Tuesday, August 5, 2008

IRON MAN

IRON MAN
Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Shaun Toub


"Fully Charged"


I admit I have never heard of Iron Man. I didn't even know there was an Iron Man. So for a non comics viewer like me, this film did well in presenting to its audience who he is. It presented vividly how this 'superhero' came into existence as well as focused on the man behind the hero, the multi-millionaire Tony Stark.

It helps that the role was essayed by the impeccable Robert Downey Jr. A man with enough conflicts in his own personal life that he would understand such a complex character as Tony Stark and his alter ego Iron Man. This film provides an interesting entry into the Marvel superhero's universe. Tony Stark definitely fits the profile of a superhero - a wealthy loner with limited social contacts. An orphan with merely one close friend. Living a hermit like existence and finding his bliss/passion with his expensive toys/gadgets. Fortunately Tony Stark doesn't have a sidekick nor some dark sordid past. He does have some father figure issues but then most superheroes share this 'dilemma'. Tony Stark has a pretty comfortable lifestyle filled with opulence and debauchery. He heads a multi billion company that develops weapons of mass destruction - how current and relevant!

The interesting twist is the events which take place after Tony Stark undergoes a traumatic experience. He is kidnapped, tortured and forced to live in a dark cave for three months. He has to build his own weapon, a missile known as "the Jericho" by a bunch of rogue terrorists who want to use it to rule the world. Stark suddenly realizes his own foibles, has a complete turn of heart, literally. The sheer genius that he is he turns this 'trial' to his advantage by building out of scrap metal - the Iron Man - a hideous contraption which is his key to escape. Upon his 'release' he is bent on making up for his past mistakes by destroying every single weapon he has developed and thereby closing down his company. Well easier said than done! Naturally you cannot just shut down a multi-billion company. It just isn't done. Thus arises more conflicts both for Iron Man and Tony Stark! The fireworks simply come out of the wood works via action riddled fight scenes. Explosive ear piercing scenes of metal doing battle against an equally menacing villain. But honestly I didn't like this segment of the film that much. It was too noisy, for want of a simpler term to define those scenes.

Overall, Iron Man was hugely entertaining with enough action scenes, funny one liners coupled with some good repartee among the cast. It was mostly fueled on by a much buffed up Robert Downey Jr. His snide wise cracking remarks were spot on. Especially when he was talking with his 'assistant'/server Jarvis. A device/gadget voiced by Paul Bettany who sounded very British, as usual. That was fun to watch. Robert Downey, Jr. was funny when he needed to be and serious when it was required.

His rapport with his secretary (played by Gwyneth Paltrow), Pepper Potts (what a name!) was good. Nice flirtatious chemistry going on. I actually didn't recognize Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Shane with his bald head and bearded face! I do believe that Terrence Howard as Colonel Rhodes could have used more exposure. Such a pity that a fine actor like him would have such a brief inconsequential role. Hopefully in the sequel he will be given a 'meatier' part as the close friend of Tony Stark.

The best part for me about this film is how Tony Stark admits at the end of the film that he is indeed the Iron Man. So there you go. No more secrecy. No hiding behind a suit. No false pretenses.

I eagerly await the sequel!

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