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Film Reviews from 2007

Film Reviews
from 2006

Iron Man

Iron Man
A review by Tom Condon, OP (St. Martin)

The summer movie season is off and running with its first superhero blockbuster movie, Iron Man.  It has been well received by critics and a hit with audiences, so I thought I’d check it out.

Iron Man tells the story of Tony Stark, a genius, millionaire playboy who has made a fortune designing and selling weapons.  Tony is not troubled by the death and destruction caused by his weapons until, on a trip to Afghanistan to demonstrate his newest weapons, he is injured and held hostage.   Some kind of energy source is implanted in Tony’s chest to keep him alive and his heart beating (I’m sure a 14 year old could explain this procedure better than I can).  While in captivity, Tony constructs something akin to a huge suit of armor from scrap metal which allows him to escape from the bad guys and returns to the U.S. to great fanfare, as a hero. 

IronmanIn his first press conference, Tony stuns everyone by announcing that his company will get out of the weapon business, after his first hand experience of their carnage.  Not surprisingly, Tony’s business partners are horrified by Tony’s sudden change of heart. They release a press statement that Tony is suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome, while they plan to take over the company.  Meanwhile, Tony spends most of the rest of the movie perfecting his suit of armor in his state of the art lab to the point that he is able to fly into outer space.  Inevitably, there is a confrontation with a bad guy, a lot of noisy special effects, and an ending which lends itself to the inevitable sequel.

On the plus side, Iron Man includes good performances from Robert Downey, Jr., and Gwyneth Paltrow, as his faithful assistant, Pepper Potts.  After his much publicized struggles with substance abuse, it’s nice to see a pumped-up Downey in a lead role.  After many serious roles, Paltrow seems to be having a great time. The sexual banter between the two is the best thing about the movie, I wished there were more of it.  Unfortunately, Tony spends more time in his lab talking to robots than to Pepper.

IronmanI was happy to see Tony’s rejection of the weapons industry.  That would be a good starting point for a discussion with teens, who are the target audience for Iron Man. Unfortunately, the filmmakers don’t do much with Tony’s conversion.  He doesn’t have any pangs of guilt, or struggle with his dark side, as other superheroes from Batman to Spiderman have done.  Tony seems content to play with his high-tech toys and build a better suit of armor.  Actually, the script is lacking in dramatic tension throughout.  The villain is pretty obvious all the way through, and his final showdown with Tony is pretty lame.

As comic book superhero movies go, does offer some entertainment value and points for discussion.  It’s a disappointment that the filmmakers didn’t do more to capitalize on a good cast and interesting premise.

Tom Condon, OP  



He doesn’t have any pangs of guilt, or struggle with his dark side, as other superheroes from Batman to Spiderman have done.

The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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