Iron Man: Allusions, Effects, and Story

Principal author:
John L. Clark


I reflect on my initial impressions of the 2008 Iron Man movie.

I just got back from seeing Iron Man, and I am reveling in that lingering geeky thrill after experiencing something that clicks with me on a number of levels. I see the credits roll up, and I note that Adi Granov is listed for suit design. I am not surprised, but pleased at the justice of the choices made in making this movie. Of course it's Granov's form that was chosen to augment Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark into Iron Man. Adi does beautiful work, and the choice helps to directly bridge the gap between Iron Man origins and recent comic storytelling. I had to take the opportunity to point this out to a young person sitting next to me and his father. I only wished I could have had one of Adi's issues with me, so that I could have provided a direct link, an immediate comparison. I won't make that mistake the next time. And there will most certainly be a next time.

I don't think there is any denying that part of the thrill of the good comic movie is derived from positive ties to preconceptions that the audience brings with them. Like it or not, the viewer brings her own views on the characters and their history, as filtered through the lens of so many artists and writers. Iron Man does a great job of attaching seamlessly to the comic lore. I greatly enjoyed these, and others: Rhodes' reaction to the alpha suit; the HUD; the occasional references to the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Engagement and Logistics Division and eventually its acronym. The movie even engages the audience in anticipating a few allusions only to categorically reject them, to good effect. These kinds of touches just add to the sense that the viewer is part of the movie experience, and the effect is enhanced because the movie does not dwell on them, but just allows them to happen.

I don't think I really need to say anything about the special effects. They are beautiful; even the characters display an innocent level of wonder at Tony Stark's invention, which draws laughter and applause from the audience and just draws us in further. And while Stark is many things in the movie, many of those being self-destructive, he finds the most joy as an inventor, and I rejoiced at watching him invent. I came away from the movie feeling charged, motivated to participate more in the world around me. I always want to become more of a creator, even if now that happens to manifest in writing about the movie that I find so encouraging.

This page was last modified on 2008-05-02 21:00:00-04:00.

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