Originally I had no interest in seeing Iron Man. Robert Downey, Jr. is not a draw for me, and I knew nothing of the comic or history of the character. There just didn’t seem to be anything for me in the film. But then, being the highly susceptible person that I am, when Downey’s character of Tony Stark made a brief cameo in The Incredible Hulk, I became completely interested in his story. Though it’s taken me many months to see it, Iron Man was so much more than I expected.
It’s difficult for this habitual moviegoer to admit a preference for DVD viewing over cinema, but I’ve come to appreciate the control I have over what I must endure in a film. For that reason I’m happy to have waited on DVD for Iron Man viewing. The first five minutes were engaging and the next ten were boring, so I was happy to have the option to fast-forward to the good stuff. In retrospect I will admit that these uninteresting ten minutes were integral to establishing the Stark character, but that doesn’t mean I’ll ever enjoy watching them. I was all-too-happy to move the story ahead and dive into the meat of the film. Fortunately, the meat begins quickly and never wanes. Iron Man is that rarity in comic films where story and acting and effects are all of the highest quality, and it is so superior in these areas that it can easily hold up against a dramatic narrative and erase the stigma that the word “comic” often brings. Every actor in the film performs perfectly, and Downey is undeniably the heart. His character’s arc is transformative, and his talent elevates the entire film (not to mention cast) to a level beyond anything this genre has seen before. It is a standard that ought to persist in future filmmaking, and it is Downey to whom that standard will always be attributed.
Iron Man is, above all else, a truly cool movie, but it also speaks to many levels of conscience. Multiple viewings would be necessary to mine all the levels of the film, and I can’t imagine that the “wow” would diminish in any way. I was far more impressed with Iron Man than I ever expected to be, and that is exactly the reason I continue to love movies with such passion.
image from Rotten Tomatoes