Let me just say right now, that Iron Man is as good and as entertaining as the pre-release buzz makes it sound. Robert Downey Jr. is the latest underrated actor to inhabit the role of a powerful superhero (following in the footsteps of Christian Bale, Tobey Maguire, and Eric Bana/Edward Norton). He owns the role of Tony Stark, and his transformation into “Iron Man” is not only natural but also entertaining. Jeff Bridges, meanwhile, creates an entirely unique comic-book villain. Gwyneth Paltrow and Terrence Howard don’t have much to work with in their roles as supporting players, but you get the feeling that they could have more to do in the sequel. The sequel? Yeah, it’s left wide open for more Iron Man, but it’s left open in maybe the best manner possible. Every superhero movie made today leaves it open-ended for a franchise, but Iron Man actually pulls off a very clever and knowing conclusion. I can’t remember another superhero “origins” movie that ended with me going, “Wait, no! More!”
Much of the credit is probably owed to Jon Favreau, the film’s director. If you look at his limited filmography behind the camera, it kind of makes sense that he would be the perfect choice for this material. He started his non-acting career as a writer and director on very adult comedies (Swingers and Made) and then segued into special effects heavy, family-oriented material (Elf and Zathura). So, in a sense, a project like Iron Man (with its balance between debauchery and heroism) is evidently the next step. The film is full of balance, blending “war on terror” subject matter with effects-heavy spectacle. It will likely be the first major blockbuster to have a storyline built around terrorists in Afghanistan.
I don’t wanna say or spoil too much, but Iron Man rips open the summer movie season with pride. It’s a slam dunk of Hollywood entertainment, and best of all, will finally make Robert Downey Jr. a bonafide movie star.