Grab-bag of Iron Man awesomeness
Spot Tony's MIT class ring
FAA's regulations on alcohol and flying planes
Newsarama: Iron Man sequel planned for April 2010
Tony Stark will make you feel ... like a customized Lego figurine
Comics Worth Reading conversation: What Iron Man comics should I pick up?
Pandagon: Pepper and Tony = Jeeves and Wooster
And my own two cents on it
I can't get over how much I enjoyed Iron Man. I mean two screenings in just the opening weekend enjoyed it. Regret not sneaking into another showing immediately after the first one enjoyed it. And I've never been an Iron Man fan in my life, though I had a good time reading the first Essential collection a few years ago.
The movie was just a lot of exhilarating fun, and Tony Stark was the kind of bright, fast-talking, arrogant-but-can-back-it-up character I just like spending time with. It's the same mindset I have in reading Starman and the Vampire Files novels for the sake of spending time with Jack Knight and Jack Fleming. It's not so much that I like the plot, but damn, I just like this guy's company, and I'll put up with a surprising amount of bad story to hang out with the guy. Plus it doesn't hurt that Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark is total hot sauce.
Johanna had a good observation about the contemporary feel of the movie. The sci-fi in it comes off to me as pretty believable and pretty achievable. I live in a world where a buddy of mine has the internet in his pocket and my mom thinks about buying an electronic picture frame that cycles through digital photos.
On the level of fun-as-all-hell standalone summer movie, this flick was aces. But when I think on some of its themes or the overarching trends of current movies, I get a little less gleefrenzied.
The movie has no real women characters except for the everything-gopher secretary (admittedly awesome and indispensable), and if we're being generous, the one bangable reporter who shows up in a few scenes. Women are just there to get Tony's coffee and drive him through warzones and sexydance in his private jet. The movie's kinda like a James Bond film on Red Bull, so it's understandable. But when you look at the overall trend of hey-ladies-no-hero-movies-for-you, it's frustrating that there's no female counterpart movie to balance it out. You could show this flick to a Boy Scout troop and they'd walk off completely pumped about making robot kits and growing up to go to MIT like Tony Stark. What do I show to the Girl Scout troop?
It also frustrates me that Tony works to make up for years of warmongering by building ... a super-awesome warsuit. Yes, I can spin this by pointing out that it's the tool he needs to zip around the world and put a stop to misuse of Stark Technologies, but still: super-awesome warsuit. Tony Stark wants to make the most of his life as Yensin urges him to do, but I didn't once hear anyone suggesting the Alfred Nobel route of compensating for a career of industrial destruction.
I'd also like to see someone with more cultural analysis chops than I have explore how this movie fits in with the American cult of the individual and how the USA often opts to go it alone in international conflict. Maybe they could also touch on the USA's military-industrial split personality: with the left hand (Stane), we'll sell you the explodies, and with the right hand (Stark), we'll come back and smash you for using them. And they might have a few words about the storytelling of replacing the original yellow peril villain with a burlap peril villain. You could wring a entire doctoral thesis out of this movie in the right frame of mind.