Iron Man (2008) Reviewed

IRON MAN ( 2008 )
Robert Downey Jr. strikes the perfect balance between cocky shithead socialite and hero in John Favrau’s second superhero movie (The much maligned Daredevil was his first.) The Gill Man has no history with the Iron Man mythos, but Marvel must be proud of what’s been done here. On a cinematic superhero landscape once ruled by DC’s men of Gotham and Metrolopolis, X-Men and Spider-Man helped open a door (though Ang Lee’s The Hulk damn near closed it again.) and Iron Man makes the most of the opportunity. Downey’s Tony Stark is a memorable anti-hero; a self-satisfied arms-engineering playboy in the Howard Hughes mold, who has a heroic change of heart after a run-in with middle eastern terrorists. In the very sharp red and yellow iron body suit (complete with jet propulsion and hydraulic might) Stark invents, he is the titular hero, going up against the evil CEO (a chrome-domed Jeff Bridges) of his own company who is very displeased to find that Stark is no longer in the arms dealing biz. Gweneth Paltrow is far less annoying than one might expect as Stark’s girl Friday, Pepper Pots. IM benefits from its absence of Batman pathos and Superman mythology. The story plays loose and fun with no delusions of grandeur to weigh it down. It never forgets that it’s anything other than a comic book movie about a millionaire playboy in a flying metal suit. Downey plays Stark the way he’s played about 75% of the characters in his filmography but that doesn’t change that it really works here. IM might have been successful without him — but it’s great because of him. Stan Lee makes his usual cameo and a post-credits coda ties IM to another 2008 Marvel movie.
***

~ by Number5ive on August 5, 2008.

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