Iron Man review – thrilling kickoff to Marvel Cinematic Universe

Iron Man is one of the all-time classic comic book movies

It’s amazing how imaginative and fun a comic book movie can be when the restraints of making it easier to relate to and more real-world are lifted. Then the directors and screenwriters can make a film faithful to its source. Such is the case of Iron Man, arguably the purest comic book-to-film translation ever made.

The result is a movie that hardcore comic book geeks and non-fans alike will enjoy and want to see again and again.

Robert Downey Jr. gives a performance that will send his career soaring to the stratosphere. He quickly proves to be perfectly cast as Tony Stark, a brilliant billionaire whose company specializes in arms dealing.


It’s not until he is captured by a group of terrorists armed with Stark Tech weapons that Stark begin to rethink his views. While imprisoned he creates a high-tech suit of armor to escape. Finally learning life is better served than making money and bedding Maxim models, Stark improves upon the armor to become the heroic Iron Man.

Iron Man movie Tony Stark and original armor

Screenwriters Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway figure out why Iron Man is such a cool hero. He’s equally cool in the armor as he is in a stylish suit. While Superman has to play a clumsy reporter and Spider-Man has to be a nerdy student, Stark is a blast. He’s a super genius with a stripper pole in his airplane. Bet Bruce Wayne doesn’t have that set up.


Downey offers the perfect flippant demeanor of a responsibility-detached billionaire who finds that his golden life isn’t as sparkling as he imagined. Downey gets solid help from co-stars Terrence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Their characters get significant screen time but have room to grow in future films. Jeff Bridges’ Obadiah Stane might be a bit obvious as the main bad guy, but it’s a minor gripe.

Jeff Bridges Iron Man movie image

Director Jon Favreau takes the typical superhero story and makes it fun for the audience showing the literal construction of a superhero.

iron-man-movie-2008-robert-downey-jr-and-gwyneth-paltrowDuring the building of Iron Man, the story keeps moving and I wasn’t waiting for Stark to finally become a super hero. And even with its two-hour run time, there’s never a dull moment.


The film includes nods to the comic fan, including the appearance of a certain government organization, Stark’s butler Jarvis and his ever-changing armor collection.

Iron Man also proved how vastly inferior most comic books movies are. If they had the same attention to character and plot detail, they might approach the level of Iron Man. This film ranks alongside Superman II and Spider-Man as one of the best of its kind. Bring on the sequel!

Iron Man movie 2008 Iron Man vs Iron Monger

Typically, I leave my seat the second the credits start so I missed Samuel L. Jackson’s first post-credit appearance and initial set up for the Avengers. I didn’t see it until the fall when I bought the DVD yet was completely satisfied with ‘Iron Man’ on its own merit.

Iron Man movie Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury 

Rating: 9.7 out of 10