What could be better than being a wealthy billionaire surrounded by beautiful women? Being a wealthy billionaire surrounded by beautiful women who owns a super-powered suit of armor.
Iron Man was the blockbuster that kicked off the summer but has since been lost in the dominant power that is The Dark Knight.
Robert Downey, Jr. plays wealthy industrialist Tony Stark, a second-generation weapons manufacturer who lives in a lavish Malibu mansion and spends most of his free time womanizing, gambling and attending parties that recognize him as a visionary genius.
Suddenly his life is turned upside down when, during a trip to the Middle East to unveil his newest weapon to prospective buyers, he gets kidnapped by modern day terrorists and is forced to build a terrifying weapon for them.
However, instead of submitting to their demands, he uses the technology the terrorists have given him to build an armored suit.
With this suit, Tony not only battles against the terrorists who imprisoned him, but also against the evils he has created by selling his weapons.
Downey, who himself has a joking, offbeat persona, is perfect as Tony. The dialogue that comes out of Downey’s mouth feels so comfortable and familiar that without him, who knows if the screenplay would have worked as well as it did.
Downey exemplifies the fact that studios hire actors for their strengths and not just to play a one-dimensional personality. He gives Iron Man, a hunk of screws and metal, a soul.
Even his character deviates from the typical superhero in many ways. Tony is irreverent, wisecracking and shallow. He doesn’t take himself seriously as a superhero like most other superheroes do.
He seems unfazed by disaster and composed during scenes of tragedy. He hasn’t gained superpowers after being bitten by a spider; his powers are not from gamma radiation; and there are no alien rocks with the power to weaken him.
Yet, one element that a superhero movie is incomplete without is a romantic counterpart. Iron Man’s love interest is strawberry blonde secretary Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) who is not only his right-hand woman but also his best, and only, true friend.
Paltrow doesn’t encompass her role as well as Downey, but she at least is able to keep up with him. For someone who has such a small role, she holds her own against Downey.
Unfortunately, there is one flaw in the movie: the final battle. For a movie that inundates itself with special effects, they barely come alive in the battle. Typically, a final battle is where the studio wants to put in the most action and the greatest effects in order to leave the audiences out of breath. Here it falls short.
Ultimately, what pushes the film further to a superior superhero film is that the enemy of the movie is based on a growing reality in today’s world. Sure, there is the conventional villain in Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), but the real villain is the escalating variety of weapons, both in number and technology.
Iron Man does not want to use his ability to make immense and powerful weapons; instead he chooses to disarm them.
This inherent fact makes Iron Man a superhero who chooses to base his decisions using quick wit and humor. He doesn’t whine about the burden of being a superhero. Instead, he has fun with it and takes audiences along for the ride.