When brilliant technologist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) takes over his father's business empire, he does it with serious relish. Aided by his father's former partner Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), he takes the company from strength to strength whilst also living the life of a super-rich playboy.
However, a media stunt in the Middle East goes seriously wrong and he's badly wounded and captured by terrorists. With shrapnel moving inexorably nearer his heart and forced to work for the terrorists, designing and building them weapons, he instead builds himself a powered iron suit and escapes.
Realising the error of building weapons for anyone that can pay, and finding out that Obadiah has been selling arms to the terrorists, he shuts down his weapons plants and focusses on his new power supply and better designs for the suit. However that doesn't sit well with Obadiah, who doesn't care who gets hurt while he makes a buck and that's when things start to get nasty.
Iron Man was a character born out of the Cold War arms race during the 1960s with Tony Stark being modelled on brilliant industrialist and playboy Howard Hughes. Iron Man was a comic I read avidly as a boy and never would I have thought of casting Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. Nothing he's ever done would make me think of him in a super-hero role but in this, he's brilliant. He plays Stark exactly as he should be - a brilliant engineer and millionaire playboy and it works perfectly.
It was nice to see Jeff Bridges, even it did take a while to recognise him with no hair (got it from the voice), as partner turned bad guy Obadiah Stane. Bridges plays the role very well as Stark's mentor turned power-crazed monster and, while Stark plays the field of starlets and models, his long suffering and silently adoring PA Pepper Potts is played pretty well by Gwyneth Paltrow.
All that aside the tale has all the usual elements that make an American action movie work - great visual effects, good battle scenes, bad guys that are both stupid and can't shoot and an arch baddie, or even two in this one. The technological gadgets are excellent as well; you'll believe a man can fly, or at least he can if he has rockets in his boots. The love interest between Stark and Potts is sideline material but it adds both amusing and tender moments to the mix.
Iron Man the movie is definitely up there with the best of the comic book conversions and well worth seeing if that kind of movie is your thing.
Genre: Action, Science Fiction
My Rating: 8/10