Robert Downey Jr! Why? Can he play a super hero?
Jon Favreau! That slighty overweight actor who has specialized in sidekick roles. Can he direct a super hero movie?
These were the thoughts that came to my mind when I heard Iron Man was a big hit during the summer of 2008. I have neither read a Iron Man comic book nor seen a Iron Man cartoon. Although I was skeptical about the movie, I ended up enjoying this one very much.
Tony Stark is a maverick, successful weapons manufacturer. On a (sales) tour to Afghanistan, he gets captured by a terrorist group. He makes a flying armor from a pile of junk to escape out of the prison. Once he reaches the free world, he has a change of mind about on how to spend his (and his company's) energy. His partner no longer likes him who eventually turns into the super villain. On a parallel track, Tony builts a super flying armor. Tony embedded in the armor becomes the Iron Man.
The movie is enjoyable because of Robert Downey Jr. Robert Downey Jr plays Tony Stark. Tony remains in your mind even after the movie. Tony is eccentric, unpredictable and restless. He is always ready with one-liners. They aren't cheesy. Unlike the other superheroes movies (read it as Batman, Superman or X men), Tony is not confused about his identity. He wants to have fun and occasionally help people. Even when his partner betrays him, there is disappointment. But the disappointment lasts only for a very little duration. He moves on.
The rest of the cast pales in front of Robert Downey Jr. I have seen Jeff Bridges for a long time. But he is no supervillain material. Gwenyth Paltrow is okay as a Tony's secretary who smitten by her boss.
The emphasis is not on action. It is on the transformation of Tony into Iron Man. The action is okay.
And finally, the overweight guy who has specialized in side kick roles... He sure can direct a movie.
Recommended. Go for it.