Iron Man

I know next to nothing about Robert Downey Jr. as a person. However, if the personality that comes through in his movies is any indication, it would be safe to say that Iron Man is the sort of superhero movie you would get if you wanted Robert Downey Jr. to play the superhero.

He plays Tony Stark, a billionaire playboy arms manufacturer who has a crisis of conscience when he learns first-hand that he cannot control who gets those weapons. After being captured by (presumably) the Taliban and asked to build one of his missiles for them, he uses the resources at hand to build himself a body armor and break out of captivity. He comes back to the US, announces that his company will no longer manufacture armaments and concentrates his energies on refining his body armour design. But of course things can’t be that simple, so you get a good hour of machinations, double crosses and things going bang in spectacular fashion.

If I do have a quibble, it is this: Stark plays a superhero whose powers are not ingrained. In other words, he holds an advantage over normal human beings by wearing a suit that can help him fly, stop bullets and fire all sorts of projectiles. Anyone who gets the suit gets those powers, and this is precisely the problem he has to deal with in the climax. Now, if the reason why he became Iron Man was his realization that weapons do not have a conscience, then how does this represent progress? Surely a man with Tony Stark’s intelligence can see that?

However, this is a minor quibble if what you are looking for is entertainment. Robert Downey Jr. is in top form as Tony Stark. When his assistant walks in on him wearing his armor and is utterly shocked by what she sees, his response is, “Let’s face it, this isn’t the worst thing you’ve caught me doing.” And you realize that, despite the fact that you haven’t seen too much of his decadent playboy life, that is exactly what you were thinking yourself.

The supporting cast is of the sufficient-but-not-spectacular category. Gwyneth Paltrow (who looks delicious by the way), Terence Howard  and Jeff Birdges have little to do here, and they do it charmingly enough. The special effects are quite nice, and I was especially impressed by the holographic interface Stark uses to design his stuff. And the fact that he speaks to his computer — I thought I was the only one.

Overall, this is the sort of movie that you will love when you’re watching it. I don’t expect it to shake up any Top Ten Superhero Movie lists, but I’m not complaining.

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3 thoughts on “Iron Man

  1. Rajendran says:

    I knew a thing or two about Robert Downey Jr. Unlike the promiscuous medieval French kings where Charles VIII was the son of king Louis XI, Robert Downey Jr was the son of Robert Downey Sr. Secondly, he acted as Chaplin. I wonder if there is anything more interesting to know about him.

  2. Sagarika says:

    Ramsu, Is May 9th Terrence Howard’s birthday? Just wondering coz bam! there are two nods to him courtesy your suddenly resurrected movie-review mood (after many months of “manic Mumbai” ennui?). 🙂

    Very nice review of Iron Man. And much as I rack my brains, I can’t remember the last time Paltrow looked “delicious.” (Maybe Shakespeare in Love? I’ve generally found her characters pretty annoying, for instance Perfect Murder). So I’ll check this movie out, if for nothing else, to re-evaluate her DQ.

    The first I ever heard of Downey Jr. was some seven years ago when I flicked on the TV and he was in the news, arrested for DUI and possibly facing jail-term. I neatly filed away that trivia trinket until this movie came along and he seems to have become an overnight sensation. And yesterday, I was leafing thru the latest People’s magazine (gossips galore…all the “who dumped whose ex” of Hollywood) while getting my car serviced, and the last thing I expected to see on its pages was this profoundly impactful quote (must be an oh-so-rare instance of a conscientious reporter at the rag, sorry, mag, mining the actor’s mind for a sincerely meant what-made-you memorabilia): “Right now, my only vice is creativity.” Whoa. Crackhead to cult hero…some comeback, that! Truly impressive.

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