IRON MAN (May 2008)

We went to see Iron Man 3 on Opening Night last night and I thought it was absolutely fabulous, that review is coming shortly. However, I thought it might be fun to post my initial reaction to the FIRST movie way back in May 2008. Because, as I remember, I didn’t like the first movie right off the bat. In fact, there was at least one aspect of it that I was vehemently opposed to… mostly, I really didn’t like Tony Stark. Imagine that. It was one of those movies and characters that had to grow on me. I had to see it a few times and discuss it with a few people before I really accepted it as something I enjoyed or would be willing to own. So, without further ado, my original review of Iron Man 1:

Alrighty, once again I am going to skip my review of The Golden Compass, sorry, and talk about a different movie that has been a source of some differing opinions in the past months. I have hesitated to review Iron Man partially because I have had a hard time figuring out how to put my thoughts about it into words, and partially because I know so many people are going to heatedly disagree with me about it. But, since this is, after all, my blog, and I can put all my thoughts down without being interrupted, I have decided to give it a whirl and go ahead and open this can of worms. I’ll warn you first though, if all you want is to read a glowing review about this movie, you’ll have to wait until Derek or John or one of my brothers posts about it (or just read the next paragraph and then sign off and read no more). 

To start off with, let me first explain that in all honesty, I really enjoyed Iron Man. I thought it was a fun action movie, the characters were for the most part likable, the humor was truly funny, the bad guy was well done and the plot twists were unexpected. They took what I think was a fairly less well-known super hero and made his story into a movie that was fun to watch and easy to follow, even if you knew nothing about the character going in to the movie.

However, I did have one particularly large beef with the movie and that is what I am going to attempt to explain here. There is a section of movie that is a flash-back after the first scene and this section lasts about 10 minutes. It is this section of the movie that I had issue with. In this section of the movie you get to see the lifestyle/personality of the main character, Tony Stark, before he gets taken prisoner (not a spoiler if you’ve seen the previews). This character is, for lack of better words, a high-class bum. He is a womanizer, takes nothing in life seriously, has no respect even for his friends and is just an all-around jerk – not the sort of person you would want to meet or get to know. This was not what I had a problem with, I understand and appreciate the fact that this movie did redeem this character, that we had to see how selfish and egotistical and self-indulging this character was at the beginning of the movie in order to appreciate how much he has changed by the end of the movie, to the point where you truly like him and want him to succeed. The problem I have is somewhere in the middle of the flashback, where they put in (what in my opinion was) a highly unnecessary and not-at-all-tastefully-done, sex scene. Again, I understand the point of this scene: to show that Tony does not even take his most intimate relationships seriously or respectfully and just has one-night stands with women whose names he cannot remember the next morning. The major problem I had with this scene (besides just not being incredibly tolerant of sex scenes in movies anyway) was that this is a movie that parents took their kids to.

Alright, let’s talk about why parents took their children to see this movie and maybe it will clear up why, in my perspective, this particular scene just about ruined the movie for me.

Yes, the movie was rated PG-13, but let’s face it, even though the rating system is a good “guideline” it is just that, a “guideline” not an actual rule (yeah, kind of like the pirate’s code). There are plenty of PG movies out there that I wouldn’t want my kids seeing, for various reasons, and a few R rated movies that I have zero problem with. PG-13 all too often is the catch-all rating that could either fall into the “has nothing questionable in it and why did they rate it that high?” to “gracious sakes alive that was terrible, how could they have rated it so low?” I’m sure most of you can relate to either of those scenarios.

Let’s take a look at the facts:
Fact: almost all of the super-hero movies that have come out in the past 5-10 years have been family-friendly (Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Superman Returns, the X-Men trilogy was pretty clean although Mystique toed and maybe even crossed the line, even the horrible rendition of the Incredible Hulk had nothing obscene in it (that I can remember, it was a long time ago)). I leave out Batman Begins for a specific reason which I will get to in a moment.

Fact: although the character is an adult and there were admittedly some darker themes in this movie, the previews made them look lighter than they were on reflection. The previews were all in bright colors and any dialogue that might have been a warning sign for parents was down-played as being humorous, e.g. In the preview when the PR lady asks, “Angel of Death?” And Tony replies, “Actually, that one I kind of like.”

This second fact is why I leave out Batman Begins from the mantra of superhero movies that advertised themselves as being family-friendly. The previews for Batman Begins were very dark, and Batman as a general rule has always been a much darker character than any of the other comic book or Saturday morning cartoon heroes. Nobody went into Batman Begins expecting it to be anything but darker or possibly a little more scary (and if they did, it was not because the previews were misleading, but because they had “Batman and Robin” stuck in their heads and couldn’t get it out).

All of this is to say, that the main reason that the sex scene in “Iron Man” nearly ruined the movie for me is because I feel that the people behind the advertising campaign for this movie lied. It was dishonest and felt deceitful to me that they portrayed this movie in the previews as being family friendly. It was a slap in the face to me that they put a sex scene in a movie that they HAD to have known people were going to take their kids to, and they hinted at nothing in their previews or advertising to make parents think twice.

Therefore, my first reaction to the movie stands: Iron Man was AWESOME, except for the one minute scene in the middle of the first 15 minutes.

~ jenelle

3 Comments

Evan

Can’t wait to go see Iron Man! I was THRILLED to read your first sentence!

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Nancy

I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of Iron Man 1 !
I’ll be curious to read your review of #3.
:)

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