Now & Then: Iron Man

Geoff Harris

Millionaire industrialist Tony stark continues the family business of making cutting-edge weaponry.  During an in-field demonstration, he’s captured by terrorists. Using his mechanical skills and wits, Stark builds a suit of power armor and escapes. After a period of decompression after his return he begins to fixate on recreating the armor. Driven by some inner emotional demons and a borderline obsessive/compulsive drive to create, Stark indeed remakes the armor only better. The film follows the development of the armor but also the man who is building it as we watch stark transform from carefree playboy to high-flying hero. The climax is a battle between Stark and his business partner/mentor in an armor versus armor throw down.


There have been superhero movies before. They were poorly made with cheap special effects and really really bad acting. And I watched every last one of them. As a comic book freak I would run to the television as soon as I knew another movie would be broadcast. I watched the Incredible Hulk and Amazing Spiderman series respectively. I remember the seemingly endless succession of movie-of-the-week films that came out almost every month. We dealt with it as best we could. Our heroes were alive and in full frontal. Call it what you will. It was all we had. And then, many moons later, Marvel comes out with Iron Man and I was reborn.

The burden of age is you start to notice the flaws in all things. I grind my teeth just a bit every time I see Downey during the “inside the helmet” scenes. Okay, I get that they wanted to capture the frames from the comic where we “see” Tony piloting the suit. The heads-up displays and his expressions as the scene plays out. It’s just those small moments when the camera is positioned just so and you can tell it’s a bubble on the actor’s head. Holy shit! Tony Stark is a Time Lord cause the helmet is bigger on the inside than on the outside! It’s a small thing but it bothers me every time I see it done in any of the movies. I learned to accept the Verse versions of the characters. Yes, direct adaption would be difficult and admittedly drain some of the life from the properties. Plus, film has its limitations and some things just can’t be done. (At least not right now.) Iron Man set the standard for how these movies are now made. One long origin story with a Big Bad battle at the end. It’s gotten a bit old four or five movies later. I hope against hope Marvel doesn’t fall into the trap of reeling the same story again and again. I agree, superhero stories do tend to be variations of a theme. Hollywood has an “if it ain’t broke, rehash it” policy. I pine away for a day when a superhero movie is a fresh and innovative take. I want abstract. I want savant-grade. I want revolutionary. Feed the FanBoy need!


OH MY GOD!!! Iron Man was sick! I have never seen anything like it! In the eighteen years I have walked this planet never have I come across something so fresh . So innovative. So revolutionary. This is EVERYTHING I could want in a superhero movie! I walked out of the theater crying because I couldn’t afford to turn around and buy another ticket. The special effects were so on fleek. The armor kicked ass. They totally nailed it! Downey was the man as Tony Stark. Nobody could compare in that role. The best moments were the “in the helmet” shots. You just don’t see that enough. Marvel has started the revolution with a bang. I hear there will be a whole block of Marvel movies coming down the pipe. This new century is totally bamf! I am blessed to grow up at a time in history when special effects can totally bring my favorite comics to life. (I heard a rumor Netflix may be doing some stuff too. I am melting!) There is no where to go but up. Here’s my money. I’m done.


My inner millennial aside, I hold Iron Man in high esteem. Yeah, it’s been redone in almost every other Marvel movie but it still has a style all its own. Due in large part to Robert Downey Jr.’s performance. He just owned the role. As a straight up three act structure, Iron Man is pretty well done. It does hold up despite the deluge of Marvel movies that followed it. I have to admit some of them are pretty thin. I like Dr. Strange but his movie was just Iron Mystic. Ant-Man had some deviance which made it a good second banana. Incredible Hulk and Hulk both are forgettable. Captain America was an interesting take. Real close to the original story. I’m not going to go on and on because I may need material for future articles. Time to suit up and shock it to shellhead! Later peeps!

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