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Iron Man May 3, 2008

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Everyone is familiar with Superman, Spiderman and Batman. A lesser known superhero from the Marvel universe makes his debut on the silver screen to deliver a rollicking start to the blockbuster season. In making his biggest and best film, director Jon Favreau (Elf, Zathura) delivers a thoroughly satisying superhero film.

Tony Stark is a charming, suave ladies man who also happens to be a genius running a weapons company. When he is on a trip to Afghanistan, demonstrating the latest weapon in his arsenal, he is captured by terrorists who want him to replicate it for them. Tony escapes by creating a suit of armor from what is available. When he comes back, Tony decides to put his talent to good use. So he perfects the suit of armor and becomes Iron Man. And then he uncovers an evil villain who he must stop.

It might not seem terribly thrilling the way I’ve summarized it but then it is really the presentation which makes this film what it is. Favreau and his writers (apparently two separate teams – Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby who co-wrote Children of Men and Arthur Marcum & Matthew Hollaway) get the right balance between the story, humor, action, effects and charm. Also, the fact that Iron Man is more a hero with super equipment than super powers makes him more identifiable. Some predictability does creep in but you hardly care when it is so much fun. Favreau finds the right tone to appeal to audiences looking for blockbuster entertainment as well as those looking for more sensible fun. There isn’t a dull moment in this one and though the movie doesn’t have a ton of action you don’t miss it.

And Robert Downey Jr makes you wonder why most superhero movies don’t have an actor of his calibre and at least half his charm. After all they need to be super. Once you see Robert Downey Jr in this role, you can’t imagine anyone else in it. He just hits the correct notes with everything. Gwyneth Paltrow is also a delight in her role as Miss Potts, Stark’s secretary. Both these actors get some superb lines, especially in their scenes together and their banter is great to watch. Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski) and his bald pate suit the role of Obadiah Stane well. Terrence Howard plays a supporting role in preparation for a future as War Machine (and the post-credits sequence hints at the Avengers too).

In the past superhero films have lacked in certain aspects of their appeal for various audiences. Some were too dark for a few folks (Batman Begins), the pacing seemed slow in some (Superman Returns), some just didn’t have enough appeal for those who have grown out of their teens (The Fantastic Four) and some superheroes even cried (Spiderman 3). But this film overcomes such shortcomings to cater to almost everyone with the right blend of the major elements required for an entertaining motion picture. It is exciting and well-paced. It has a lot of humor and some really cool effects (especially those used in depicting Tony’s lab and the design process). There is just enough action and a touch of romance too. With a well-constructed screenplay, a capable helmer behind the screen and talented performers in front of it, this motion picture manages to keep the audiences glued to their seats.

I hadn’t hoped I would enjoy this film even half as much as I did. So, my recommendation is simple. Go and watch it. Soon!

P.S. The sequel comes out Summer 2010.