Saturday, May 10, 2008

FILM: Iron Man

Though Marvel comics isn't our favorite genre (I enjoy it much more than George), we both thought Iron Man was superb. Robert Downey Jr. delivered the perfect Tony Stark, a sassy full-of-himself genius military technology industrialist with a true heart and pure patriotism, while Jeff Bridges was a spot-on ruthless big "good old boy", and Gwyneth Paltrow was wonderful as Stark's cool, efficient Moneypenny-like personal assistant. While we're definitely in a Marvel comic universe (Marvel's "heroes" often being a bit more nuanced and not just one-dimensional), director Jon Favreau does a great job coloring this well-paced action flick with balanced touches of self-conscious humor and real humanity in the characters. A scene when Paltrow's character jokes with Tony Stark about him being a secret superhero and her being the one he trusts with his secret does both at the same time -- playing with comicbook conventions while exposing the unresolved feelings between the two. The story is deftly set in a very contemporary anti-terrorism context, and the superhero action sequences are very cool. My personal favorite superhero moment comes relatively early in the movie, when "Iron Man" confronts a group of terrorists holding some innocent villagers hostage. The way he dispatches them is a spontaneous applause moment, and had me thinking "Wow, Northrop Grumman ought to be building some of that!"

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