Thursday, May 8, 2008

Iron Man

Iron Man has always been at it's core a story about a drunken, spoiled genius. So it seems perfect that director Jon Favreau fought to get the perfect actor for the role: Robert Downey, Jr. Obviously the parallels in the personal life of Downey echo some of those for this legendary comic book character who out of the suit in Tony Stark.

Stark is the son of a famous industrialists who built the family empire around weapons manufacturing. Tony has a close call with Afghani rebels on a business trip. He mananges to escape by constructing a crude suit made up of various parts stripped out of the rebel weapons. Upon learning that most of those weapons were made by his family's company, Stark tries to change his stripes by shifting the focus into another avenue. This action is met with disapproval by his top adviser Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges). Something seems to be going on under the surface and of Stark Enterprises...

Favreau wouldn't be anyone's first, second, third, etc to direct a big budget action film. In fact his last project, Zathura, had a large budget only to fall flat at the box office. Thankfully, Marvel felt as if he was the right guy to add a little more than we usually get from a comic book story. Favreau is an expect at adding humanity to his projects and that comes in very handy for this dark story. The special effects are well done even if the action sequences might need a bit more work in the next one.

Downey is always a wonder to behold, but alas sometimes his projects aren't. Here, he gets a meaty role almost tailored to his every strength. Terrence Howard and Jeff Bridges are also excellently cast in the supporting roles. The only problem is Gwyneth Paltrow as Stark's assistant Pepper Potts. I've said it before, but Paltrow is like listening to a robot with dialogue. You barely even get the Dunst Effect (two emotions) as someone forgot to change the microchip in her head.

In the end, you get a very well made MOVIE. I think that is the key with so many people having fawned over brainless trash like Transformers. Iron Man deliveres a story with convincing characters ACTORS playing them. The bar has been set high for the summer.


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