I guess Ozzy (OZZY! OZZY!) reads comic books too, 'cause this is clearly the same deal. I wouldn't have thought he was that advanced, but there you go. Life is full of surprises. Ozzy is a very great man, dammit. Okay, Robert Browning he ain't, but a hell of a lot of teenage potheads have survived adolescence because Ozzy was there and Ozzy understood, you know? And back in the day, Tony Iommi was one of the great heavy riff-meisters of all time. Is there any riff heavier than this? "Smoke on the Water" doesn't quite cut it; "Bad Mouth" by Fugazi is in the ballpark. This is el primo stompin' guitar noise, kids, and a crucial element of your cultural heritage as Americans. Or whatever else you may be. "Drinking beer and banging out power chords" indeed.

Incidentally, the Swedish ironico-lounge-pop mutants The Cardigans covered this song. I've heard their version of it: Sort of a wispy, pseudo-jazzy thing, with a soprano breathily cooing the lyric. Weeeird. They covered "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", too. I heard somewhere that most of the band used to play heavy metal but then they got bored with that, recruited a breathy soprano, and... I'm not sure I believe that.

This wuz writ by Ozzy Osbourne, from the seminal (stop snickering!) Black Sabbath album Paranoid.


Has he lost his mind?
Can he see or is he blind?
Can he walk at all,
Or if he moves will he fall?

… We'll just pass him there
Why should we even care?

He was turned to steel
In the great magnetic field

… Planning his vengeance
That he will soon unfold

Now the time is here
For Iron Man to spread fear
Vengeance from the grave
Kills the people he once saved

Nobody wants him
They just turn their heads

Heavy boots of lead
Fills his victims full of dread
Running as fast as they can
Iron Man lives again!
In American football, there are usually at least two sub-teams of 11 players on each side: the offense and the defense. The defensive players and the offensive players take turns being on the field, depending on which side has the ball. This allows them to rest and conserve their energy for quick, explosive plays when it's their turn.

Sometimes a player will stay on the field and play for both the offensive team and the defensive team. Such a player is said to be playing iron man because of the incredible endurance needed for such a feat.

The term iron man may also be applied to any athletic event which demands unusual endurance. An ordinary marathon is not specifically an iron man event, because all marathons are equally brutal. A double marathon would certainly be an iron man event.

Black Sabbath's Iron Man was also covered on the album: Nativity in Black: A Tribute to Black Sabbath. Strangely, for a cover, the lyrics are 're-sung' by Ozzy Osbourne, the difference being the band itself. In this case, Therapy? are backing Ozzy up. I'd say this version sounds heavier than the original - heavy as Black Sabbath were at the time, they can sound quite thin when listened to today. (Still awesome of course)

I used to collect Iron Man comic books years ago. Actually, I still have an original Iron Man comic art page signed by the artist, inker and author.

One of the nifty things about the Iron Man series was that it was one of the first to include some common "Real Life" problems into the storyline. In this case, it was alcoholism. Some of the long-term life-changing results of going overboard with firewater were covered. Since it was geared towards young kids (mostly males), it was an adapted "don't drink" advertisement. In my opinion it was well-written, and the anti-alcohol message did not overshadow the entire storyline.

A super-hero published by Marvel Comics. Iron Man first appeared in Tales of Suspense #39 in 1962. The character was created by Stan Lee

Tony Stark was an industrialist who inherited a large fortune from his family which Stark used to create Stark Enterprises. Lead by Stark, the company became a leader in technology production, often selling new and novel items created by its founder. One of the company's other areas was as a weapons manufacturer.

It was in his role as a weapons manufacturer that Stark traveled to Vietnam during the 1960's. While there, Stark stepped upon a land mine planted by the enemy. The shrapnel from the mine lodged near his heart. He awoke from the explosion to discover he had been captured by Wong Chu, the leader of the communist forces in the area. Wong Chu forced Stark into build a powerful weapon to aid in their cause. Stark instead built himself a chest plate to keep the shrapnel from killing him and expanded upon it, creating a suit of armor with a myriad of abilities. Defeating his captors with his new armor, Iron Man was born.

