One thing that I love today… the last four words spoken in Iron Man.
Before I go further, I’ll stop for a spell and allow anyone who hasn’t seen the film (and has a desire to do so) to jump off the bus. The last thing I want to do with The Ed Zone is turn this into a spoiler site.
All right – now that they’re gone – I’ll pick right back up where I left off – specifically at the very moment Iron Man leaves off.
“I am Iron Man.”
Actually, Robert Downey Jr.’s full delivery – to a crowded press conference is – “The truth is… I am Iron Man.” And with that, Iron Man closes out with a nice subversive jolt to the long-established convention that comic book heroes have to live secretive, sheltered lives in a bid to safeguard their true identity. At the end of Iron Man, the egomaniacal Tony Stark stays true to form, tosses aside his pre-scripted remarks and stays true to his larger than life character by proclaiming, very publicly, that he is the mysterious metallic man that has been jet setting across the globe righting various wrongs.
What’s great about that last line is it is emblematic of the movie as a whole – a whiz-bang adventure that plays fast and loose with the normal genre conventions. Credit director John Favreau (Swingers) for that. His playful, inventive touch on the proceedings makes Iron Man so money, it doesn’t even know it.
Now, this isn’t a formal review by any stretch (after all, I’m really just focusing on one line of dialogue), but there isn’t praise enough for Robert Downey Jr.’s expert essay of Stark – a breezy, boozy billionaire who requires a massive blast to his heart to realize he still has one. Downey is a great talent and this role fits him like a glove. Word is that Favreau effortlessly lobbied the studio to plant Downey Jr. in the part (they were a bit nervous citing Downey’s prior struggles with drug addition). The effort paid off as not only does Downey Jr. do a great job breathing life to this Iron Man but the baggage he carries with him from his personal life does a fine job of coloring in the corners of this larger than life character who is brought down a few pegs before he realizes what is most important in life. And he really knows how to turn a phrase.
“I am Iron Man.”
It’s a moment that is as shocking as it is playful. Sure we’ve seen movies where the hero is unmasked (Spidey seems to lose his head piece at least once a reel) but never have I seen a hero publicly out himself to such a massive degree. In a press conference carried live – beamed across the globe – Stark stays true to form and just lets loose with – “The truth is… I am Iron Man.” And – CUT.
And that last line just sends you out of the theater with a grand, goofy grin plastered across your mug. In a script brimming with some sparkling dialogue, this little bon mot stands tall above the rest. It toys with our expectations while teasing us for Stark’s future endeavors.
The Summer Movie Season has kicked off in high gear. Now, bring on The Man with The Hat.