I’ve got something to tell you, and you aren’t going to like it:
There’s a really good chance Iron Man isn’t going to be as good as you think it is.
No, I haven’t seen it yet. Call it a gut feeling.
But even if it’s just okay doesn’t mean it won’t be fun, or you won’t have a good time. It just may not be satisfying in the way that a truly great movie can be. And that’s the other thing I have to tell you:
It isn’t supposed to be.
Movie blockbusters can be entertaining, and a great way to spend a few hours in the dark. Astounding sums of money are spent to make sure that you are well entertained in an optimized manner. But the goal isn’t about being great, it’s about being just good enough. And maybe just a little bit better then that, if you’re lucky. But they still have to be the kind of thing you can wrap a nice, safe, advertising campaign around.
Sure, every few years there’s an X-Men 2, Batman Begins, or Fellowship of the Ring that manages to surprise you with a good solid story lurking amongst the twisted metal and flying dinosaurs and/or robots. But that’s the exception and not the rule. And even then there’s invariably the let-down that comes when you watch it again on DVD and realize that perhaps it wasn’t as good as you remembered, and maybe you are still capable of being suckered in with whiz-bang effects and hot-chicks in leather-spandex short shorts.
And then there are the bombs. Big budget disasters like the The Chronicles of Riddick, or Superman Returns. Films that you leave wondering just where everything went so very, very wrong. Maybe they tried to break out of the mold. Or, what’s worse is that maybe they tried to be exactly what they were, and they failed anyway.
Either way, when you spend one hundred fifty million dollars or more, your first order of business is to make that money back. You need to be something for everyone rather than the right thing for someone. And so we get these sleek entertainment machines, designed to give everyone who sees them a consistent entertainment experience; the feeling of something different while being pretty much the same thing every time. A video hypodermic of pre-measured fun delivered directly to your cerebral cortex. A highly clinical procedure where the nurse is played by Jessica Alba.
But like I said, I haven’t seen the movie yet. Maybe this time I’m wrong. Maybe this time it’ll be perfect.