For many years, Stark was dependent upon the armor to keep him alive. The original grey armor was soon replaced with a similiar suit but one painted gold. These early suits later gave way to a gold and red suit that has become the trademark of Iron Man. Stark's dependence on his armor for prolonging his life ended after he had surgery to remove the shrapnel. He has continued to wear the armor as Iron Man, pretending to be an employee of his company who is employed as Stark's bodyguard

Iron Man has had many enemies over the years including the Mandarin, the Melter, the Titanium Man, and many others. But as difficult as fighting these villains have been, Stark's greatest battle was with alcoholism. For a time, he lost his entire business and fortune. During that time, the mantle of Iron Man was taken by Stark's pilot and friend Jim Rhodes. Stark eventually recovered and resumed his duties as Iron Man.

Stark spent the latter part of the 80's searching out other armor wearing individuals, both heroes and villains, after discovering key components used in his armor had been stolen through corporate espionage. Engaging in an Armor War, Stark engendered the anger of the U.S. government and his fellow Avengers, eventually having to resign as a member of the team. Stark eventually had to fake his own death at the hands of armored villain built by one of his competitors and return in a new armor, claiming that the new Iron Man was a different man than the one who had gone on this rampage.

Stark's life continued to take a series of bizarre twists. He was paralyzed below the waist after being shot by an obsessive woman he had dated. He was confined to a floating "wheel chair" for a time and only mobile as Iron Man through the use of brain scanning technology that allowed him to operate the legs of his suit through thought. He eventually overcame this through the surgical implantation of a chip in his spine, but this too proved to be difficult when the chip was used by competitors to hijack his nervous system and cause him to lose control of his body. He was able to control his suit through thought but eventually he had to place himself in suspended animation until a cure could be found. During this time, Jim Rhodes again took over as Iron Man, though in a more aggressive suit of Stark's design, called the War Machine.

In the years that followed, Stark was manipulated by the time traveling Kang to betray the Avengers, gave his life to stop him and was replaced by a teenage Stark from an alternate time line. He and other Marvel heroes sacrificed themselves to stop the threat of Onslaught and were shunted to an alternate universe for a bit and when they were returned, Stark was once again an adult.

In the past few years, Stark has been a key player in the Civil War event, heading up government backed heroes who sought to have all super-humans register with the U.S. government. He has been revealed to be part of the Illuminati, a group of powerful heroes who have secretly banded together to address threats to the world in a proactive manner, rather than reactively as is the usual mode of operation for super-heroes.

The Iron Man armor has gone through many changes over the years. The standard suit has many features. These include boot jets that allow the wearer to fly, the ability to sustain life support for the wearer independent of the outside environment, and destructive beams that can be fired from the suit's gloves. These beams are known as repulsor rays. Other abilities of the suits over the years have included the ability to chameleon with the surroundings, a beam that shoots from the armor's chest, roller skates that pop from the boots, an EMP generator, and many other abilities. There have even been specialized suits that Iron Man has used over the years for specialized missions, including ones for underwater use and for space exploration, as well as a stealth suit that was invisible to detection from radar and such as well as being painted black for that extra cool touch.

Iron Man, along with the Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man, and the Wasp, became the founders of the super-hero group, the Avengers.

They say the best weapon is the one you never have to fire. I prefer the weapon you only need to fire once. That's how Dad did it; that's how America does it, and it's worked out pretty well so far.

-Tony Stark

Finally, a new Marvel superhero gets a movie franchise. Woohoo; hold on to your hats, it's Tony Stark's turn in the spotlight - and he's bringing his hot-rod red metalflake with him when he comes.

The movie of Iron Man, released May 2, 2008 in the U.S. market, is an early jump on the summer blockbuster, possibly in an attempt to stake out what looks to be a crowded field. With upcoming releases including a mega-franchise revival, another superhero returning strong, a complete do-over of yet another Marvel property, even more franchise resuscitations, and returns of once-popular television properties it's best to get an early go on. So they did. The real question is, how did they do?

Well. On the one hand, I don't want to give spoilers. On the other, it's sort of hard to do so when the trailers have offered up so much material. I'll start with the general and move to the specific; if you think I'm getting too close to things you don't want to read, skip ahead.

I was a reader of Iron Man in his original comic incarnation, although not a regular one. I enjoyed Iron Man for the particularly American superhero sensibility. As the poster says: "Superheroes aren't born - they're made." That's good ol' U.S. know-how at work there, son. Tony Stark, Iron Man's original ego, isn't a dark and tortured man lost in his past. He's not a son of alien skies. He's not a casualty of science gone MAD! No; he's an engineer. An inventor. A rich one. He builds, as he puts it, 'things that blow up,' and makes a good living selling those weapons to the military - until one day, when he finds himself on the other ends of those toys, fighting for his life.

