Sunday, May 4, 2008

Iron Man: In Review

Kicking off this year's summer movie schedule is Jon Favreau's Iron Man with Robert Downey Jr. as the eponymous hero with Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, and Gwyneth Paltrow finishing the cast. Iron Man currently owns the 159th position (at least for now) on IMDB's Top 250, and justifiably so.

Playboy Tony Stark, played with sarcastic zeal by RDJ, runs Stark Industries, a weapons company founded by his father. While in Afghanistan to release his newest project, the Jericho missile, Stark is kidnapped by terrorists who force him to build them their own Jericho missile. However, Stark is much too clever to go down without a fight. However, with the help of the Dr. Yinsen, the assistant provided for him by the terrorists, Stark creates a weapon for his own use: a suit of unbelievable strength. After escaping and returning home to Malibu, Stark builds a new suit based on his escape device and fights crime (!!), in particular the terrorists that captured him and the Iron Monger. There are other details in there involving shrapnel and generators but I won't give them all away.

To be perfectly blunt, Iron Man is a hell of a lot of fun. Robert Downey Jr., who has several more films coming out this year, is perfectly cast and plays Stark with such relish that he is easily the most fun cast member to watch. He will surely become a much more recognizable name in mainstream film before the year if up, and it's about time. The film, mostly due to RDJ's superb performance, does such a great job of achieving what so many other superhero movies fail at: making the hero more interesting than the villains. Terrence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow make nice supporting characters (for those of you who know the source material...Howard will have a much larger part in the future) and do great work with their roles. Rounding out the cast is Jeff Bridges, who will forever be The Dude to me, who is obviously having a lot of fun here and it shows, making his performance very entertaining.

Iron Man is action-packed, funny, well-acted, visually stunning, and a lot of fun. It's the ideal summer movie. I highly recommend it. B+

Iron Man = Oscar?: Yes. In any of the technical categories, especially the Sound categories and Visual Effects.

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