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IRON MAN, 2008
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IRON MAN MOVIE POSTER
IRON MAN
Movie Review

Directed by Jon Favreau
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges,
Review by Salome Bell



SYNOPSIS:

When wealthy industrialist Tony Stark is forced to build an armored suit after a life-threatening incident, he ultimately decides to use its technology to fight against evil.

REVIEW:

You can't send a boy to do a man's job, and you can't put a man in a role that calls for him to be smarter than he is.

Fortunately for "Iron Man," Robert Downey Jr. carries enough weight for any ten metallic suits, and seems like exactly the kind of guy who could build them

Popcorn movies have a tendency to underwhelm, but "Iron Man" has managed a pretty miraculous feat -- to sneak in almost under the radar with few television ads and deliberately vague trailers, and to be the best flick I've seen this year and a natural to go on my list of top comic book films of all time.

Everything works. The casting is perfect. Paltrow shines as the essential but overlooked Poppy Potts, despite a last-moment shoe choice that says just about everything you can about fashion victimization. Jeff Bridges has just as much chemistry cast as the mentor/father figure to Downey Jr.'s obsessed Stark. The script is everything you could want -- witty, intelligent, and steering clear for the most part of the usual comic cliches.

Even the ubiquitous Stan Lee cameo is a treat, which I will not spoil. . .

If there's one thing I could criticize, it's that the story bogs down briefly while it shifts its bearings between Stark pre- and post-captivity, where it seems to be reinventing its moral center, much as Stark is at the same moment. Current films self-consciously walk the thin line between portraying the U.S. as a benevolent superpower or as a force just as prone to cause problems as solve them. "Iron Man" knows certain people have to die, and that because it's a comic book movie, it has to relish the manner of those deaths to show off Stark's new invention. But it never feels comfortable; in these years since the fall of the U.S.S.R., Hollywood is still searching for the perfect hateable villain.

But, smartly, things get personal and everything falls as snugly into place as Iron Man's hydraulic armor. This film thunders through to the end, at once a flick that a newbie with no clue about Stark or Iron Man's pic-lit roots can love while providing enough insider tips of the hat to thrill the fans with the feeling that, "Yes, Victoria, there is a Santa Claus watching over Marvel Comics movies." The effects are seamless and organic so you feel every bump when Stark hits the ground (or a concrete wall), and Favreau has a brilliant touch with injecting just a little bit of humor into the darkest scenes. "Iron Man" is going to do well, really well, at the theatres, and it's a movie not only a fan will want to own.

3 1/2 stars out of 4!

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