Last Sunday – to celebrate my son’s birthday – he and I went to see the latest super-hero movie out of Marvel – Iron Man. Surprisingly, I was thoroughly entertained. You can do a lot worse than watch the eye-candy pumped out by this relatively restrained action flick. Robert Downey Jr. turned out to be a great choice to play Tony Stark. I wasn’t sure if he was tough enough to play the role, but he turned out to be good enough. He was more at ease in a tux than he was in the eponymous suit, but it wasn’t a distraction. What was a shocker was Jeff Bridges. I wouldn’t have thought that he would work out well for this, but his affable, fatherly demeanor made him an ice-cold villain.
You might expect the special effects (and the suit!) to be the star of show and you wouldn’t be far off. But what surprised me was how snappy the dialog is and how the film hangs together well because of it. There are few cliches here – instead we get some genuinely funny lines. When his assistant catches him removing the suit and he says “This isn’t the worst thing you’ve caught me doing” the theater I was in laughed out loud (although I doubt they were remembering Downey’s drug arrests – I found the line ironic in many ways.) There is some science fiction in here but it is overall muted. I didn’t need to know how an arc reactor worked because it is really a MacGuffin.
The film is currently getting a Metacritic rating of 78 – which means it’s not too bad and certainly better than many other recently released comic-inspired movies such as Spider-man 3 and The Hulk. All told, it was exactly what I wanted out of a summer film – action, excellent CGI, and a hero you can root for. Oh and if you go see the movie, be sure to stay through the end of the credits and you’ll be greeted with a little extra scene starring a cameo by Samuel Jackson.
PS-> We saw a trailer for The Incredible Hulk and it looked nearly as bad as the first one, sad to say. The special effects just isn’t realistic enough for the Hulk, in my opinion and he comes off looking way too fake.