By John DeSando, WCBE's It's Movie Time
Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.): "Is it better to be feared or respected? And I'd say is it too much to ask for both?" Iron Man
Yes, the suit is impressive, a self-contained rocket launcher cum flying machine, but still earthly enough to show some marks from bullets.
The opening sequence of Iron Man sets the stage for the film's ironic view of the arms world: Stark rides in a Humvee in Afghanistan only to be wounded by enemy fire generated by his own company. His subsequent incarceration in a cave, culminating in creating the iron outfit, not only sets up the rest of his days as super hero but also profoundly changes the way he looks at armament as deterrent.
As Stark is played by the mercurial Downey, the sardonic attitude is only a verbal spar away. Downey's checkered life of drugs and irresponsibility helps infuse Stark with the humanity and vulnerability that make him a hero we all can identify with.
Superior characterization, effects, enjoyment.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's It's Movie Time, which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm and on demand anytime. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com