Robert Downey's star performance is one of the best ever in a superhero movie.
Like Reeve, Downey can play light as well as "heavy" which, I believe, is exactly what this genre needs.
Unlike Depp, he has a well-written script...against the odds, given its four listed writers.
Considering what a blockbuster it's been, you probably don't need me to tell you any of this, but for the record, and the benefit of any of you who haven't seen it yet...everything you've heard about Iron Man is true.
The light/heavy balance of Downey's performance is true of the movie as a whole: It respects the original material (unlike, say, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier), but has a sense of humor (unlike, say, The God-awful Hulk of a few years ago).
It's great fun, in a way that makes me feel, sorry for the cliché, like a 13-year-old kid again. The kind where you bob your head (to the heavy-metal derived-score) with sheer enjoyment. I did, anyway.
Honestly, it makes me want to use words like "Bitchin!" Or like that kid at the end of The Incredibles: "That was totally awesome!"
I'm looking forward to the inevitable sequel, and hoping Marvel will try to sign director Jon Favreau for a "Silver Surfer" movie. One senses he might be able to make it good, not just better than Fantastic 4 II (which would not be hard).
This neat-o Lego Iron Man was made by Arvo.
A word about the suit in the film: I don't know how much was practical F/X and how much was CGI, but I'm sure there'll be features about it on the DVD. But my point is: I don't know how much was practical F/X and how much was CGI.
Because of the combination of Downey and the effects work, I was always identifying with Tony Stark inside it. That's what I think they should give awards for, not blowing up stuff real good.
Speaking of awards, Jeff Bridges is delightful, but when is he not? The guy's had one of the best track records in Los Angeles ever since he was Oscar-nominated for his first major role in The Last Picture Show, in 1971. Even in self-consciously "original" material like The Muse, he has a way of coming out on top.
So that didn't surprise me. What did was Gwyneth Paltrow, of whom I've never been the biggest fan. Her work here is splendid. She looks gorgeous; I think motherhood must agree with her, it's made her softer, rounder.
She's also looking more like her own mother, Blythe Danner, every day.
It's not the most enlightened of roles--the super-efficient secretary-not-so-secretly-in-love-with-her-boss. But to their credit, the film (and Paltrow) does manage to suggest that she is both insightful and educated.
I can only hope that in the aforementioned inevitable sequel, her role will be expanded upon.
Oh, and if you're anything like me, you'll be wondering who plays the reporter from Vanity Fair. Her name is Leslie Bibb, seen below posing at the premiere.
I'll close this probably-unnecessary review with an observation someone else must have made; I just haven't seen it yet.
It's an interesting quirk of casting that three of the stars of this movie all come from show biz families.
Robert Downey Sr. is a filmmaker (god help him, he made that turd of a movie Up The Academy) and sometime actor.
Besides Paltrow's mother being a great; hot actress, her father, Bruce was a director, producer and writer.
And Jeff Bridges of course is the son of Lloyd and the brother of Beau.
PS: Oh, and the obligatory Stan Lee cameo came precisely at the moment I was thinking, "Hey, isn't it about time for the obligatory Stan Lee cameo?"
PPS: For those of us who know something of Marvel's policies towards its creators in the '60s and '70s, there's something ironic in this film's villain’s line to Stark:
You really think that just because you have an idea, it belongs to you?