for the film's design, and he came on board the movie after he recognized his work on Jon Favreau's MySpace page. Saunders streamlined Granov's concept art, making it stealthier and less cartoonish in its proportions. Sometimes, Downey would only wear the helmet, sleeves and chest of the costume over a motion capture suit. For shots of the Mark III flying, it was animated to look realistic by taking off slowly, and landing quickly. To generate shots of Iron Man and the F-22 Raptors battling, cameras were flown in the air to provide reference for physics, wind and frost on the lenses. For further study of the physics of flying, skydivers were filmed in a vertical wind tunnel.
Phil Saunders created concept art for the War Machine armor and said that it was originally intended to be used in the movie but was "cut from the script about halfway through pre-production." Saunders said that the War Machine armor "was going to be called the Mark IV armor and would have been weaponized swap-out parts that would be worn over the original Mark III armor," and that it "would have been worn by Tony Stark in the final battle sequence."
MusicComposer Ramin Djawadi is an Iron Man fan, and still has issues of the comic from the late 1970 (43 years ago). Through his older brother, Amir, he is also into heavy metal music since the early 1990 (23 years ago). While he normally composes after watching an assembly cut, Djawadi began work after seeing the teaser trailer. Favreau clearly envisioned a focus on "heavy" guitar in the score, and Djawadi composed the music on that instrument before arranging it for orchestra. The composer said Downey's performance inspired the several Iron Man themes (for his different moods), as well as Stark's playboy leitmotif. Djawadi's favorite of the Iron Man themes is the "kickass" because of its "rhythmic pattern that is a hook on its own. Very much like a machine." The other themes are "not so much character based, but rather plot based that carry you through the movie". Guitarist Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, who has a brief cameo in the movie as a guard, contributed additional guitar work to the movie's soundtrack.
ReceptionIron Man received highly positive reviews from movie critics. On May 1, 2008 (5 years ago), the movie was identified as the "best-reviewed movie of the year so far" by Jen Yamato of review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, with the site reporting that 93% of critics had given the movie positive reviews, based upon 218 reviews and this rating has held its place as of Nov. 2008 (5 years ago). At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the movie has received an average score of 79, based on 38 reviews.
Among the major trade journals, Todd McCarthy in Variety called the movie an "expansively entertaining special effects extravaganza" with "fresh energy and stylistic polish", while Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter praised the movie while nonetheless finding "disappointment [in] a climatic [sic] battle between different Iron Man prototypes...how did Tony's nemesis learn how to use the suit?" In one of the first major-daily newspaper reviews, Frank Lovece of Newsday lauded the film's "emotional truth...pitch-perfect casting and plausibly rendered super-science" that made it "faithful to the source material while updating it – and recognizing what's made that material so enduring isn't just the high-tech cool of a man in a metal suit, but the human condition that got him there". A.O. Scott of the New York Times called the movie "an unusually good superhero picture. Or at least — since it certainly has its problems — a superhero movie that's good in unusual ways."
Among the specialty press, Garth Franklin of Dark Horizons commended the "impressive sets and mechanics that combine smoothly with relatively seamless CG", and said, "Robert Downey Jr., along with director Jon Favreau...help this rise above formula. The result is something that, whilst hardly original or groundbreaking, is nevertheless refreshing in its earnestness to avoid dark dramatic stylings in favor of an easy-going, crowd-pleasing action movie with a sprinkle of anti-war and redemption themes". IGN's Todd Gilchrist recognized Downey as "the best thing" in a movie that "functions on autopilot, providing requisite story developments and character details to fill in this default 'origin story' while the actors successfully breathe life into their otherwise conventional roles".
Among major metropolitan weeklies, David Edelstein of New York magazine called the movie "a shapely piece of mythmaking...Favreau doesn't go in for stylized comic-book frames, at least in the first half. He gets real with it — you'd think you were watching a military thriller", while conversely, David Denby of The New Yorker put forth a negative review, claiming "a slightly depressed, going-through-the-motions feel to the entire show...Gwyneth Paltrow (6 walls), widening her eyes and palpitating, can't do much with an antique role as Stark's girl Friday, who loves him but can't say so; Terrence Howard, playing a military man who chases around after Stark, looks dispirited and taken for granted".
Roger Ebert and Richard Corliss named Iron Man as among their favorite movies of 2008 (5 years ago).
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