Monday, May 5, 2008

More Iron Man: This Time With Spoilers

Okay, so I tried to keep my initial Iron Man impressions as spoiler-free as possible. In this post, that goes out the window, so if you don't want to know stuff, abandon this post with all due haste. This is also going to be largely negative, as I'm focusing on the parts of the film that I think hold it back from being a perfect adaptation. Don't take that to mean I think it wasn't an awesome movie, because it really was.

If you hadn't guessed, by the end of the movie Obadiah Stane goes from trusted confidant to arch nemesis. That's fine. I don't really remember how it happens in the funny books, but I'm sure it's a bit different. (I don't think the two characters were ever friends.) Doesn't matter, it's a great adaptation for the film. That said, they jammed into the end of the film, what I think they should've saved for a sequel. Stane should have been the shadowy menace throughout the entire film. The guy whose true, sinister nature isn't fully revealed to the audience (and to Tony) until damn near the very end. Use the sequel for Stane to develop and learn to use his own suit of armor, where you could really sell it as plausible and really take your time in developing a knock-down drag out fight that isn't forcibly hamstrung by Tony's (equally lame) dead battery problem. Beside, there was plenty of on-screen action for Iron Man just in Tony Stark's core mission to destroy the Stark Industries weaponry that had fallen into the hands of terrorists. The film didn't need a direct arch-nemesis.

I also think it was a bad idea to "reveal" that Stane was behind Tony's terrorist abduction, at the beginning. Sure, have him provide the terrorists with Stark Enterprises weapons and all that. But at the start of the film the terrorists let Stark live so that he can build them his new missile prototype. Yet, after his escape a few scenes later, the terrorist's have gotten their hands on the Stark Industries version of the same missile via Stane. If it was so easy to get one that way, why blackmail Stark for three months to get him to build one? Personally, I think it would've been better if Stane just provided the standard weapons and then used Stark's change of heart upon returning to the States to usurp control of Stark Enterprises from him. (Again, setting up the inevitable sequel.)

Then there's the computer AI Tony has in his lab that helps him build his Iron Man suit. I'm fine with him having an uber-advanced setup for his home/lab, but the "Jarvis" AI (a nod to the Avengers' butler?) bordered on sentient, which is a bit much.

Beyond those nits, Iron Man was just about the perfect comic book movie so there's not much more to dissect... except for the Sam Jackson as Nick Fury, Director of SHIELD cameo after the credits. I've seen some say it was lame, but I thought it was cool as hell. Sam Jackson was born to play Nick Fury. Hell, the Nick Fury of Marvel's "Ultimates" series is based on the Sam Jackson = Bad Ass persona. And for him to reference an, "Avengers Initiative," was just sixty different shades of awesome.

That said, you have to wonder how Marvel is going to pull an Avengers flick out of their hat. I mean any Avengers movie has to have Iron Man and Captain America in it, which means they absolutely have to get a Captain America movie out first; that is, unless his origin is going to be the plot focal point for an Avengers movie (which I think would be a mistake).

My fear is that Marvel shoots for an Avengers lineup that is inline with the "New Avengers" comic, which means mining both Wolverine and Spider-Man for the lineup, possibly the Hulk, if they're desperate. It would explain why Marvel is so hell-bent on relaunching a Hulk movie franchise despite biting it hard on Ang Lee's Hulk movie. And I'm really not down with those characters on the Avengers roster. (Okay, as a movie it would be a first of its kind with a shit ton of potential. I'm just sour because in the comics world Marvel has hopelessly overexposed Wolverine and have completely ruined Spider-Man. EiC Joe Quesada and his whole "One More Day" storyline should be banished to the seventh concentric circle of Hell.) I suppose they could shoot for Daredevil (with someone other than Affleck), but to the best of my recollection, old hornhead has never been an Avenger in the comics.

Anyway, it could be done within the framework of the existing Marvel movie franchises, and done very cool, but I'd like to see more a more traditional Avengers lineup even if it would be a tougher sell to a movie going public that has largely never read an Avengers comic book.


Wow. I think this post, if you're keeping score at home, just turned into a giant geekgasm.