Iron Man (2008)

Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark), Terrence Howard (Col. Rhodes), Jeff Bridges (Obadiah), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper)

Directed by Jon Favreau (Elf)

IMDB: When wealthy industrialist Tony Stark is forced to build an armored suit after a life-threatening incident, he ultimately decides to use its technology to fight against evil.

Keven and I actually saw this on the Fourth of July, our first movie date since seeing 300 way back in March of 2007. That's a serious theatrical dry spell. And I must say, movie theaters are much more disgusting than I remember them being. I must be getting old, because I used to think the cool darkness was inviting and cozy--now all I can think about is what that darkness is hiding, with regard to a lack of cleanliness.

Sorry. Yes. Movie.

I loved it. If Robert Downey Jr. keeps being ironic and self-aware, I might have to go out and develop a crush on him. He's always been insanely charming, but in that way a crazy homeless guy can be charming--but still crazy, homeless, and way too dangerous to consort with.

His performance made this movie. The special effects were great--this fantastic combination of live action and "doesn't make me go batshit" CGI--and the script was witty and well-paced, but Downey's delivery and wry expressions made it sparkle. But part of the appeal is his reputation. We as viewers bring to the movie a sense that Downey is very much like Tony Stark: a little lost, a thrill-seeker, brilliant, lonely, self-destructive, scary, selfish, sarcastic, intense yet strangely low key, and ultimately redeemable. It's post-modern casting!

Other than his connection to S.H.I.E.L.D. and the fact he was a rich genius, not embodied with any supernatural powers, I knew nothing about the character of Tony Stark. The advantage was that this explanation of how he became Iron Man worked for me. I liked the Middle East modernization; it was topical without being preachy or belittling. I cannot know whether or not it works for other die hard fans of the comic book, but I liked it a great deal.

My only problem was the character of Yinsen, who was trapped in the cave with Tony and acted as the hit-me-over-the-head moral center of Tony's rebirth. Really heavy-handed. He was the only part of the script that make me think less of the movie overall.

Jeff Bridges used to be so cute. Now not so much. I blame The Dude.

Tim GuineeI liked seeing Tim Guinee, even if only to ask Terrence Howard questions. Not exactly the star role he deserves, but it's a living. I also appreciated Gwyneth Paltrow's screen return. She played Pepper Potts as an interesting blend of patience, intellect, and ditzy over-eagerness, and I seriously wanted to mug her and steal her shoes. Again, it worked for me. I love when movies do that.

I'm looking forward to Dark Knight so they can rumble in my head for Best Comic Book Movie of the Year.

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