Review #9 Iron Man

Directed by- Jon Favreau

Starring- Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges.

After the atrocity of Eric Bana’s Hulk (I cringe every time I mention it), I used to be able to take or leave Marvel movies. Then I saw Iron Man. Robert Downey Junior, as Iron Man. There is an impressive line up, with Jon Favreau, Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow, to spark anyone’s interest.

The plot has been updated substantially- to its credit. Tony Stark is still the multi-billionaire genius playboy he was in the comics, and is CEO of Stark Enterprises, who mass-produce weapons. On a visit to Afghanistan, he is captured by terrorists and gets a piece of shrapnel stuck near his heart, with a friendly scientist constructing a small gizmo to keep the shrapnel from killing him. Stark builds a deadly suit to escape, and well, re-builds it to stop his weapons being misused by insurgents.

For me, Robert Downey Junior is Tony Stark. He brings energy and comedy to the movie that no other actor could really pull off. Stark is lovably cocky, sure of himself and Downey conjures up some sympathy for the character. He’s lost both of his parents, and is the (literal) superhero with all this money, and seemingly no friends (other than Pepper Potts). The acting is great, and his chemistry with Gwyneth Paltrow leaves you thinking ‘hmm, if there’s a sequel, will something happen there?’  It’s got an epic storyline, and I call it epic because when there’s not tons of action and special effects left, right and center, you’re still genuinely interested in what’s going on.

The special effects are awesome. The technology Stark uses is beyond impressive, it gives the movie its intelligence. Whether it’s right at the beginning when you see Stark’s weapons being demonstrated, he’s changing the rather disgusting chest-shrapnel thing, or he’s driving off in his Audi R8. Or using his suit! It’s changed/upgraded in the Avengers and Iron Man 2, but I really don’t think it needs to be. Also, another brilliant invention is the thing (no idea what it is) that sort of paralyzes you so you’re stuck listening to whatever the other person says.

Jon Favreau directs this brilliantly. I only really thought of him before as a comedy actor who doubled as a (not very good) director, but this shows him in a shining light. I always think of him as ‘Pete in Friends’, which, don’t get me wrong, I liked him in that, but he’s swapped roles and matured. Not that he has a big role on screen, but off screen, he has done a brilliant job. I can’t emphasize how intelligent a movie this is, not in the Dead Poets’ Society sense, a bit like brighter, slightly comedic Batman Begins.

It made Iron Man my favourite superhero, and showed me how much better Marvel is than DC. Tony Stark is just, well, downright cool. It kind of makes me want to be him. Or at least know him.

Smart. Funny. Genius protagonist. Four and a half stars.