Saturday, October 11, 2008

Iron Man: Grade B

Iron Man (2008)
Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terence Howard, Jeff Bridges. Director Jon Favreau.

The wealthy, irresponsible head of a weapons company (Downey), invents a suit of armor with rockets that enable him to fly (jet around, really). It is also outfitted with flame throwers, RPG's, and other weapons. With this suit he vows to “fight evil,” as anybody would, of course.

The first evil he identifies is a Middle Eastern tribe that uses his company’s weapons. How that makes them evil is unclear, although there is a background report that they have killed women and children (just as American forces have done). Nevertheless, the evil Arabs are dispatched with flame throwers and explosions, which emotionally wipes out the hero's dissolute past so he can now concentrate on being a do-gooder.

Iron Man’s second evil adversary is an executive of his own weapons company, Jeff Bridges, who wears a bad bald cap that makes his head look like Dr. Phil’s, though his sleazy character reminded me more of Steve Ballmer. He develops a rival iron man suit so we can have a Manichean showdown. The plot is recycled stuff, but it is from a comic book, so what do you expect. The CGI effects are pretty good and fun to watch, but the gizmos are not as imaginative as those used by Batman or Spiderman.

The strength of the movie is RDJ’s acting which is wonderful, as is the performance of his personal assistant, Paltrow. The relationship between the two comes through – romantic but coy, as it was between 007 and Miss Moneypenny. The script is strong, with droll humor to keep adults engaged. There are plenty of visual allusions to other action pictures, including the Incredible Hulk, Batman, Spiderman, Robocop, The Terminator, and even Mission Impossible, but I don’t know what the point of those references is except to invite comparison, which is risky. This is a good introduction to Iron Man, who will definitely be back.

1 comment:

  1. The movie is fast paced, action packed and never get tired all the way from beginning to end.