So much for the story. The rest is frankly unimportant. This movie isn't about redemption or about closure or about revenge - no, let's be clear. It's about toys. Tony Stark, played with verve by Robert Downey Jr., has all the best toys the world has ever seen. But guess what - he finds a new one. And this one has a purpose. Probably the best way to describe the movie is 'constructo-porn' - we watch a design system that any of the geeks or artists of us would give major organs to own used to build what has to be the biggest wish fulfillment ever.

Yeah. I can fly.

-Tony Stark, again

The movie delivers on the toy factor. Hoo boy, does it. If you've ever wanted to feel the thrill of the mad scientist when he flips the switch, or pulls on the helmet, or plain shouts "IGOR! THE LEVER!" then you're well taken care of, here. If you ever wanted to see how a completely self-obsessed fictional gazillionaire lives, well, you're all set. Frankly, I didn't think a private airplane's structure would handle a stripper pole, but hey - whatever your flight attendants can do to make your flight more enjoyable, I suppose.

There are the usual 'updatings.' The movie opens in Afghanistan, where our hero is captured by Al-Qaeda lookalikes, rather than the North Vietnamese (Or was it North Korean?) bunker he invents his way out of in the comics. Many of our favorite military toys are on proud display - F-22 Raptors, Global Hawk UAVs, etc. etc. In general, however, the storyline runs pretty closely to the original 'origin story' of Iron Man. So, points added.

The problem comes in with pacing. There are some dingers of fight scenes, and some of the early ones are viscerally satisfying. But there's not enough of them, and there's a point near the end, and you'll recognize it even if you don't agree with me, where the movie sort of...plateaus. It's almost as if they've spent so much budget on the special effects needed just to run Tony Stark's regular life, that they forgot to leave in enough for a really spectacular ending, and instead they sort of rehash some stuff with a hastily-thrown-together plotline. Oh, sure, it's a 'boss fight' - but the suspension of disbelief suddenly gets much much higher, for no good reason.

I liked this movie. Don't get me wrong. But the ending of it feels not like the end of a summer blockbuster, but the end of a middle movie of a trilogy, released in January. It just doesn't quite do it. There's a clever bit right at the end, I guess; some serious fan service - but again, it just makes this movie into a 'middle flick.' Stay after the credits to see what I mean.

Still. I'm not sorry at the $11.75 I paid to see it on a big screen. And damn, I want Jarvis' UI. Even when the best 'funny' moments are Stark talking to his 'bots, the movie was entertaining. It just wasn't what I'd call a 'blockbuster.' But they've already announced the sequel, so I suppose it made its nut.

In response to TheLady's take, below - Sounds like you were alienated quick, all right. The thing is that Tony Stark is a self-absorbed, misogynist alcoholic pre-Iron Man in the source material. He's supposed to be like that. So to be fair, it sounds like it was Iron Man the property that alienated you, not specifically Iron Man the movie.

Iron Man

Director: Jon Favreau
Running Time: 126 minutes
Cast:

 

Iron Man, the movie: How to completely alienate half your audience in three easy moves.

About two minutes into the movie Tony Stark is acting all surprised that a US Airman is a woman, as he apparently "couldn't tell". Never daunted, he smoothly segues into asserting that now that he knows she is a woman, he "can't help looking", and she "has some great bone structure there". Wow - from insulting her femininity to sexual harassment, and he didn't so much as draw breath in between. Of course the airman laughs along with everyone else, as it would be inconceivable for the women in any of these piles of misogynistic cack masquerading as popular culture to not play along with the set up.

36 hours earlier, in the chronology of the film, Stark is being accosted by an aggressive reporter asking him cutting questions about the morality of his weapons production company. At first he counters her claims with the usual platitudes (in RDJr's credit, looking rather bored all the while), but then decides to do away with the pointless political controversy and returns her question about losing any sleep with "I'd like to lose a few hours with you". I know, smooth. Get this: we cut - not even pan, but a sharp cut - from that line directly to self same reporter bouncing up and down on our Tony with every sign of hysterical enjoyment.

About fifteen minutes in we see him supping warm sake and enjoying the finest sashimi onboard his private jet - just in case any of the above made you think he wasn't a man of refined sensibilities - then quickly cut to a later time when the flight attendant's uniforms have variously shrunk, been taken off or rolled up, and they are dancing around the cabin while Tony and his mate lounge on a leather sofa, observing. Yeah. Just in case you're too dense to have gotten it, as the camera pans off this scene a dancing pole rises from the floor to become attached to the ceiling and presumably give the girls someone to dance with.

