Complete A-Z list

Iron Man


Stars: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard, Shaun Towb, Leslie Bibb, Bill Smitrovich, Faran Tahir, Sayed Badreya

Director: Jon Favreau

Director Favreau, succeeding where Ang Lee conspicuously failed with 2003’s Hulk, bids for the big time with this latest screen reworking of a Marvel Comics superhero, beating such hopefuls as the revamped Incredible Hulk, pensionable-age Indiana Jones and the spoof Superhero Movie into cinemas with a palpable hit.

Downey Jr’s portrait of billionaire arms manufacturer and dedicated playboy Tony Stark adds surprising depth to the genre, creating a credible character who is human, heroic (in and out of the amazing Iron Suit that transforms him into an all-flying, all-conquering superman) and able to snap out witty one-liners to the manner born. Having created the prototype suit of armour while held captive in Afghanistan, Downey returns to the USA, refines his armour cladding and in the finest cinematic tradition, foils villainous Bridges and sets out to save the world. His gleeful performance makes the inevitable sequel something to look forward to.

Given the smart, strongly characterised screenplay, Favreau drives Iron Man (created by the ubiquitous Stan Lee, along with Larry Leiber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby) at a lively pace, blending entertaining action and exuberant special effects into a hugely enjoyable whole. Downey Jr dominates, strongly supported by Paltrow’s attractive assistant Pepper Potts and Bridges' larger-than-life, bearded, bald-headed Bad Guy: Howard’s portrait of a sadly one-dimensional character is equally basic. No matter. This immensely enjoyable superhero movie is a treat for fervid fans and non-converted filmgoers alike.

Alan Frank

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour by FotoKem.
126 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 02 May 2008