Iron Man

Directed By: Jon Favreau

Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, and Gwyneth Paltrow

Every once in awhile, a film comes along that changes the game.  It's so refreshing and innovative that you can't be anything but impressed by it.  More often than not, you don't see it coming.   It's the film you would least expect to be revolutionary that changes everything.  Just take a look at Iron Man for example.  You would never expect some B-list Marvel superhero to step up to the plate and forever change the landscape of comic book movies.  Nonetheless, it did.

Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) is the CEO of Stark Industries, the world's premier weapons manufacturer and defense contractor.  Stark goes to Afghanistan along with his friend Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes (Terrence Howard) to showcase his latest toy, the Jericho missile.  After the meeting wraps up, Stark's convoy is attacked in an ambush by a group of Afghan terrorists.  Stark is critically injured and taken into captivity by these terrorists.  Dancing with death as shrapnel moves toward his heart, he is saved by fellow prisoner Dr. Yinsen (Shaun Toub) who builds an electromagnet to keep Stark alive and the shrapnel away from his heart.  Now, the two have been tasked with building a Jericho missile for their captors.  Held in bondage in a cave, Stark is now a witness to his true legacy as a weapon maker.

Instead of building a missile, they build a permanent solution to the shrapnel in Stark's chest as well as a weapons suit.  Once complete, Stark uses the suit to escape captivity and find his way home.  Yinsen unfortunately does not make it out of the cave alive.  Now that he's returned home to California, Tony has come to the decision that his company Stark Industries will no longer make weapons.  This surprise announcement is to the dismay of his longtime mentor Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) and his assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).  In secret, Tony works to perfect his suit and becomes the hero he was born to be, Iron Man. 

As the first film for a character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man is a great introduction to this world of superheroes.  With plenty of action, lots of laughs, and some great special effects, Jon Favreau gives us a new brand of superhero.  With the help of a great cast and crew, Favreau makes sure that Iron Man is no longer recognized as just a B-list superhero.

Robert Downey, Jr. was born to play Tony Stark.  All he has to do is be himself on camera. Already familiar with the trials of living life in the public eye, Downey doesn't have to do some deep character study to become the billionaire playboy.  With this in mind, Downey has the freedom to focus on other things as the star of the film.  Though he doesn’t fully succeed, he works to build a character that doesn't conform to the normal cheesy superhero clichés.  He also makes Tony Stark into one hilarious asshole.

The supporting cast in Iron Man also gives some good performances.  As Obadiah Stane, Jeff Bridges is a phenomenal villain.  The veteran actor gives us a rich, power-hungry character who's willing to get down and dirty to get the job done.  Terrence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow give enjoyable performances as Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes and Pepper Potts respectively.

Iron Man is everything a modern comic book film should be.  It's sleek and edgy.  It's humorous and fun.  It's the film that charts a new path for the comic book movies.  Jon Favreau and Robert Downey, Jr. have sparked the dawn of a new era for Marvel Comics.  Iron Man gets a 0.03% rating.  Have some wine coolers during this one.  Stick around after the credits for a cameo by Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and the first rumblings of The Avengers Initiative.