That title is meant to be taken in a good way, although taken negatively it also aptly describes the movie. Iron Man is about the beginnings of a super hero: how the cockiest guy on Earth is convicted with the duty of saving humanity from an evil corporation that he helped build. He has no super powers, save the power of his brain (and the depth of his checking account). And he is extremely, annoyingly, unbelievably likable.
I’m going to mention some phrases and I want you to think about them for a minute. John Favreau. Robert Downey Jr. Jeff Bridges. Gwyneth Paltrow. Hilarious. ILM-made special effects. After you’ve thought about those phrases, I want you to honestly try and tell me that a movie containing these elements could be anything but good.
Robert Downey Jr. shines in Iron Man because he’s extremely cocky, funny, and smart. He’s one of the few actors that could pull off the role of a brilliant MIT grad who can also get any woman he wants. He never gets too over-the-top, he’s really really funny, he does the serious stuff well, and he’s so gosh darn likable I want to throw up. If you’re not a Robert Downey Jr. fan by now, go see Iron Man and you will inevitably join the ranks.
Lots of eye candy here too. There’s technology everywhere. Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) owns a mansion in Malibu that is equipped with every new gadget known to man, from exotic cars filling his garages to state-of-the-art computers and holograms adorning his desks/walls/floors. It is really neat to watch how he interacts with them. I know he just performed a series of movements that were later CGI’d to kingdom come, but it looks like he was actually interacting with everything on the screen (thanks to Industrial Light & Magic).
The plot is exactly like Batman Begins, so I won’t talk about it, but I’ll tell you it is definitely a winning formula for Iron Man (as it was for Batman).
Lastly, I’ll say that I loved Jeff Bridges (The Dude from The Big Lebowski) as the villain. He was so interesting to watch. He wasn’t just another villain. His facial expressions, menacing bald head/beard combo, and ability to smoke a cigar and drink a scotch like an old pro give him the characteristics of a worthy arch-rival to the also-scotch-drinking Iron Man.
You know how when you fall a few thousand feet and slam into the ground you usually die? Well, don’t expect physics to have any part in Iron Man whatsoever, because he survives this multiple times. While fighter pilots have to train for years by practicing breathing techniques that prevent them from passing out at 10+ g-forces, Iron Man experiences maneuvers that are probably in the 20+ g-force range without so much as feeling the slightest bit nauseous.
Also, while they did a good job setting up how smart Stark is by going through his background as pretty much the smartest man ever born, there’s just no way he could build the machines he built. The prototype that he built in captivity is impossible. You can’t make an exoskeleton suit like his using dismantled weapons, and even if you could, there’s no way he would get away with it seeing as how he’s being monitored 24×7 on video camera.
I guess I would tell you to definitely suspend disbelief going into Iron Man, and just assume it takes place about 50 years in the future to help yourself out (even though it’s supposed to take place in the present). That way the artificial intelligence of his assembly machines, his personal virtual assistant who is as conscious as any human I know, the Minority Report-esque holographic computers, and the limitless paladium (?) arc reactor power supply in his chest will not be as unbelievable to you.
Acting – no beratings.
Think Batman as opposed to Ghost Rider.
Plot – no beratings
Again, think Batman (Begins) as opposed to The Hulk.
Inconsistencies – no beratings
Everyone does what I expect them to do. The screenplay makes sense.
Unbelievable Events – 2 beratings.
I found myself thinking about them way too often during the movie. It was enough to be pretty distracting.
1 berating *Update* no beratings OK, this may seem petty, but I’m docking this film one point for a bad soundtrack*. I understand it’s pitched in the teaser trailers with Ozzy playing in the background, but I didn’t want to sit through 2 hours of 70s heavy metal-based soundtrack. Play some good metal and the rest good symphonic score, not a pathetic hybrid of both. It was pretty cheesy in a few parts.
*After dwelling upon this berating, I realized it was not enough to dock the movie one point. If the “schematics” category only referred to soundtrack, then I would maintain this berating, but there is so much more involved in this category that a semi-bad soundtrack is not nearly enough to earn an entire berating point.
3/10 Berating = See it at the Five-Buck-Club
2/10 Berating = See it at full price
0/10 Stand in line for the very first showing
1/10 See it the first weekend
>> 2/10 See it at full price
3/10 See it at the Five-Buck-Club
4/10 See it at the dollar-fifty
5/10 See it OnDemand
6/10 Rent it from Blockbuster
7/10 Watch it on TV
8/10 Watch it purely for spousal points
9/10 Never watch it
10/10 Buy it and publicly destroy it