Wednesday, May 02, 2007

My Geekish Blood is Rich With Iron

I'm probably getting too old for this stuff, and frankly, Superman Returns was disappointing enough to make me reconsider getting excited about a favorite childhood comic book or cartoon of mine coming to the big screen. For instance, I should be (pardon the pun) climbing the walls with anticipation over Spider-Man 3 hitting theaters this weekend. But I'm a bit subdued. (I should probably save my thoughts on Transformers for now. Oh, Young Ian might get giddy for that one.)

Maybe that's because so much footage has already been shown on TV and the internet (which I've tried to avoid, but if a whole cake is shoved in your face, you can't help but taste it). Or maybe it's because I just feel like there's no way it can be as good as Spider-Man 2. There's too many characters this time, especially on the villains' side. It can't possibly work, can it? (Some people are saying it doesn't.) Of course, I'll still see it this weekend. (And it looks like a Spider-Man 4 is going to happen, even if a new cast and director are necessary. If this is the villain they use, however, Young Ian will pout. And he can really pout.)

Anyway, I'm beginning to ramble. What I was going to say is that there is one comic book movie that will be coming out that I am still excited about. Why? 1) It stars one of my favorite actors, someone who probably should've been a superstar long ago, but let his addictions get in the way. 2) I dig the director. And 3) Of all the comic book heroes that could be adapted into a movie, this is the one that makes the most "real world" sense to me. If you were going to fight crime, wouldn't you want to do it in a suit of armor?

Iron Man wasn't one of Young Ian's favorite superheroes, though he certainly took part in several comic books I bought as a kid. One thing that was always interesting about him, however - as is the case with most Marvel Comics characters - is that he had to deal with some decidedly non-heroic problems. For one thing, Tony Stark built that suit of armor to keep himself alive, with a chestplate that was essentially a pacemaker. Secondly, and probably more important, Stark was an alcoholic. (Curiously, that little character trait is left out of his Marvel Comics profile. And from what I understand, it won't be a part of this movie, though if there's a sequel, it might come up.)

And this is why Robert Downey, Jr. - who seemed like a rather unusual choice, and I was surprised when my buddy Pete told me about it - is almost painfully suited for the role. Tony Stark is a brilliantly talented man whose personal issues and self-destructive character flaws have compromised what success he's achieved. Sound familiar?

This is what the Marvel Comics movies (besides those Fantastic Four flicks) have done really well: pick good actors to play their signature characters. (And considering a couple of them spend sizable chunks of their stories under full face masks or replaced by CGI, the story - or the paycheck - must be compelling enough to attract them.) And it's not just the main superhero or villain, either. Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, and Gwyneth Paltrow are in this, too - either as supporting characters or antagonists.

And in a wonderful bit of timing (which affirms my interest in writing about this), Fried Rice Friend Kevin Antcliff just sent me news that an image of the final Iron Man suit of armor has now been released on the internet. (The picture above is the first suit he builds in Afghanistan, I believe as a prisoner of war.) Of course, the movie's set to be released exactly a year from now, so I'm sure breaking this stuff isn't a coincidence.

I appreciate you indulging my geekish glee by following this post to the end, as I've likely embarrassed myself and displayed stunted emotional development. Carry on with your bad selves. I will now resume taping my glasses and deciding which pens will go best with my pocket protector tomorrow. Excelsior!