Just got back from seeing Iron Man again. I won't rehash what I thought of it, but I thought I'd post Dietrich's review of it SINCE HE'S A LAZY FOOL. :)
Movie review: Iron Man
In most ways, Iron Man isn't the best comic book movie ever. But in one way it is: This is the best template I've seen for generic comic book movies.
For characters who aren't Spider-Man, Superman and Batman (the big three of the comic book industry), the most critically acclaimed stories are the ones filmmakers should gravitate to because those stories showcase the character better than special effects, super villains and origins. So long as there are one or two scenes that really showcase the character's powers, that's all I need. If repetition is what you desire, grab a video game.
In the case of Iron Man, the writers went with the true core of a well-known Iron Man tale, "Demon in a Bottle." They left out the demon in a bottle part, focusing on Iron Man's business rival (in the movie his partner) Obadiah Stane and Stane's efforts to take over Stark Industries (the company Tony Stark, who is Iron Man, runs and owns.) The origins part of the movie (a necessary evil) cuts into telling the main story, that of a cutthroat businessman Stane (Jeff Bridges) who uses psychological manipulation to drive Stark away. In the movie, Stane is Stark's right-hand man with an eye for the throne. He doesn't get to shine as much as he could, which makes it a shame he'll probably be confined to just this movie. The seeds are sown for other villains, such as Iron Man's historical main rival, the Mandarin, but Bridges gave Stane enough evil while convincing us he could fool Stark into trusting him.
Robert Downey Jr. handles the playboy part of Stark well, then shines during Stark's conversion into a full-fledged hero. Gwyneth Paltrow outshines all of them as Stark's assistant, Pepper Potts.
If you have no clue who Iron Man is, you'll end up liking him after seeing the movie. If you're super attached to him, you might need to accept some tweaks to what you know, but there are enough hidden references to keep you smiling. And if this is how Hollywood goes about introducing comic book characters to us in bulk, we'll all be happy.