Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The cure for anemic cinema

Alternate title: The Futurist. (Totally pretentious, worth a listen.)

So much has changed since my days with Robert Downey, Jr. and James Spader at the Chateau Marmont. (Good times.) While I'm still building my legend, Spader's become an Emmy-winning liberal superhero of the law on Boston Legal, and Downey's taking his mightiness quite literally these days: he IS Iron Man.

This is a clear case of having the right actor in the right role at the right time. It's not a stretch to picture Downey as billionaire playboy and technical wizard, more pleased with tinkering in his lab and leaving corporate matters to his late father's partner (Jeff Bridges). His skill in weapons manufacture has brought him both success and isolation; he works at home and only interacts with his loyal assistant (Gwyneth Paltrow) and his close friend in the military (Terrence Howard). When he learns the truth about how his technology also helps his enemies, he grows a conscience.

The cast is in good form. Bridges' best work is probably behind him, but there's a certain amount of nonchalance and underacting that I appreciated here. (The Dude still abides.) Howard is not given that much to do -- part of the plot requires him to stay out of the loop -- but you get the feeling that his importance could grow in time. And as is common with superhero films, the heroine is the weak link, but Paltrow does well enough in her steely Girl Friday role to appear worthy of acting opposite Downey.

The film itself delivers as well; it's ambitious, but not overly so. There's a satisfying origin story that takes its time but provides sufficient humor and action. And the central conflict is, well, local in nature, so that director Jon Favreau can let loose in the inevitable (and welcome) sequel.

9 comments:

Mainline Mom said...

Hmm, the music is not bad. I do still like Robert Downey Jr., despite his troubles, but I have never really liked James Spader. Sounds like a flick worth watching.

I might be going to see Made of Honor this weekend...we'll see. Going to the movies these days is a big event for me.

Sports Tickets said...

yea it looks like it could be a pretty cool movie. i wanna go try and see it in the HD movie place and get the fullest effect :D So that made in on tomorrows agenda.
~Ryan

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

Does this mean you saw the X-Files 2 trailer, too? That's the only reason I'm dying to see Iron Man RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE rather than waiting till, say, Saturday night.

Neel Mehta said...

APL!

The advantage (or disadvantage in this case) of the advanced screening: no trailers. They just jump right into it. So I have no idea if the X-Files: I Want to Believe trailer pops up this weekend.

I do know that if you watch Iron Man, stick around past the credits.

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

Thanks for the credits tip. These days, it's often midnight shows or nothin' for me, so I tend to head out once the credits start to roll.

pilgrimchick said...

Somehow, Iron Man doesn't interest me very much--nor do most of the movies that are out today anyway, so it isn't localized to this one.

K-Lyn said...

Enjoyed this very much...I was ready for more as soon as we started walking out then I rememebred we were supposed to stay. Even though I did get more it was not enough.

Perhaps I've been watching too many TV series on netflix but I am still waiting for the next installment. Like, you know, NOW.

Mainline Mom said...

Oh my, Robert Downey Jr. just did a hysterical interview on The View where he ended up laying down in Sherri's lap with them caressing each other and talking about bosoms and such. Now I REALLY want to see this movie.

Watch Iron Man online said...

It is one of fascinating movie that I ever seen. Acting was among the best comic-turn movie I have seen so far. Effects were believable and not overwhelmingly CGI, except for the tank scene.