Iron Man

In the late 1990s I heard lots of chatter about some dude named Robert Downey, Jr. Apparently he was an actor who was in rehab a lot, from what I gathered, and there was also some sort of connection with the TV show Friends. Then came the new millennium and he faded into gossip magazine oblivion, only to be all the rage again when Iron Man was released. This was a movie I, regrettably, never saw in theatres. I do have the mega-ultra-edition DVD courtesy of my brother from last Christmas, and before that my wife and I watched it on Netflix, so perhaps I can retain a smidgen of street cred there.

The movie itself is more like a prequel than anything, as Tony Stark, played by Downey Jr. (can I just say Downey from here on out? I believe I shall.), spends much of the first half in a cave constructing the beta version of his famous iron suit. After that he spends the next 30 minutes building and testing version 1.0, and is actually only Iron Man for the final act. His stint as a superhero, in fact, is limited to one brief incident involving the rescue of a handful of villagers being bullied by his former captors from when he was in the cave at the beginning of the movie. So the title should really be something indie-ish or alt-culture like Becoming Iron Man. I doubt that would have flew well with most mainstream moviegoers this side of the Ross Film Theatre, though.

Without dwelling too much on somewhat misleading premises, though, I must say that the movie is, above all else, just really entertaining. And much of the fun of the movie comes from Downey, who plays his role as the gabillionaire playboy without a conscience to the hilt, chewing every scene he’s in and gleefully asking for more. He’s just fun to watch, whether he’s bantering with top military brass (Terrence Howard, inhabiting a role that should have gone to Cuba Gooding Jr.), playfully chiding his personal assistant, the ever-elegant Gwynneth Paltrow, or copping an attitude with his sidekick–an omnipresent computer voiced by quintessential “that one guy!” Paul Bettany. The movie could have probably been called “Iron Man Eats A Bowl of Fruit Loops” and it would have been just as fun to watch.

Of course the special effects are off the hook, the music is catchy, the acting all around is solid, but kudos really go to Mr. Dryer Sheet, who reminds us why some movie stars really are stars.

Last 5 posts by Simon R.

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