Iron Man

By Mark Ramsey | 2008/05/11

“Ironically, iron is the only element I never shot or snorted,” said Robert Downey, Jr., who today takes iron as a supplement and Iron Man as a compliment.

“Show me another super hero with a night light built into his chest,” said Downey. “I can always find my way in the dark to the super bathroom for a super pee.”


“And thanks to my Iron Manly gloves, when my hand gets really hot I can press trousers like nobody’s business,” he added.

Hey, “trousers” was Downey’s word, not mine.

In the hot zone of Afghanistan, Downey is captured by terrorists who are convinced he knows where the best poppies are. Things look dire until Downey constructs a fully armed flying robot suit out of tin cans, aluminum foil, and some Silly String. And, as Sean Hannity likes to say, “If you can’t escape terrorists in a fully armed flying robot suit, then you can’t escape terrorists.”

Downey has to fight his way out of one of those famous Afghanistan caves by firing missiles at the bad guys. Firing off missiles…in a cave? Hey, it makes perfect sense to me.

Not only does Iron Man mark the return of super heroes to the summer cineplex, it also marks something much more ignominious: The return of facial hair.

Downey, with his weathering face and midnight-colored goatee, looks less like a hero in a tin can and more like a magician in a tin can. “Watch me blast a rabbit out of my hat – and then lure it towards the night light in my chest,” Downey announced.

And then there’s Jeff Bridges who seems to have turned into an old man between his last movie and this one – and an evilicious one at that. There’s no hair on his head because hair is scarce in a world with a beard that thick. “That kind of beard is normally reserved for accompanying Kevin Spacey to awards shows,” quipped director Jon Favreau, and I can assure you I don’t know what he means.

Bridges spends numerous minutes on-screen using an unlit cigar as a prop. Either light that thing, Jeff, or stick it back in your pants where it belongs.

Skipping the facial hair is Terrence Howard who looks terribly uncomfortable here, like a round peg in a square hole – or at least a rectangular hole sized to fit lots of legal tender. “Lots and lots of legal tender,” muttered Howard.

And there’s Gwyneth Paltrow, who is growing blander as she grows older. “I do anything and everything that Mr. Stark requires, even if it means polishing his headlight – so to speak.”


Downey is a ladies man, because what dame can resist a dude who manufactures advanced weapons systems? “And don’t forget the night light in my chest,” said Downey, who knows a deal closer when he sees one. I mean, the man has a stripper pole in his plane. “It’s a good thing I don’t own a bike,” he added.

Downey’s company name, “Stark Industries,” is stamped on every weapon he manufactures, right next to “sponsored by Coca-Cola and Burger King.”

“The Iron Man suit’s not actually Iron,” Downey explains, “it’s Gold Titanium Alloy. But ‘Iron Man’ sounds more like a super hero and less like the chassis of a MacBook Pro.”

If only part of Downey’s costume had been a gorilla suit, this could have been a dandy ’50′s drive-in flick!

Suited up, Downey takes to the sky, outracing jets as he views a busy set of video images rolling over his eyes. “Initiate evasive maneuver!” Downey commands his viewing screen, “and start up that new episode of Monk!”

The big climax has less to do with terrorists and more to do with Rock-em-Sock-em Robots.

Look, this movie was perfectly fine when it was called Transformers, and before that when it was called RoboCop.

Iron Man is acceptable early Spring fare, but it’s no Spider-Man.

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One Response to “Iron Man”

  1. [...] by Shakespearean actor extraordinaire Kenneth Branaugh. “If the guy from Swingers can make Iron Man,” said Branaugh, “then the auteur of Hamlet can make [...]

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