Iron Man earns a silver medal


Iron Man deserves better than iron, but not quite gold. An early entry into the summer blockbuster race, the fl ick holds its own in the big-budget action genre, but would probably lose in a battle against most of the other movie superheroes.

Adapted from the Marvel comic of the same name, Iron Mans human persona is weapons manufacturer Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), a guy who has it all lots of money, brains, girlfriends and, especially, attitude.

The film has been updated to place Tony in Afghanistan, where hes held by a terrorist cell in a cave. Since we know how well the U.S. can fi nd someone in this region, its naturally up to Tony to save himself.

Iron Man is split into three distinct parts: the escape from Afghanistan, the creation of an Iron Man suit 2.0, and the destruction of the ultimate bad guys.
Though the middle drags as Tony discovers what its like to be a superhero, its such a joy to watch Downey that its only a minor complaint.

Downeys portrayal of Tony is so spoton that it makes you doubt that anyone else could have played the part. He owns the role and brings bravado and vulnerability to the screen. Even when encased in the suit, shots of Downeys expression-fi lled face alone help remind us of the powerful man inside the armor.

Aiding Tony in his newfound mission are his trusty friends, assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Jim Rhodes (Terrence Howard). Paltrows performance is about as fl at as Potts would be on the page of a comic book. And Howard, though minimally better, never commands the attention that you would expect from a military big-wig.

For the comic geeks, Iron Man creator Stan Lee continues to make his now traditional cameo appearance in one of the most amusing setups so far. Its worth keeping an eye out for the chuckle.

Director Jon Favreau, who also brought us Elf, shows that he can thrill us over and over again. Even though the end fi ght scene seems a little truncated, there are enough adrenaline-surging moments throughout that you dont feel too cheated.

Iron Man was never as popular as Superman or Batman or even Spider-Man. Likewise, its doubtful that the movie will be hailed in the same category. However, for new and old fans alike, Iron Man embodies the essence of the hero and does not disappoint.

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