Now this was one superhero character about whom I had barely heard about, let alone read the actual comic itself before the movie was announced. The fact that it starred Robert Downey Jr., who in my opinion is one of the most offbeat actors around nowadays (well, with the exception of Johnny Depp perhaps) made this movie all the more interesting. After all how can any fan of superhero movies not fall for the premise of a flying man in an iron suit. To me, the whole concept reminded me of the Giant Robot television series of which I was a big fan of during the Black and White Doordarshan days.
In any case, by the time I caught Iron Man, it had already done its rounds of being the biggest blockbuster of the 2008 summer till then, and believe it or not, I actually caught it only after I actually watched ‘The Incredible Hulk’. In any case, my expectations were sky high from this movie even before I got around to actually watching it. And believe me, this did not disappoint.
Tony Stark, billionaire industrialist and master engineer, who doubles up as somebody who has scant respect for time or money and to add to all this is an incurable womanizer, is in Afghanistan for a sales pitch of his latest Jericho missile which he intends to sell to the US Army. He gets caught by a gang of militants who call themselves the ‘Ten Rings’ and this kidnapping changes his life forever, both literally and figuratively.
In the process of preventing the shrapnel from choking his artery, he develops and uses an electromagnetic device which keeps his arteries clean, and while in captivity he realizes that his weapons are being used by both sides, the good and the bad. He then decides to get to the root of the matter, but then faces the small issue of evading his captors and getting back home. He then builds an armored suit capable of being reasonably useful in short-term offensive strategies as well and gets back home.
What unfolds in the rest of the movie is something to be seen and not talked about here. Suffice to say that this movie is peppered (pun intended) with enough thrills, chills, action sequences, and overall all the fun elements that make for a Hollywood superhero blockbuster. What however sets this movie apart from others in the genre is the fact that this delves into how and why Tony Stark actually goes ahead and becomes the Iron Man. This movie is more like ‘The Incredible Hulk’ which once again chronicles the gradual transformation of Bruce Banner into the Hulk.
And to me, the sheer brilliance of the director Jon Favreau and his team lies in the fact that although the process of Tony Stark reforming takes time, the corresponding screen-time does not get too boring. It probably has to do with the fact that Robert Downey Jr. is a master at depicting conflicted emotions and depicting a person who is trying hard to kill the demons inside his head.
The romantic angle with Ms Pepper Potts, Stark’s secretary works well for the movie, once again primarily due to the brilliant casting of Gwyneth Paltrow in this role. She brings that whiff of fresh air to this otherwise glamor starved movie. All in all, a must-watch movie for all die-hard action movie fans. The action sequences will leave you waiting for the second installment of this franchise.