‘Iron Man’ is pure blockbuster steel | VailDaily.com

‘Iron Man’ is pure blockbuster steel

Shauna Farnell
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyShauna Farnell

Three out of four stars

There’s been just a bit of evidence coming out of Hollywood in the past few years proving that films about comic-book characters can actually be pretty good.

But who would have thought a movie about a character with a silly name like Iron Man could be so fantastic … and not just for 12-year-old boys?

“Iron Man” (one can’t help but saying it with a dramatic twang of gruffness) is truly a fun little flick. And, OK … it’s not little.

“Iron Man” is the tale of technology maven and zillionaire Tony Stark (Robert “Jail Is Great for Your Abs” Downey Jr.). Stark has spent his life putting his Einstein skills to use making weapons and buying himself every form of luxury under the sun ” a cliffside palace in Malibu; a fleet of fast, shiny cars; his own airplane with pole dancers; etc. After a fateful trip to Afghanistan, Stark gets a new perspective on his gold-making industry. In order to escape certain death, Stark embarks on a build-your-own-superhero project. Once home, scarred but smarter, Stark’s suit of metal evolves, and so does the need for its use.

Of course, as in any superhero story, there’s got to be a damsel in distress. Happily, this lady can hold her own … and there isn’t any nauseating “thank you for saving my life” make-out scene to speak of at any point (sorry if that ruins it for any of you). Gwyneth Paltrow plays Stark’s loyal secretary, Pepper. But, atypical to superhero convention, the two are not romantically involved. And while there is certainly a suggestion of the possibility, Stark is mainly known to roll around with every other girl he meets. So, yeah, even if Pepper needs to be rescued at some point, at least she never melts into his arms in doe-eyed gratitude.

Also, the bad guys are not merely painted as dark foreigners representing an entire country ” in this case, Afghanistan ” wanting to destroy the universe. They are an isolated group of militants that probably isn’t too far a stretch from the likes of al-Qaida. And there is also a clever touch of suggestiveness about good ol’ Uncle Sam’s involvement in evil weapons practices.

Naturally, when we’re talking about films in which people can fly, throw trucks and build crazy robot costumes, the term “believable” requires a little flexibility. But for a movie about a flying robot that can go from zero to light speed in a matter of seconds, “Iron Man” is kind of, um, believable. That is to say the acting is superb and the script engaging, funny and realistic … for this sort of thing. Oh, and if you go into it just drooling for some striking and timely Black Sabbath, you won’t be disappointed either.

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