Robert Downey, Junior has a change of heart, literally and figuratively in the movie "Iron Man." Downey plays boozer billionaire playboy and weapons designer Tony Stark. After being seriously injured in a terrorist attack in the middle east, he's fitted with a huge magnet on his chest to protect him against shrapnel that threatens to enter his heart valves. On the mend, the terrorists who've kidnapped him force him to build a high-tech missile system... but he instead cobbles together a suit of armor and escapes. After seeing the evil that his weapons can do, he decides to build a new and improved suit to use his force for good.
Gywenth Paltrow plays the faithful assistant Pepper Potts. Terrence Howard is the air force liaison and best friend. Jeff Bridges plays the power hungry head of the weapons company who isn't happy with Stark's new found conscience.
Superhero origin movies tend to come in two forms -- very boring back story like "The Fantastic Four" or jam packed action, but very little substance like "The Incredible Hulk." "Iron Man" walks that fine line, getting just the right mix of sky high thrills while still moving the story forward. The special effects, especially during the flying and fight scenes are first rate, but Director John Favreau never lets them overshadow the smart, functional script. Characters actually change and develop throughout the film. Robert Downey, Junior is a natural at playing Tony Stark with just the right cocky swagger; it helps that the characters troubles mimic the actor's real life problems.
Being the first big summer movie out of the gates, "Iron Man" has set the bar pretty high.
The movie earns 3 ½ out of 4 stars.
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