I think I enjoyed the first 'summer' blockbuster tonight . . . Iron Man was a hit.
I believe Robert Downey Jr. was the primary reason this film ruled.
Iron Man is a pretty simple film. Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) is a fun-loving billionaire next-generation leader of a world-wide defense contractor. He's taken captive in Afghanistan by rebels, who demand that Stark build them a version of the newest weapon, Jericho, out of surplus weapons from his company . . . before they kill him. Stark, while perilously close to death, uses his genius to devise a robot suit out of those parts, then liberates himself from captivity.
When Stark returns home, he decides to become a humanitarian. At a press conference, he announces that his company will no longer supply all sides of the ongoing wars with their weapons. Shit hits the fan, stock drops, everyone questions Stark's sanity. So, he goes into seclusion, building himself a robot suit upgrade to the one he devised to liberate himself from doom in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, his 2nd in command, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), continues his takeover of Stark's company underneath his nose. Stane gets the board to shut out Stark due to 'insanity,' then commissions his own version of the Iron Man suit, the 'Monger,' from the remnants collected by the rebels. At the end of the 2nd act, Stane tries (and almost succeeds) killing Stark at his Malibu mansion.
The third act is basically Man vs. Monger. Stark uses the Iron Man suit, Stane suits up in the Monger, and all hell breaks loose. Stark, of course, wins the battle. Spoilers over.
You'd think a movie that sounded this cheesy, well, stunk as bad as something like Ghost Rider. You'd be wrong. Not even Dr. Yinsen (Shaun Toub), Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and Jim Rhodes (Terrence Howard) ruin the story by helping Stark along the way for no other reason but admiration and weak friendship. Seriously, I bet this film had way more than the four listed writers in the credits. Why, dare you ask, did this not fail like an economic stimulus package?
Robert Downey Jr. ruled, that's why. Favreau did a great job moving this whole thing through the actor's dynamic presence. I can't state that enough . . . Robert Downey Jr. owned this film and made it absolutely not stink like so many comic book films before it. Downey Jr.'s Stark was witty, aloof, and driven, just like you'd expect a billionaire playboy to be. I also liked how his character accepted the awkward moments for what they were, without deep regret. That was especially refreshing, Downey Jr.'s undercut of the serious moments . . . outstanding.
There wasn't a really shitty performance in the bunch, either, I mean, they were all good, but Downey Jr. was just amazing. Only a pack of pros, really, could help this plot into a hit. The acting, direction, editing, I mean, this film could have easily been a stinking pile of monkey doo-doo. You usually don't see a film with an average story take off like this one did. Big Hollywood squeezes out a gem from an oft-mongled many-cooks production. Amazing!