Iron Man = win

Bad Astronomy
By Phil Plait
May 4, 2008 5:32 AMNov 5, 2019 7:06 AM


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We just got back from Iron Man, and I must say it was really, really good. Very cool flick, lots of fun, action, silliness, and comic-book-type overthetoposity. In fact, I wouldn't hesitate to tell people to go see it. And that's coming from me! Of course, since this is coming from me, I do have the odd nitpick or two^*. Mild spoilers below. Actually, these really are mild complaints. In movies, inertia and momentum never seem to be problems. Falling from the sky from several thousand meters up = dead guy. Period. The suit can be as strong as you like, but the guy inside is still made of squishy organic glop, and it has inertia. The suit may survive the impact intact, but Stark would be not much more than a slightly gelatinous smear covering the inside front of it.

Ditto for when he tests the rockets. Hitting concrete at anything more than about 20 kph is a recipe for a long hospital stay. At least. And then when he tested the boosters again, he wasn't wearing a helmet! They blew the opportunity for a good sight gag there too. He's also in the middle of several explosions, especially at the end. Fire -- and stop me if I'm being too technical -- is hot. Being in the middle of a fireball would provide a heat dissipation problem. Well, sure, you say, but maybe the suit has AC in it. OK, I'll buy that -- but at the climactic scene in the end, he's not wearing the helmet! The last explosion would have given us Robert Brownie Jr. HAHAHAHA! Get it? He would've been cooked! Like a brownie. This, you see, is why I don't write movie scripts. Also, the timing was all weird. How long does it take to get to Afghanistan, even at, say, Mach 3? The answer is: a long time. Hours. How long can he thrust like that? What kind of propellant was he using? Wouldn't he get uncomfortable, holding his hands like that all that time? I didn't notice a catheter in the suit either. And he drank a lot of coffee. Still and all, it's a comic book movie, so I'm forgiving. In fact, it was a totally awesome movie! I'm no real fan of Gwyneth Paltrow, but even she was pretty good in her role (though watching her pretend to run urgently from the lab while a giant metallic insane guy was chasing her was pretty silly -- and how did she run in those heels across a mesh metal walkway?). I could have done without the Jeff Bridges silliness at the end. Suddenly he growls like a monster? But up to that point he was really good. And Robert Downey Jr. is simply a phenomenal actor. If they could continue casting comic book movies with actors of this caliber, and get good writers behind them, then maybe these things will have a future. Oh, one last thing: if you're into comic books, make sure you stay past the end of the credits. There's a final scene you need to see...

^*I am, in the end, one of those sorts.

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