Crispy Gamer

Iron Man 2 Writer Discusses the New Blu-ray Disc and Sega’s Videogame

NEW YORK CITY -- After topping $621 million in the global box office, Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2 has come home to Blu-ray Disc and DVD with a slew of special features from Paramount Home Entertainment. One of the men behind the iron suit, Marvel Comics scribe Matt Fraction (The Invincible Iron Man), worked with Favreau on the film and helped game publisher Sega craft an original interactive story. He talks about the new Blu-ray Disc and the game that’s available for multiple platforms in this exclusive interview.

How did you get involved with the Iron Man 2 videogame?

Well, I write the comic. I believe the filmmakers liked the comic and so they had me out to talk about the film. I’m a gamer, and it’s not a secret at Marvel that I game. I was an intersection point where they could use someone like me to make sure the flavor of Iron Man was as they came to the game. I helped add the grain and the texture to it that might have otherwise been missing.

What are your thoughts on the direction of Iron Man 2?

When Tony declares, “I am Iron Man.” It’s both the best, and the worst day of his life. Things get great and exciting for him, but it excites and energizes his enemies in a way they haven’t been energized before. There are a lot of ghosts in Tony’s past, and a lot of skeletons in his closet. He was a warlord in a weapons manufacturer and war profiteer, depending on your way of looking at it. He has a lot of enemies, and he’s made a lot of spooky things. Just because he wants to be a good guy, and a superhero and make the world a better place, doesn’t mean everybody else does. It’s really about the ghosts of Tony Stark’s past coming to haunt his future. War Machine’s in it.

What is it that you like about Tony Stark?

I liked that his strength and his weakness are both so irrevocably intertwined. I like that he can be so great, he has such potential, but he's also so frail and so weak. He is his own worst enemy. There's a contradiction there that's very rich, and you could riff on that forever.

What are your thoughts about Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of Stark in these Blu-rays?

He's amazing. He's the greatest actor of his generation playing the superhero that I get to write for a living. I could not be happier.

What was it like with you working with those guys on the second movie?

I just missed Robert Downey, Jr. He had just gone to England to shoot Sherlock Holmes, but Jon Favreau, the director and Justin Theroux, the screenwriter are great. It could not be in better hands. They have such a realized idea. They're not a committee. They're not looking to make a movie by popular vote. It's starting with character. It's a real film. They're really looking at a character and telling a story about a man, rather than -- "Well, we have to have two villains, cause it's the second movie and we have too..." There's nothing arbitrary. Story and character comes first in that room. The spectacle naturally grows out of those characters, and out of that story, but they start with the human core, and then go out. I couldn't be happier.

Switching to videogames, what do you think about the stories in today's games?

The writers should get in the room quicker. There are still too many games where six weeks before they ship, "Oh, we gotta write it." It's interesting to see someone like a Barry Levin, where you get these kind of producers/writers that are starting with something like BioShock was really interesting. Where even though, for all of its narrative ambition, it was still a first-person shooter, but something that clearly had a story going much earlier in its development process. I think we're getting to interesting places. Mass Effect 2 is terrific. Fallout is great.

Games are only 30 years old. Where do you see this medium today?

We’re getting somewhere interesting, I think, as this medium grows. It’s a very young medium. Its history is – it’s like hip-hop and its disregard for its own history and how much it leaps ahead. Hip-hop has no sense of its own past really. Games are kind of the same way. They’re always moving on. Coming at it from comics, where a bad comic can be crippled by their own history, to see something where technical innovation means you're constantly leap-frogging is interesting. It's sort of a different because it's like, "Oh, you guys don't look at your history like that. You guys aren't beholden to that." It's interesting. What does that mean? How do you tell a story out of that? What kind of culture does that generate?

It took a long time before comic book movies got to a point where you had the X-Men, and The Dark Knight, and Iron Man. Do you see similarities between what we've seen with videogames and Lara Croft and Resident Evil? 

That's funny, because comics have been around for 100 years, really. Videogames have been around 30. You go, "That's a long time." Let me tell you what a long time is. They've been trying to make a Spider-Man movie since 1968. That's a long time. The history and scale is all off. Has there been a good videogame movie? I don’t' think there has. It's that same thing when it comes to making a game into a movie or a movie into a game, you have to do more than just recreating the game on the screen.