Lisa and I went to see this yesterday. We both really enjoyed it, although owing to her crush on Robert Downey, Jr., I think Lisa enjoyed it a bit more. Robocop is still my favorite film in this particular subgenre, but Iron Man comes in a very close second.
Things I loved:
Robert Downey, Jr. — He really does make the picture, even if you’re more sexually attracted to the power armor. Watching him play the bad boy with the heart of gold, I totally get why women and directors keep giving him extra chances.
Gwyneth Paltrow — Her performance is arguably even more impressive than Downey’s, because she had a lot less character to work with. Like ironymaiden, I appreciated that the filmmakers avoided the usual damsel-in-distress cliches. And yeah, I liked the dress.
Jeff Bridges — Another great acting job. As a bald, bearded man named “Stane,” it was obvious he’d turn out to be a bad guy, but I didn’t mind not being surprised.
Robert Downey’s mechanical lab assistants — The one with the fire extinguisher is the Best Robo-Pet Ever.
Things I wasn’t as crazy about:
Shaun Toub’s noble native sacrificing himself to save Our Hero — My single biggest disappointment with the story. He was an interesting character, and I wanted to see him make it back to Malibu and become the world’s first Afghani superhero sidekick. I know his death was meant to help R.D., Jr. see the error of his ways, but I think he’d have been even more effective as a constant, living reminder of all the innocents killed by Stark’s weaponry.
Terrence Howard as the black sidekick with absolutely nothing to do — …instead of which, we get this guy, staring wistfully at the spare Iron Man suit and saying “Next time… ” Come on, folks, you had a $200 million budget and four screenwriters; either come up with something for this time, or drop the character entirely and give me more of Gwyneth in the dress. It doesn’t count as affirmative action if he’s boring.