Monday, May 12, 2008
Robert Downey Jr. is awesome
Ever since he appeared on Ally McBeal I've loved Robert Downey Jr. He's funny, witty, takes control of scenes, he sings, plays the piano, and now is IRON MAN! The new movie isn't quite like other super hero movies, though there are the requisite explosions, good guy turns out bad, and long-suffering female love interest. However, there are also lots of really timely social messages. Tony Stark (Downey) is a genius who inherited a huge weapons manufacturing factory. Stark is in Afghanistan arrogantly showing off his newest weapon when he's kidnapped by a terrorist group who wants him to build them the weapon, from pieces of Stark weapons they've accumulated. So he's kept in a cave with another scientist, Yinsen, for months. Of course he builds the Iron Man suit and escapes, but the really cool thing the other scientist builds and he perfects. Stark was hit with tons of shrapnel when his Hummer was attacked. To prevent the pieces from traveling to his heart and killing him, Yinsen puts a magnet attached to a car battery into his chest to hold the shrapnel in place. Stark improves it and a glowing circle ends up permanently in his chest and ultimately acts as the power source for Iron Man. The concept is just cool. Of course when he returns Stark goes through the necessary moral questions of how to use this amazing power he's built and whether his company should still make weapons, but luckily Terrance Howard is a military officer who helps get him through those issues. And of course there's his assistant, Pepper Potts (Gwenyth Paltrow), who ultimately helps save the day, in many different ways, but I'll leave that for future viewers. It's obviously been set up to make the sequel more fun, but I still really liked it. The kids probably won't quite understand all the social implications they address, but it's still a very good movie for everyone. The banter is funny, and the effects are terrific. I can't wait for the sequel, although Indiana Jones opening this weekend will probably distract me!
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