Saturday, May 10, 2008

Review: Iron Man

I haven't been to a movie at the theater in several weeks - I was almost going through withdrawal. But today I caught the hottest movie of the 2008 movie year, "Iron Man."

Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark, one of the world's biggest manufacturer of weapons. On a sales trip to Afghanistan, he is injured and taken hostage by some Afghani militants. Ordered to build a weapon for them, he instead builds an armored body for himself, which he uses to escape his captivity. Back in "civilization," he decides to stop building weapons and concentrate on improving life on the planet. He builds a new version of his Iron Man suit, and sets out to save the world from his crazy partner, Obadiah Stone (Jeff Bridges).

Downey (who I have a soft spot for!) was really terrific in the role. I think the fact that Iron Man has no "super powers" - everything comes from the suit he's built - makes him more compelling and certainly more interesting. Jeff Bridges is fantastic as the evil Obadiah, and Terrence Howard provides able support. A lot has been written about Gwyneth Paltrow's role as gal Friday, Pepper Potts. She's very understated, yet compelling. It's the first part I've seen her in recently that I really enjoyed.

Yes, a fun popcorn movie. Great special effects, good segments of non-stop action. But what elevates it is the wonderful character portrait by Downey. His Stark is human, flawed, heroic, and compelling. All of the other actors are good, but Downey makes it a good flick!

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