Iron Man ~ A Heavy Metal Hit!

May 13, 2008 11:51 pm

Tags: 3D, 3D modeling, 3D Models, CGI, Iron Man, movie review


Copyright © Paramount Pictures

Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jr. in the title role, soars into movie houses as "the" surefire heavy-metal hit of the year. Not only fast moving, visually appealing, and extremely entertaining, Iron Man is a CGI and FX enthusiast's feast for the eyes and hungry artist's soul.

From the opening scene, Iron Man takes the audience on a high-speed rollercoaster ride filled with on-the-edge-of-your-seat tension, massive pyrotechnics, mixed with intellectual humor, as the characters explore the controversial thought-provoking plot. 

Heroes Aren't Born, They're Built!
Copyright © Paramount Pictures 

Heroes aren't born, they're states the movie's tagline...and Iron Man's unlikely hero, Tony Stark, is built on the brilliance of Robert Downey Jr.'s flawless performance. At forty-three years old, and with his own dubious personal addictive battles, Robert Downey Jr. was the last person I expected to see on the big screen as a modern day superhero. Yet, the moment he opened his mouth, spewing witty adlib banter, there was no doubt in my mind that Robert Downey Jr. was born to be Iron Man. Of course, his ultra buff body and infamous boyish grin added to the playboy turned superhero illusion.

As with the success of all superhero blockbusters, there was an ensemble of predictable colorful characters: The angst-ridden sidekick, Jim Rhodes (Terrence Howard); the over-qualified pretty assistant, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow); the parental guardian, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges); the uber-evil villain, Raza (Faran Tahir); and comic relief from the robotic assistant. 

Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges
Copyright © Paramount Pictures 

Comic Origins

Stan Lee and Don Heck (along with story-artists, Don Heck and Jack Kirby) originally created Iron Man in 1963. Lee based Tony Stark's persona on Howard Hughes..."Howard Hughes was one of the most colorful men of our time. He was an inventor, an adventurer, a multi-billionaire, a ladies' man and finally a nutcase."

Over forty years later, Iron Man's human counterpart, Tony Stark, has developed into a complex and at times vulnerable character. He battles not only the "bad guys," but also alcoholism and his personal demons. Entering the modern age of technology, Iron Man has also grown in technological advancements in both weaponry and robotics. Originally, created as a superhero, fighting to defeat communism in the Vietnam War era, Iron Man eventually morphed into a modern day hero, fighting terrorists in Afghanistan.

The Plot

Tony Stark's company (Stark Industries, which he inherited from his deceased father) designs, develops and deploys weapons of mass destruction to the U. S. government. The movie opens with Stark sipping Bourbon (on the rocks) and casually joking with his military escort, all the while traveling at full speed along a dusty, bumpy road in war torn Afghanistan ... then, all hell breaks loose!

Bombarded by enemy explosions (marked with the Stark Industries logo), riddled in the chest with shrapnel (inflicting near-fatal wounds), and finally being captured by terrorists, Stark eventually has a "change of heart" concerning matters of warfare.

Escaping from his captors, Stark's urgent need to protect rather than destroy, replaces his old maxim of, "They say the best weapon is one you never have to fire. I prefer the weapon you only need to fire once."

Along the way...routine plot twists that are fundamental to the majority of comic-action-figure flicks...the superhero torments over his new philosophical agenda and argues his new theology with the firm's CEO. He builds a new and improved version of his costume (in this case his armor). He fights the bad guys and flirts with his perky, pretty girl assistant (who runs around in six-inch stilettos and a skintight skirt). 

Copyright © Paramount Pictures 

Even with all the mandatory superhero patent twists and turns, Iron Man brings a refreshing change to the mundane. The film owes its innovation to an outstanding script, clever (and often adlib) dialog, and spot-on casting; along with Jon Favreau's myopic directorial vision. Yet, the real stars of Iron Man are the behind the scenes, innovative, artistic teams responsible for the mind-blowing computer graphics and special effects.

Technology: Fantasy Based Reality

Ironically, the fictitious, Tony Stark's alma mater, MIT, is in reality one of the leaders in robotic exoskeleton research. Leg extensions similar to those shown in the Iron Man's suit of armor, were developed by MIT (2007, Patent for Exoskeletons for running and walking), designed to help humans easily carry heavy loads.

Getting airborne—although the Solo Trek, is bulkier than Iron Man's sleek flying machine, it still acts as an Exoskeleton flying vehicle. Yet the Rocketbelt, developed in the UK, is a sleeker and far more practical version of the human flight machine.

