This action special effecter seems to have all the right stuff: so how come it isn’t more fun?
Jon Favreau has mounted this newest Marvel comic come to screen with a sure hand and a solid appreciation of its roots. The always wonderful Robert Downey, Jr. is a hoot as early guy Tony, boozing it up with the players, babes and nuclear arms that have made him an internationally famous gazillionaire. Quickly, he witnesses the wrath of his own creations and our loveable playboy has a crisis of conscience. Not to worry: our boy doesn’t just sit in his magnificent surfside abode and contemplate his navel. No, Tony descends into the basement and comes shooting up with Iron Man, the most amazing soaring bucket ‘o tin since Howard Hughes’s Spruce Goose. And yes, it is very cool watching him create this modern day stunner. But the very special effects of trying on a computer generated arm don’t last long enough and pretty soon, we’re back to stuff we’ve seen all too often before.
Not that the cast doesn’t give it a game try. Gwyenth Paltrow is adorable as the standard assistant with a dream; a shaven (head, not chin) Jeff Bridges seems to be getting a chuckle out of his mentor role and Terrance Howard hints of glee to come in the inevitable sequel.
Purists, I suppose, will appreciate the grisly violence and real bleakness of the war scenes here; I’m wondering how they will play to the aimed for “family crowd” that this movie is supposedly trying to please. Wouldn’t it be something if, after all the Iraq themed movies landed with a thud at the box office, it took a guilt driven comic book hero to get the masses to think while they cheer?