It’s all about Tony Stark, the billionaire weapons designer and CEO of Stark Enterprises.  He’s a womanizer, but you’d still let him date your sister.  He’s everything you hate about everything you stand against, and yet he oozes charm so that you just don’t care and you want to like him. More importantly, you want him to like you!  He’s not a guy who just doesn’t play by the rules; he sets his own.

The role and the character were not just played by Robert Downey Jr., he owned both and became the single most memorable part of the movie.  His wit and timing are perfect for the character and while I’m sure this is what you’d get if you bundled Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld Bill Gates and Donald Trump all into one personality, the end result is the ultimate alpha male, and an excellent translation of the Tony Stark character from newsprint to celluloid.

Of course a character without a plot isn’t much of a story.  Tony, while demonstrating his company’s latest military hardware to the Army, is ambushed and kidnapped by terrorists.  He is almost lethally wounded, but saved by another captive. Together they are being forced to build weapons for Middle-Eastern terrorists.  Tony, now seeing what his weapons are really being used for takes the components that he was provided and builds an armor suit to aide in his escape.

The script works extremely efficiently, setting up plot in the first five minutes, while spending the next twenty letting you know why you should care that bad things are happening to Mr. Stark. The pace is held together mostly thorough the use of a crude bulky Iron Man (an allusion to the early Marvel Comics version) and anticipating of the more recognizable red and gold version.  While Spider-Man and the X-men have alternated the roles of Marvel’s Flagship Franchises, it almost would appear that Iron Man is being set up to be a centerpiece to a more expanded superhero continuity in movie-land.

Now traumatized with this epiphany, the once careless Tony Stark declares to make amends for his warmongering ways.  Unfortunately the Board of Directors of his company has other plans and Tony looses control of his life’s work.  That’s when he goes Rogue and builds the Iron Man suit: The ultimate weapon that can be used to only kill bad guys.

Assisting him in this venture is his assistant Pepper Pots (Gwyneth Paltrow).  While Paltrow is an Oscar winner she is completely out acted by Downey Jr. She actually is a complete second, or even third thought at the end of the movie. She performs her role well, but is not significantly prominent in the film.

At the center of the conflict is Stark’s business partner, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges).  Bridges does a great job at making himself seem untrustworthy, while still being a convincing friend to Stark.

Rounding out the main cast is Terrence Howard as Col. Jim Rhodes.  Col. Rhodes is the military liaison for Stark Industries.  He even makes reference to his more expanded role in the Marvel Universe.

The movie is a great mix of computer generated and conventional movie effects, for instance, when Iron Man breaks out of the terrorist camp that is all conventional movie making, nothing digital.  That’s not to say that the CG effects aren’t great. If Superman made us believe a man could fly, then Iron Man made us believe a man could fly head-to-head with fighter jets.

Iron Man proves two things. First, winning a war with superior firepower and morals is okay. And second; Marvel still has a great bank of ideas still in reserve for many summer blockbusters to come.   And if you can’t wait for more Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, he reprises the role in this summer’s “The Incredible Hulk.”

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