At this point the film kind of lost me. There were a lot of explosions. Some people who could speak Urdu, Pashtun, Arabic, Farsi, Hungarian, Mongolian and Russian were apparently too dumb to get English. He fell on a car. Gwyneth Paltrow phoned in a performance, possibly as a protest of the aforementioned misogynistic cack but equally likely due to the dampening effect of some of the worst hair in a major Hollywood movie ever.

It sucked.


I've been typing versions of the below into my text box for the last three days, in response to the myriad blokes who came back with apologia for this piece of cinematic excrement ranging from "this was made by guys, for guys, so you don't understand" to "Tony Stark is supposed to be like that, he's like that in the original comics, you're not a fan so you don't understand":

Your argument is extremely patronising. Why do you assume that I am not a comics fan and didn't "know what to expect" coming in? I know perfectly well what Marvel comics are like, as well as how they have been updated for a more modern audience in recent time. Even if I didn't though, the mysoginy in the film could not be explained away by saying "oh, they're just being faithful to the text". The original comics were all about fighting communism, the Chinese etc.: if the producers of this film are so reverentially faithful to their source materials, how come in the movie it's Islamic terrorism? Answer: far from any loyalty to Stan Lee's original concept, the producers believe that "balls to the wall action" as you call it can only be made entertaining by appealing to the worst prejudices of the audience - mysoginy and Islamophobia being just two of them. It's very far from impossible to update a fifties comic for a modern audience; Brian Singer did a fantastic job with the first two X-Men movies, and the new Batman franchise is excellent. This was just lazy filmmaking by people who really believe that a dance pole in an air cabin and flight attendants who double as strippers are marks of "the good life".

I actually have an extensive comics collection and am a big Marvel fan; part of my outrage at the medieval gender politics of the movie stem from the fact that I feel excluded from the legitimate audience and marginalised as a viewer by them. I suppose Favreau et al thought the same as the guys flooding my Message Inbox with excuses and explanations: women really aren't part of their target audience. Which is exactly what I was saying. Which sucks in a majorly disturbing way.

I found Iron Man, the 2008 Marvel movie to be more deft than your average superhero comic adaptation - it hit the right notes without seeming cheesy, which seems a common pitfall of movies that put comic-book action and drama on the screen. This more natural acting is apparently a result of a lot of impovisation1, giving it a less stiff feel than, for instance, the X-men movies.

It's not deep, but it's quite thrilling. Robert Downey Jr. was a stroke of casting brilliance, and Gwyneth Paltrow and the rest seemed more like their characters than just being star actors. Jeff Bridges looked nothing like The Dude. The characters seem like individuals, not stock stereotypes. It never seems forced.

Spoilers. Analysis and Spoilers

Read no further if you don't want to know what happens in the movie.

Inside there's a story of masculinity, or at least the myths of it: Tony Stark, whataman! He has loads of money, loads of talent, wit, power, fast cars and other big toys, hot chicks falling for him, and he has sex with them and then discards them. He has no parents to answer to. He does what he wants when he wants. He's blunt and sarcastic, he doesn't have to please anyone. He drinks far too much, womanises and lets people down, not out of malice but because he doesn't care about anybody. Himself included. I'd call him misogynistic, only he doesn't treat his male friends so well either. In short, he's a grown-up boy writ large. He's Bruce Wayne inside out.

So what happens? He goes away, gets his heart broken (literally), comes back changed (the standard Hero With A Thousand Faces story), starts to develop a conscience and sense of purpose, reconnects with his creative talents, becomes a hard man (again literally, it's a comic) to armour his fragile heart, kills his enemies on the battlefield and starts to right some of the wrongs that he is responsible for. Finally he defeats in single combat his older alpha male rival, who has become corrupt and evil, and is also bigger and stronger but more brutish than him. He does this by using his cunning and the power of his new heart (almost literally). And he commits to a woman who has been loyal to him despite his childish behaviour.

Put that way it sounds unoriginal, but it's all in how you tell it.

So it's a story about growing up, turning from a grown boy into a man. Of sorts. Most of us would disagree that it's necessary to kill in battle or punch your boss in order to be an adult male, but it is part of the myth.


1) Improvisation:
http://www.thedeadbolt.com/news/104444/robertdowney_interview.php
http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=16240%22

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.