Stark's robot sidekick is also similar to RoCo (also designed at MIT), which is said to be the "first expressive robot." Among the film's other real life counterparts are: 3D tactile interfaces like the one Stark uses to design his armor; targeting software that identifies a specific human's features; and a computer program that recognizes and solves the problem of in-flight ice formation. 

Copyright © Paramount Pictures

CGI and FX

Dispersed throughout the movie…the computer graphic imagery...especially in the creation of Iron Man's armor...was pure perfection! Thanks to the genius of numerous CGI artists, visual effects, animation and motion capture specialists (headed by the Industrial Light & Magic team), Iron Man seamlessly blends real-action with computer graphics and special effects—making it impossible to detect where live-action stops and the animation begins. Even the director (a stickler for detail) commented on a section of film that he wanted CGI removed, and was surprised when informed that it was not CGI but live-action. 

Copyright © Paramount Pictures 

Age Appropriate

Iron Man is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and brief sexual-suggestive content, although there was no nudity. As to the suitability for younger viewers; the violence was milder than the nightly news, and less graphic than the various CSI television series. As to sexuality, Stark has two brief sexual encounters: one with a blond reporter, and another with pole-dancing airline hostesses—again, television shows, such as Grey's Anatomy, sport far more sexual content. 

Copyright © Paramount Pictures 


Iron Man is a must-see and well worth the price of popcorn and a movie ticket. The film packed with equal amounts, of buff bodies, clever dialog, tons of action, amazing computer graphics and special effects, which combined, make Iron Man this year's super
box office hit. However, if you go to the movie exclusively for the CGI and FX, your money will still be well spent!

End Bonus

Like Pirates of the Caribbean, there is a must-see bonus snippet at the end of the movie—which sets the scene for the inevitable sequel. So, even though it is a long wait, I highly recommend not leaving until after the credits have run...and let me forewarn you, it is an excruciatingly long, long, long wait (but worth every minute spent).

Director: Jon Favreau
Screenwriter: Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Shaun Toub, Leslie Bibb, Bill Smitrovich
Composer: Ramin Djawadi
Heavy Metal Music: Audioslave, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Suicidal Tendencies
Distributor: Paramount Pictures, Marvel Studios Runtime: 125 minutes Rated: PG 13

We invite you to visit:

Iron Man (2008) Official Website

All supporting images copyright © 2008 Paramount Pictures,
and cannot be copied, printed, or reproduced in any manner
without written permission from
Paramount Pictures.

Get to know industry leaders and professionals
as they sit down and talk candidly with
Contributing Columnist, Dee-Marie.

May 19, 2008

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Article Comments

SusiQ ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 21 May 2008

I must say I took my kids to see this film and was very pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed it but missed the bit at the end as the cinema didn't wait for the end.. Loved the humor and the robot with the fire extinguisher! LOL Will be waiting for the dvd to come out...

Khushrenada ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 21 May 2008

saw the movie and it does rock,downey is spot on as stark and his transformation from spoiled billionaire death merchant to a man who realises his legacy must be more than weapons is quite believable...and that armour is the most impressive bit of hardware worship yet,I'm buying the DVD for the armouring up sequence alone...if they can IronMan and the Iron Monger like that,then Mechwarrior and WarHammer 40,000 can finally be made.

WildHunt1 ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 22 May 2008

Love the movie from start to finish. This has to be Marvel's greatest super hero movie to date, and the bit at the end was the perfect finisher! Now, let's see if they can do as well with Hulk.

DemonMage ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 22 May 2008

I saw this opening weekend. I loved it. My only problem was with the story telling in the very begining of the movie. But I'm sure that that's just a personal grip as a writer (sorta). Over all a great movie, nothing that wasn't a fun and fantastic film. As long as this is the derection that marvel wants to take it's movies and they promise not to make any more movies like X3 or Spider-Man 3, I'll be seeing many, many more Marvel movies :) If Incredible Hulk is like this, lets not confuse it with that monstrsity of a movie HULK, than I know I can drag my friends to more Super-hero movies in the furute.

nemirc ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 23 May 2008

I enjoyed this movie a lot. That sequence of the roboarms assembling the ironman suit around Tony Stark felt just too similar to that animation from Starcraft 2 (the trailer or whtaever). I still liked it, though. Too bad I missed that thing after the credits since I didn't know there was any secret scene... and I am dead sure that my "companion" (or whatever you wanna call her) wouldn't have liked the idea of staying 10 minutes or so for a final shot :p