film review: Iron Man

Director: Jon Favreau
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard

Looks can only get you so far. Looks and brains can get you a little farther. For Tony Stark [Robert Downey Jr.], this MIT scientist seems to have it all at his fingertips. His company makes the most advanced weaponry, but after an incident in Afghanistan, Stark re-thinks his role in the arms business. War Lord no longer suits him. Seeing destruction first hand can do that to people. Iron Man raked in $100 million in its opening weekend and should be THE summer popcorn flick. It certainly as all the elements: cool James Bond gadgets and cars, a rich and smart hero, who as far as I can tell from this film doesn’t have a huge sob story or some weird thing in his past to overcome. Downey Jr. manages to combine earnest with arrogance. Only he can get away with these rapid fire remarks, the zingers, the kookiness. He’s such a talented actor that he can go from role to role effortlessly. His catalogue of films is rather impressive to say the least and he rarely disappoints me.

As redhead Pepper Potts, Gwyneth Paltrow [Proof, Sylvia] brings smart and sassy to the updated Gal Friday role. She and Downey Jr. simmer together. Their palpable chemistry fuels many razor sharp interactions. Pepper and Stark care for each other and look out for one other and best of all respect each other. Nearly unrecognizable is Jeff Bridge as the bad guy [no reminders of The Dude here]. Terrence Howard [Crash] plays the military liaison and close friend to Stark. He’s level-headed yet still in awe by some of what his friend manages to do.

I really like Iron Man. The end result is a bit Transformers-ish but very cool never-the-less. I laughed out loud at much of the dialogue. It’s smart. Not clichéd like many films in the theatres right now. I enjoyed Tobey Maguire as Spiderman and a brooding, dark Christian Bale as Batman. But I knew nothing about this comic hero and think he’s fantastic. There’s a realness here. Sure he’s filthy rich and a playboy but he seems like the type of guy you could hang out with and not feel like there’s this underlying dark aspect to his personality that you have to address.

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