This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Arielrocks5’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
A few things I noticed while rewatching this for both the first time in years and dealing with the various different films that came after it.
- i think a lot of us undervalue how much this movie works not only because of Downey Jr, but because of Matthew Libatique as the DOP.
there's a lot of imagery in this film that wouldn't feel that out of place in a regular modern war film (particularly during the first forty minutes) and even when we aren't during the dirtier points, there's a certain texture to his images that feel lacking in a lot of later entries in the series. It feels like you're watching something meant to be seen in the theater, rather than something that looks like something you'd catch on TNT on a rainy sunday.
- speaking of, there's a lot less TV quality editing than I remember as well, with a lot of dynamic cuts and translations that don't feel the need to cut to overly long establishing shots and instead would rather have the setting it cuts to speak for itself.
- during the cave escape sequence, there's a lot of cause and effect shots of Tony flaming the various weapons these terrorists bought from his company, but there's also a good number of shots that linger on the logo of "Stark Industries", treating this a lot less like he's doing this because it'll make it easier to escape, but because this is the final nail in the coffin for who he once was, taking the term "burning the bridge" to its most literal.
- something as well, this is never brought up by him specifically during any point in the movie. he does mention that he escaped, and that his weapons were there, but he doesn't bring up how he destroyed them himself. this is solely something for us and him to experience, understanding the value of showing a character's growth rather than telling us about it.
- the pacing and humor don't feel as rapid fire. there's a lot of points when Favreau allows both the action and the dialogue to just breathe for a few seconds before throwing us back into the thick of it, along with a few instances of not playing much music, allowing for the intensity of the situation to speak for itself rather than, again, have the film tell us about it.
- i know a lot of people look down upon Jeff Bridges' Obadiah Stane as "just another guy in a suit" villain, but there's a lot more to him than i think many realize.
he isn't just a guy in a suit; he's the closest link to his father that Tony has after he died, and someone who used him to take his own company from right under him, using him to his own advantage to make a good profit off of both sides of an on going struggle.
and when both eventually throw down, there's a lot more personal weight behind it than just being "a big suit vs a small suit"; it's Tony facing off against the man who tried to murder him with the help of terrorists wearing the suit that he designed to escape it. Obby is only using the suit as a way to create more chaos and profit; Tony used it as his gateway to a better life, which is a lot more interesting than some who write it off tend to think it is.
that's about all i was able to take away from this majorly. besides all of that, as it is, this is still a really solid action film with a surprisingly strong emotional core at its center about trauma and trying to escape who you once were and become something better.