For the second time that too! IronMan is Hollywood’s latest Summer bonanza offering and can be said to be a precursor of bigger-things-to-come. Coming from the Marvel Comic Universe, IronMan is a self-made superhero i.e. his powers are his own invention. The movie stars Robert Downey Jr. in the title role, with Gwyneth Paltrow as his super-efficient & ultra-professional secretary Pepper Potts, Terence Howard as US Navy Officer Rhody and Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane – IronMan’s chief nemesis. Downey plays Tony Stark – billionaire maverick inventor and head of Stark Industries, the chief weapons-supplier to the US Army. On a trip to Afghanistan to demonstrate his new missiles, he’s kidnapped by a terrorist organization who order him to build the same missile for them. Instead, he makes for himself an Iron suit fitted with fire-throwers and power-booster boots and using that, makes his escape. While under duress, he realizes that his weapons have done more harm than good to the World, and announces that Stark Industries will no longer make weapons. This pisses off his mentor and Stark Industries’ #2 Obadiah Stane who was the person who ordered Tony’s kidnapping in the first place. Tony works tirelessly and perfects his IronMan suit which he uses to destroy the Afghanistan Terrorists’ tyranny. And when Obadiah reverse-engineers a bigger suit for himself, IronMan takes upon him in an epic showdown and ultimately emerges victorious!
I’ve seen only one of Robert Downey’s previous performance – in Gothika – and he was pretty good in that. In IronMan, he plays the maverick billionaire Tony Stark a.k.a IronMan with downright aplomb-ness and given his streak of bad behaviour, is quite at ease in delivering witty lines and brings about a sort of chauvinism into the role. The nifty suit more than matches his persona and even though he’s completely hidden within the suit, it seems totally made-for-him! He earnestly works on perfecting the suit and a few hits n’ misses later, he nails it! Gwyneth is completely at ease as the professional assistant and since she’s the lone female character and is close to Stark, the romantic undercurrent is hard to miss. And though it doesn’t develop further than an awkward near-kiss moment, I’m sure there’s more to come. Obadiah Stane is the bad guy and the character is portrayed by Jeff Bridges – whose bald n’ bearded look I must say bears an uncanny resemblance to yesteryear Bollywood villain Bob Christo!
Obadiah is the archetypal hungry-for-power villain and here, he’s the one who orders Stark’s kidnapping out in Afghanistan. He’s also involved in supplying Stark Industries’ weapons to terrorists on the sly and when Tony decides to stop their weapons manufacturing, he plots a complete takeover. He has already reverse-engineered the suit from Stark’s first one and then proceeds to steal the arc reactor that is powering the IronMan (man and suit, both!). Tony still has the older arc reactor with him – thanks to Pepper – and he uses that to power his suit and vanquish Obadiah after an epic struggle (that looks so similar to Megatron Vs. Optimus Prime in Transformers)
IronMan works on most counts – it has some cool visuals, slick action – so what if its max-CGI , a blossoming love story, hi-fi technicality and wizardry, witty liners, spot-on characterization and some pretty neat directing as well. Thankfully, it steers clear or the human drama that other superhero flicks such as Spiderman and Superman have been allowed themselves to be drawn into! It may find the going tough, especially in India, since it lacks a genuinely popular lead-actor and also the fact that IronMan isn’t that popular a character. Well, at least not as as popular as the other superheroes!
P.S: There was supposedly a Cameo appearance by Nick Fry (another Marvel superhero and a forthcoming Hollywood Movie) after the credits. But the over-enthusiastic theatre staff promptly stopped the screening as soon as the credits started rolling 👿