Critics Consensus: Iron Man Is Heroic, Made of Honor Isn't
Iron Man Is the Best-Reviewed Wide Release of 2008
This week at the movies, we've got metal-plated superheroes (Iron Man,
starring Robert Downey Jr. and
Gwyneth Paltrow) and matrimonial mishaps (Made
of Honor, starring
Patrick Dempsey and
Michelle Monaghan). What do the
critics have to say?
The summer movie season has officially begun -- and it's starting off with a big bang. The critics say Iron Man is everything a blockbuster should be -- action-packed, witty, and thoughtful. Robert Downey Jr. stars as Tony Stark, a brilliant inventor and weapons manufacturer who is taken hostage by a terrorist group and builds a suit of armor to free himself; realizing what a great idea he had, Stark becomes Iron Man, a crime-fighting force to be reckoned with. The pundits say Iron Man is a marvel (pun intended): Downey imbues his role with smarts and good humor; director Jon Favreau stages several thrilling action set-pieces; and co-stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, and Jeff Bridges turn in stellar supporting performances. Plus, the film mixes in a healthy dose of politics for good measure. At 94 percent on the Tomatometer, Iron Man is not only Certified Fresh; it's the best-reviewed wide release of the year, and one of the best-reviewed superhero movies of all time. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we recount other memorable Man movies here, and take a look at our interview with Favreau here.)
"Miss one Family Circus and you're totally out of the loop!"
Ah, counter-programming. When a superhero movie hits theaters, you can generally expect that it will go up against a romantic comedy for box-office bounty. And critics say you can expect every chick flick shtick imaginable to turn up in the nondescript Made of Honor. Patrick Dempsey stars as Tom, a man who realizes that he's in love with his best friend Hannah -- just as she's become engaged to a wealthy Scotsman. Naturally, an attempt to get her to love him before the wedding ensues. Sound familiar? Critics say Made of Honor is essentially a gender reversal on My Best Friend's Wedding, and a mediocre one at that; the performers are fine, but the script revels in cliché and formula. At 15 percent on the Tomatometer, Made of Honor has the wedding bell blues.
Also opening this week in limited release:
Son of Rambow, a Britcom about a group of schoolboys' attempt to make their own homemade Rambo flick, is at 79 percent (check out our take from Sundance here).
Fugitive Pieces, a drama about a man haunted by his childhood World War II experiences, is at 63 percent.
Viva, the tale of a bored 1970s housewife who takes a walk on the wild side, is at 60 percent.
The Argentine import XXY, about the life and loves of a intersex teen, is at 60 percent.
David Mamet's Redbelt, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as Jiu-Jitsu teacher who is forced to step into the ring, is at 62 percent.
And Harmony Korine's Mister Lonely, starring Diego Luna, Samantha Morton, and Werner Herzog in the tale of a commune filled with celebrity impersonators, is at 44 percent.
Best-Reviewed Wide Releases of 2008:
95% -- Iron Man
92% -- U2 3D
85% -- Forgetting Sarah Marshall
80% -- The Spiderwick Chronicles
77% -- Cloverfield