Geek out 

In this inaugural edition of the Arkansas Times Movie Club, our critics get in-depth with ‘Iron Man.’


Lindsey Millar: I know that we've all been anticipating “Iron Man” for months now, pouring over screencaps, sending each other links to new versions of the trailer and crossing off days our calendar. Anytime a studio teams a director with a relatively smart, offbeat track record (Favreau of “Swingers” fame) with a serious actor (Downey Jr.) and stupid-cool F/X tricks, my expectations get a little silly. But fellas, I gotta tell you, I wasn't really let down. 

There's no question that “Iron Man” belongs in the pantheon with the first “Spiderman,” “Batman Begins” and “The Flash” (joking). Are we all in agreement? Who deserves credit? Marvel Studios? Favreau? The writers and rewriters? Downey Jr.?

Matt Reed: I agree, this is one of the best superhero movies ever made, and Favreau and Downey and the writers deserve the lion's share of the credit. Downey was tailor-made for this sort of role. It's even better if you grew up with some of his comedies in the '80s, like “The Pick-Up Artist.” Smarmy guy with heart of gold stuff. In fact, that's “Iron Man” for me: “The Pick-Up Artist” with robot suits. And everyone knows that if there's anything better than picking up chicks, it's picking up chicks in a robot suit.

David Koon: You know, Matt, I've gotta disagree with you on RD Jr. being tailor-made for the role. The lovely part about great actors — Brando comes to mind, as does Johnny Depp — is that they have this uncanny ability to take on roles that have you scratching your head and then knock your friggin' socks off. That was RD Jr. in Ironman. When I heard he was doing this, I honestly couldn't see him in the role. Now that he's done it, I can't see anybody else. Ditto on Christian Bale in “Batman Begins,” and ditto on Ed Norton in “Incredible Hulk,” which makes me think that one's going to rock as well.

LM: I'm not sure if he was tailor-made or not, but I dug Robert Downey Jr.'s performance. He talks more entertainingly (and acrobatically) than anyone in Hollywood, and early in the film, in full-on hedonistic international playboy/weapons manufacture mode, he out wish-fulfillments even “Entourage.” When he has to play serious in the caves of Afghanistan, I thought he pulled off the transition from self-obsessed chatterbox to slightly more subdued, self-obsessed chatterbox pretty well, but I had more trouble buying him as a crusader. The suit helped, clearly. The plot, too: If you had seen people killed with your missiles and been imprisoned by the killers, then yeah, I guess it's not too much of a reach to think you'd want to build a virtually indestructible rocket-powered future suit and destroy your own weapons. But what really didn't work for me was the transition from captive to crazy, but clear-eyed, indignant: the kernel of the crusader. Maybe I just like my Downey Jr. self-possessed and self-obsessed. Once he started building the suit and then flying around in it, he was helping people, but mostly, he was having a good time. 

I realize I'm complaining about like five minutes of the movie, but it was sort of pivotal. 

So, in sum, I thought Downey Jr. carried the film, the script was above average, but still suffered from the kind of plot problems that scripts that are written and rewritten by a huge team usually do: Namely, that Stark's able to create a giant metal weapon-suit under the eyes of his captors and that after he escapes, no one talks about what happened. Not even: “What happened?” “I don't want to talk about it.”

MR: I guess being waterboarded (nice touch there, but ruined when he started setting his captors on fire) and seeing his own weapons used by our enemies was supposed to be sufficient motivation for him to do a moral 180, but yeah, it would have been more believable if it had been less about The Mission and more about having fun and generally being awesome and stopping bad guys in particuarly bad-ass ways ... oh, yeah, and helping people.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Gay diamonds

    Scenes from Rodeo in the Rock.
    • May 7, 2015
  • Not much to 'Love'

    In Judd Apatow's new Netflix original series.
    • Feb 25, 2016

Most Shared

  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Lessons from Standing Rock

    A Fayetteville resident joins the 'water protectors' allied against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  • Child welfare too often about 'punishing parents,' DCFS consultant tells legislators

    Reforms promised by the Division of Children and Family Services are "absolutely necessary," the president of DCFS's independent consultant told a legislative committee this morning. But they still may not be enough to control the state's alarming growth in foster care cases.
  • Donald Trump taps Tom Price for HHS Secretary; Medicaid and Medicare cuts could be next

    The selection of Tom Price as HHS secretary could signal that the Trump administration will dismantle the current healthcare safety net, both Medicaid and Medicare.
  • Fake economics

    Fake news is a new phenomenon in the world of politics and policy, but hokey economic scholarship has been around as long as Form 1040 and is about as reliable as the news hoaxes that enlivened the presidential campaign.

Latest in Movie Reviews

  • Not a princess

    'Moana' subverts the Disney 'wedding bell' formula.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Through a glass, grimly

    'Black Mirror' is science fiction set five minutes in the future.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Fear and wonder

    'Arrival' makes room for 'linguistic relativity.'
    • Nov 16, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Woeful

    • If the UA could get the SEC to stop all games if at any time…

    • on December 2, 2016
  • Re: Woeful

    • The Mizz loss was worse than getting beat by Louisiana-Moron

    • on December 2, 2016
  • Re: Fear and wonder

    • this is real take it serious,my name is Caroline Smith from usa, who will believe…

    • on November 30, 2016

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation