Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dark Knight & Iron Man

This has been quite a summer for superhero films. I recently saw "Iron Man" again with a friend in San Francisco. It was my third(I think) time, and it is a very entertaining film. When I was reading Marvel Comics in the '60's, Iron Man was definitely a second or third tier character in the Marvel universe. My favorites were initially Spider-man, the Fantastic Four, Thor.... Later my tastes shifted to Dr. Strange and the Silver Surfer. But I always read Iron Man. I actually liked his first incarnation in the bulky, unwieldy suit. He was sort of like a walking trash can with metal arms. They soon streamlined his suit. I remember Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan were initially drawn(by Don Heck, I think) as almost cartoon characters. As the series progressed, they made the secretary more and more attractive, until she became a primary love interest for Tony Stark. Robert Downey IS Tony Stark. His one liners are incredibly entertaining. Gwynneth Paltrow is a great Pepper. Jon Favreau plays the chauffeur, as well as directing the film. I thought he was a perfect Foggy Nelson to Ben Affleck's Matt Murdock in Daredevil. My favorite aspect of the film was seeing the transformation of playboy military industrialist Tony Stark into a warrior with focused goals and a global sense. A person who is willing to take responsibility for what he himself has brought into the world. The flight sequences go from spectacular to very humorous. I had a great time every time I saw it.

"The Dark Knight" is a much better film, although possibly not as much fun. I am on my third viewing. I don't know if there will be a fourth until the dvd. Heath Ledger's Joker is mesmerizing. Christian Bale as Batman has become my favorite by far, surpassing the Michael Keaton Batman of the first 2 film. It is quite a feat to give the public everything they look for in a superhero/action film and at the same time tackle topics many more serious films shy away from. What is the line between sanity and insanity? Once you cross the line, can you go back? Should Batman for the greater good kill the Joker? Can the Joker be killed at all? After all, insanity can't be killed, only, possibly, healed. My favorite line in the film was where Batman is asked by one of his imitators, also a vigilante, what separates the 2 of them. Christian Bales answer? "I aint wearin' hockey pants!"


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