Monday, 13 October 2008

Iron Man

Lowdown: An actors’ superhero film.
I’m not a fan of Robert Downey Jr. At least I wasn’t one until relatively lately when he started coming up with performances that captured my imagination in films like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang or Zodiac. In his latest, Iron Man, Downey continues the trend but this time as a full blown action hero. A superhero. A complicated one at that, though, with an ego to match: Downey is a rich arms dealer with morals so low they would make a politician whimper.
Downey is not alone, though. Next to him we have Gwyneth Paltrow, an excellent actress who seems to have gone the way of the Hollywood actress once deemed beautiful and talented and now deemed too old to attract an audience based on sexuality alone (that is, she disappeared off the radar). Naturally, she can’t be back to the world of film in the lead role she deserves, so she got casted as Downey secretary.
Downey’s opposite is played by Jeff Bridges, type cast as the older dude that doesn’t get much screen time but everyone is meant to appreciate due to his past roles. Bridges portrays a character called Obadiah, and sporting a shaved scalp with a long beard he does look very much like his namesake Ovadia Yosef. Obadiah is Downey weapons company’s second in command and former number one, who took over the company after Downey’s father died and had to relinquish the post to Downey once Downey was old enough to take it over. Naturally, Obadiah like Downey very much for that.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Iron Man starts with Downey taking a trip to Afghanistan to demo his latest mass destruction missile system to the American army when his convoy is attacked and he is both severely injured and captured by the evil enemy. While in captivity he has an epiphany and realizes that his morals were wrong, yet his ego doesn't suffer much as he builds an iron suit and a super duper power supply to run himself and the suit with. He escapes his captors, and soon enough he ventures to kill them all and get rid of this world's evil in general. He won't, however, get rid of his own ego.
There is not much to say about Iron Man. It is entertaining, yet although you can argue it delivers a message of sorts – as in, something for the American people to think about as they go about spreading freedom using the power of their weapons – this is not a movie to cause much pondering. Indeed, it was never designed to be such a film; it's merely a film where some good actors are having themselves a good time in an action film that is not overly devastated by crude CGI effects but actually has some characters worth making a film about instead.
One thing that has to be said about Iron Man is that it doesn't always make sense. Take, for example, the suit itself: it seems as if its revolutionary energy source not only provides it with energy but also with a jet like propulsion system. And at the end of the film's evil iron man vs. good iron man battle, why does the evil iron man's suit change the normally normal voice of its evil user into an evil sounding voice? Anyway, just wanted to further emphasize Iron Man being not much more than light entertainment. Good light entertainment.
Annoying scene: The very end, just before the closing credits, and the cameo scene just after the end credits. Both spell out the looming arrival of a series of Iron Man sequels. I admit, Iron Man is a fine film; but personally, before seeing its sequels, I would much rather explore more original avenues. I would rather see Aluminum Man and Stainless Steel Man before seeing Iron Man 2.
Overall: An excellent choice for light Friday night entertainment. 3 out of 5 stars.


Mike said...

Ummm, American PEOPLE? There are millions and millions of us here who remember Eisenhower's warnings about the industrial/military complex, and don't advocate the hawkish actions of the current, soon to be out, administration.

Moshe Reuveni said...

You're right, of course. I let myself get carried away with stereotypes.