5/20/2008

Iron Man

It’s been several weeks, but I still feel obligated to wind out my thoughts having seen “Iron Man”.

Simply put, I liked the movie. A lot. It wasn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, but I enjoyed seeing it in theaters, and will see it again if invited. (I’m not really the type to organize a get together to see a movie in theaters a second time) I could go on and on about how getting me to possibly see a movie in theaters twice is a fairly huge achievement, given my movie going habits, but the point is made. If that doesn’t convince you, one merely needs to look at the numbers: Over 430 million dollars worldwide so far.

So, why is Iron Man so good, and why is that of particular interest to me?

When Marvel Studios was first founded in 1993, they were in the business of licensing their properties to movie studios, believing that it was easier to hire people accomplished in the movie industry rather than try to build a studio themselves.

Then came “Hulk”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulk_%28film%29 provides a fairly good overview of the movie, but all you need to know is that critical reception was lukewarm at best, and it received the infamous title of the largest single opening weekend to a movie that still failed to earn $150 million nationally. I’m not 100% sure of how the story goes, but I’ve heard that in the wake of this film specifically, Marvel decided that their intellectual properties were better off in their own hands than in the hands of another studio. They formed a distribution deal with Paramount, and begin producing their own movies, with the outside consultation of Avi Arad, former Marvel CEO. “Iron Man” is the first film to come out of this arrangement.

Opinions are all over the place, but personally, “Iron Man” is my favorite Marvel movie so far. It would seem that knowing your intellectual properties backwards and forwards is more important than being an accomplished and established studio with previous experience in the industry. Likewise, it seems that if the people who know the property hold on to creative control come hell or high water, it won't necessarily make a better movie, but it will make a movie that delivers better on the expectations of people who go to see it, which is almost the same thing.
It's also worth noting, by the way, that I was a little skeptical about the remake of the Hulk movie set for later this year. The rumors say, however, that Edward Norton was asked to be the original, and turned it down, because he didn't think it was going to be very good.

3 comments:

Carol said...

I tend to agree with your thoughts on this subject. Great entertainment comes out of having a singularity of vision and being willing to sacrifice to maintain it.

Monique said...

I loved Iron Man. I've always hated superhero movies, but in the past few years they've gotten a lot right and improved as a genre.

William said...

Thanks for the thoughts. I'm still real iffy about the Hulk movie, but we'll see.