Week Five: #47 – Iron Man

The Nitpicker Guide to the Movies

“See the films you love in a whole new way!”


All hail the Golden Age of comic book movies!  (Hail!)  I am a self-professed comic-book geek, and it was about doggoned time the emerging digital technology allowed some of my favorite characters the movies they deserved.  I will admit that I’ve never been a huge fan of Tony Stark and the Hot-Rod Red Suit That Could…but Favreau and company put together a great little film here.  Kudos to them!

I won’t get into movie-versus-original-comics too much here–I’m saving up that rant for Spider-Man


-0:02:32 The Hummer ten feet in front of Stark’s explodes.  Cut to a wide shot, and while the lead Hummer is still in front of the exploding one, Stark’s has disappeared.

-0:18:45 Pretty early on, but it’s time for the Will Award!  “What is this?”  “That is an electromagnet hooked up to a car battery.  And it is keeping the shrapnel from entering your heart.”  So the magnet is keeping enough tension on the metal fragments so that they don’t kill Stark?  Wildly inventive, and ever so slightly ridiculously implausible. 

-0:20:13 They’re in an Afghanistan cave.  Yet the terrorist leader wants Stark to build his state-of-the-art, top-of-the-line Jericho missile.  Using what, a steam engine?  Some duct tape?

-0:32:28 It’s a very cool effect that the iron suit has a window right in the chest so that the miniature arc reactor’s light shines through.  Very cool but absolutely ridiculous!  How much extra work did it take to install that window, and what possible purpose does it serve–besides making a great target?

-0:32:46 Stark and the Doctor are working in such a way that the camera the Big Bad Terrorist is looking at can’t see them.  Except there’s four cameras in this very small room.  How are they out of all the shots?

-0:34:19 Doctor looks at the computer screen–the Loading bar is just past halfway.  He and Stark have a moment where the Doctor realizes he needs to buy more time, Doc runs out with a machine gun, and Stark looks at the Loading bar.  Now it’s just under halfway full.  (No wonder this is taking so long!)

-0:38:14 Just because it happens in every movie doesn’t make it un-pickable.  Stark is in the middle of a firefight, but he stops for a long moment with the dying Doctor…and nobody fires at them, shouts, sets off an explosion, or does anything whatsoever to interrupt the moment.

-0:39:03 Stark is so confident in his armor that he just stands at the mouth of the cave, letting the bad guys shoot at him for fifteen seconds.  There are rockets attached to this suit, hydraulics, gas tanks for the flamethrowers…what possible sense does this make?  (Is he institutionalized?  Afraid to leave the cave he now loves?)

-0:40:20 Sand or no sand, it’s amazing that Stark survives a two-hundred foot fall, in this very heavy metal suit, without breaking every bone in his body.

-0:49:19 Stark is replacing his cave-made chest reactor with a Tony Stark home special.  Why does he need this appliance at all?  Is there no hospital in the country, no doctor qualified to remove the shrapnel that’s threatening him?  Why walk around the rest of his life with such a disability if he doesn’t have to?

-0:56:37 Hilarity as 10% Thrust Capacity throws Stark into the wall.  Was there no computer simulation to try first, make sure this was safe?  Run the simulation using a mannequin, maybe?  If Stark is hurt doing this, one of the most important men in the world is out of the picture.  Can you imagine Steve Jobs running a simulation this way?

Sure lucky Stark doesn’t break all his ribs, the way he hits that stone wall…

-1:02:36 Okay, I’m going to get this off my chest now, as Stark performs his very first true flight test.  This didn’t win the Will Award only because I’m not 100% certain of my science.  But I’m pretty sure, and I have my friend Steven Rhodes (an actual rocket scientist) backing me up.  Flight is possible because of something called the Bernoulli principle.  A very quick-and-dirty explanation is that when there are more molecules flowing underneath a wing than there are on top, the pressure of those molecules forces the wing up. 

Notice how I use the word wing.  Every aircraft from a helicopter to a 747 to one of those human flight suits seen in the second Tomb Raider movie have some sort of winglike control surface.  One thing the Iron Man suit does not have in any way, shape or form.

I suppose I can buy that the amazing miniature arc reactor keeping Stark alive also powers the suit, and that said power negates the need for fuel to burn.  Which makes me wonder what the flames are coming out his boots, but anyway–what I do not buy for a moment is that without wings it is possible for Stark to have any control over his trajectory.  Thank you, and goodnight.

-1:02:48 Stark holds out his arms then folds them to his body–and when he does, his speed increases.  Why?  Aren’t the boots providing the thrust?  Does he have to flap his arms when he wants to go faster?  Or did he just know how cool he’d look?

-1:15:58 Iron Man “flies” from California halfway around the world to bring justice to this village in the desert.  Can you imagine how long and boring a flight that was?  Did the Heads-Up Display come with free in-flight movies?  Even if this suit can manage 1,000 miles an hour (and I seriously doubt it can) that’s still a thirteen, fourteen hour flight!!

-1:18:33 After Iron Man saves the villagers he takes off again in search of his errant Jericho missiles.  Then a tank round blindsides him.  Maybe a little less time spent deciding what color the suit should be and a little more time including some radar would have been a good idea!  (I’m just saying–my robotic suit doesn’t look nearly as good, but it totally has radar)

-1:21:40 This suit can “fly” in any direction.  Why does Iron Man keep going straight forward as the jets fire missiles and bullets at him?  Does the term ‘evasive maneuvers’ mean anything?

-1:36:20            Obadiah sneaks in and uses his ultrasonic device to paralyze Stark.  He paralyzes Stark.  Obie even describes the device as causing “short-term paralysis.”  That’s why it’s very interesting, even amusing, that between the shot wide shot of Tony against the couch and the close-up, his supposedly paralyzed head has moved significantly.  Same thing at 1:36:33.

-1:42:08 Both Obie’s big silver suit and Iron Man’s suit continue with the design element of a big, bright light right in the middle of the chestplate.  You know, like a convenient target type light.  Right where, arguably, the suits are most vulnerable!  (Hey, if the miniature power supply goes, these suits are just extremely heavy paperweights)

-1:44:04 Obie in the Big Suit waits for Pepper to turn and look in his direction, then turns the suit’s eyelights on and starts raising to his full height.  What a flair for the dramatic this guy has, standing hunched over in the dark like that, just to make a good first impression!

Enough for one movie.  Next week we finally get to one of the classics: Star Wars, Return of the Jedi!  No pesky midi-chlorians or teenage angst–just space explosions and lightsabers!  Hurrah!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: