.

Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson

Directed by Jon Favreau
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3.5
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
May 15, 2008

There's no rust on this baby. Iron Man kicks off summern a blazing high note and practically dares the competition to measurep. It's been years since a movie superhero was this fierce and this funny. All praise to acting dynamo Robert Downey Jr., who brings so much creative juice to the party that Iron Man achieves instant liftoff. Even if you know diddly about the character Marvel built in 1963, Downey and director Jon Favreau — just the right swinger for the job — will get youp to speed pronto.

Hard to believe that Iron Man and his alter ego, Tony Stark, have never been exploited as movie subjects before. Could it be that Stark, the boozing, lecherous, right-wing manufacturer of WMDs, scared off less willing to take a risk than Downey? Screw 'em. You can feel the exhilaration in the telling and updating of this origintory, with a script polish by no less than Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, the writers behind the brilliant Children of Men. Iron Man is a class act all the way. What kind of popcorn flick gets the great, dangerously charming Jeff Bridges to shave his head to play Obadiah Stane, the chief villain? Or Terrence Howard to add mystery to Rhodey, Tony's military adviser? Or Oscar princess Gwyneth Paltrow to show the smarts andexiness of Pepper Potts, Tony's leggy assistant? Don't question, just snap it up.

Tony gets blown up by his own weapons in Afghanistan — nothing like a near-death experience to trigger a switch to peace politics — he uses the three months of lockup by insurgents to build an iron suit that powers his shrapnel-shattered heart and helps him escape back to his L.A. workshop. There he adds some hot-red color to build anven cooler suit and begin his life as a superhero. "Spectacular" is the word, even when the plot gears grind from the strain. What matters is the raw vitality. Iron Man is the shit because Favreau (Made, Elf) is too funky to settle for slick. And Downey does something even moreesonant for this flying hunk of metal: He gives Iron Man a soul.

Watch Peter Travers' video review of Iron Man.

Watch every episode of our weekly Peter Travers video podcast by subscribing via iTunes here (when prompted, click "Launch application"). Every Friday, a new episode featuring clips from the week's newest movies will be delivered to your iTunes. [If you don't have iTunes, download it here.]

Plus: Watch Peter Travers interview Jeff Bridges on ABCNews.com here.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Money For Nothing”

    Dire Straits | 1984

    Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com