Yesterday, the trailer for Marvel's Iron-Man movie was officially released (no more lousy bootleg video to squint at). The verdict?
From various interviews with director Jon Favreau, to the inspired casting of Robert Downey Jr., and the fact that Marvel is producing it, I've had good feelings about the Iron Man movie from the start...but this trailer confirms that this will definitely be one of the better comic-to-film adaptations.
In fact, considering how shabbily Marvel itself has portrayed Iron-Man recently, the movie may even surpass the comics when it comes to treating the character (and his disillusioned fans) with any kind of respect. For the past couple of years, Iron-Man has been made into either a clueless utopian or a mustache twirling villain-slash-political allegory (depending on the writer), so it's heartening so see the character get some love from somewhere in the pop cultural continuum...in this case, from Hollywood of all places!
Anyway, back to the trailer itself. A few impressions:
1. Robert Downey Jr. was born to play Tony Stark. In just the few scenes I've watched, Downey deftly conveys Stark's intelligence, wry sense of humor, borderline arrogance (okay, full-blown arrogance before his accident), and intensity...not to mention the fact that he really looks like him!
2. I like how the original origin has been "transplanted" into a modern context. Instead of the jungles of Viet-Nam, Stark appears to suffer his life-altering injuries in a Middle Eastern hotspot of some kind (as a result of an IED attack). He also appears to fall into the hands of a generic Islamist terrorist gang....though I've heard the Mandarin is the main bad guy...so maybe the thugs are working for him. We'll see.
3. I really have to hand it to Marvel and Jon Favreau for including the original grey "prototype" armor. If any other studio were producing the movie, I'm positive that we wouldn't be seeing the bigger, bulkier armor for fear that it looked too silly or clumsey. That said, the prototype armor's inclusion is a creative risk...and if the film is in danger of jumping the rails at any point, this is it. Favreau's real test as an action movie director will be to pull off these scenes with a minimum of eye-rolling or unintended laughter from the audience. (fingers crossed)
4. The actual Iron-Man armor looks absolutely amazing...and not nearly as bulky or clumsy-looking as I feared it would. I especially loved the shots of Iron-Man in the dark, with only his eye slits and chest piece glowing.
5. Of course, the highlight of the trailer was Iron-Man's flight with the fighter jets (who was escorting who?), and the final shot of Iron-Man snapping on the booster jets. Definitely one of those "whoa!" moments when the comic book images in my head are suddenly translated to the screen.
6. The only negative reaction I had was the inclusion of the old Black Sabbath tune "Iron Man" in the background of a few action shots, and it's distinctive "I...am...Iron Man" sound bite toward the end of the trailer. I don't know...action films (by law) require driving rock soundtracks, but my fear is that by incorporating such an obvious (and borderline campy) head-banger artifact into the film, it may produce an effect or reaction the filmmakers aren't intending. Not a big deal...and it may never find its way into the finished film....but just enough to add a note of caution to my enthusiasm for the film.
So...what do the rest of you think?