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iron man

Iron Man
Directed by:
Jon Facreau
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow

Ricardo Barberini

May 21, 2008


So, Robert Downey Jr. has come back from the dark side and we are supposed to believe that after years of boozing and drug addiction, he has finally got religion?  Well, while we may not be old enough to remember Rudolph Valentino, Fatty Arbuckle or other mysterious Hollywood deaths such as Marilyn Monroe, we do remember seeing archive footages of James Dean warning the TV viewers about drinking and driving.  Then there was Judy Garland, William Holden and John Belushi to name just a few. Also, didn’t River Phoenix championed anti drug efforts? 

Now, Robert is talking to the media who were somehow recruited by Paramount Studios and out of nowhere emerges this reformed drug addict who has been through countless rehabilitation and we are supposed to believe that he is now a sober family man that we should hold up as a model?  Call us cynical, if you will, but we have been around this merry-go-round many times before.  Hollywood moguls try to pull the wool over our eyes and they are remarkably successful most of the time.

In the 2008 America, like it or not, we are facing the Iraq debacle. A never ending war forced on us by a band of neo-conservatives who were intent on rewriting the history of the future world in their images of hard core Christianity and fundamentalist values.  In the face of such a colossal failure in the Middle East, so desperate are we for success that we clutch to any straw that offers a glimpse of that ever vanishing victory.  No wonder fantasies are so successful and reality based movies are such a flop at the box office.  We lost the war in Vietnam and yet Rambo made us feel like we were the victors and the studios made millions for treating us like retarded adolescences.

Many of the rah rah critics have given the Iron Man wonderful ratings because superstar Robert Downey Jr. has avowed that he has been off the drugs and he loves his little daughter more than the illicit stuff that he was snorting, swallowing and/or injecting every day.  Who knows, maybe he is a reformed character, but he will be the first one out of Hollywood!

The story is simple enough.  An arrogant self-satisfied rich playboy industrialist is caught by the terrorists in Afghanistan and forced to design a missile of mass destruction.  Instead, he develops an almost indestructible metal suite and escapes from captivity.  While a prisoner, he observes first hand the destruction that his weapons have brought to innocent men, women and children and he decides to become a different man.

Back in the USA, he tries to re-orient his weapon producing company to peaceful purposes. Does that sound like Batman or what?

Unfortunately, his right hand man, Obadiah Stane played by Jeff Bridges, is an evil character.  He is secretly selling advanced military equipment to the terrorists while, at the same time, supplying the same weapons to US forces.  Obadiah Stane uses this opportunity to boot Tony Stark out of his own company.

Undaunted, Tony continues working on his updated Iron Man and along the way develops a deep affection for his pretty assistant, Miss Pepper Pots played by Gwyneth Paltrow.  Eventually, Tony develops an updated version of Iron Man and goes back to Afghanistan to mete justice to the nasty terrorists.  Back in the USA, there is a final confrontation with the Iron Monger, the nasty duplicate of Iron Man developed by Obadiah and guess who wins the final confrontation?

Robert Downey Jr., not withstanding his past drug problems and brushes with the law is actually a good actor.  In this movie he looks and acts natural despite the overblown story line.  Gwyneth Paltrow does not do much acting, but she is lovely to look at.  We have this to say to Jeff Bridges; man you have come a long way.  Gone are the days that you were the most handsome looking man in Hollywood. You have aged and it shows.  Your acting has also aged with your Cigar.  Chomping on the stogie and putting on a sick smile does not make up for lack of talent.

All Farhan Tahir knows about acting is to look angry and frown.  He is not even good at that. Other terrorists are played by the customary swarthy and unkempt hairy Middle Eastern looking lot from Central Casting.  In real life, probably, dish washers and short order cooks whose day job is hanging around street corners. 

The special effects were great.  The movie survives on special effects and actually good cinematography by Matthew Libatique. Direction by Al Favreau is very pedestrian.  The story is so pulp that it does not take a genius to tell the actors what to do. Just read Stan Lee’s comics!

As pure entertainment, we would recommend this movie.  There is no story line to think of and we have seen the story many times in the past.  Iron Man never was one of our favorite Comics series during our adolescence. We preferred Batman, Fantastic Four and Thor in that order. We have seen the other two made into movies, now if someone were to make Thor into a movie!

We give this movie star star 1/2.
Go see it or rent it on DVD when it comes out.

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