Despite predictions to the contrary from one of my favorite readers, I did enjoy Iron Man immensely and I line up with the many critics who are praising this entertaining movie. I can't wait for the sequel.
Iron Man is based on the Marvel comic by the same name and is the story of Tony Stark, the head of a US weapons company who is taken captive in a war zone and forced to make weapons for terrorists. Rather than making them a weapon, he makes himself a nearly indestructible weaponized metal suit and escapes. This experience changes the arrogant and greedy Stark and inspires him to focus on improving the suit rather than on weapon sales.
Stark's right hand man at Stark Industries, Obadiah Stane, turns out to have been selling their weapons to the enemy for years and a stand off between the two becomes the climax of the movie.
There were a few things I didn't like much about Iron Man. The initial scenes, where Stark is first making the suit and his captors think he's making a missile for them, are hard to believe at best. There are cameras on him at all times in his cell and yet they can't tell he's making a suit of armour? He's trying stuff on at one point, who tries on a missile? There is also some very cheesy humour in Iron Man that would have missed the mark completely if not for the delivery of Robert Downey Jr.
With that let me transition into what I liked about Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr. is fantastic as Tony Stark. He made the transition from jerk to hero believable and he brought a lot of charm to a movie that could have been merely a special effects showcase if not for his performance. The cast is rounded out well with Jeff Bridges (Stane), Terrence Howard and my favorite - Gwyneth Paltrow.
The special effects in Iron Man are spectacular but they aren't in isolation, there is some surprisingly good directing here from Jon Favreau.
Big budget action movies are pretty hit or miss with me, especially in the comic book adaptation genre, but Iron Man hit the mark. It was entertaining and it's weaknesses were overcome by good casting.
I'm putting Iron Man on the 'Watch It' list and giving it a rating of $8. You may ask; why not a higher rating considering the praise I've lavished here? It's simple, this is still a comic book movie and the best of those can never be the greatest of movies.