Irony in an Iron Suit

Iron Man is just cool.

He is by far the coolest superhero brought to life in the recent flood of comic books-turned-film.

I finally got around to seeing this film last night. I tend to wait to see some movies, because I like to go see them at the wonderful Fairfield Community Theater. This is a small foundation run by basically a bunch of high-school-aged kids, who want to keep the idea of going downtown for a movie and some dinner and a walk alive. Two tickets, popcorn and two drinks cost us $14, about what two matinee tickets cost at the multiplex.

What really struck me is the change that comes over our hero, Tony Stark. Stark is played magnificently by Robert Downey Jr. Downey has been quoted as saying that this was the role he wanted to play most in his career, and I can see why. Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark in a lot of ways; wealthy, good looking, narcisistic, with an addictive personality. He absolutely makes the movie, and I could not imagine anyone else playing this role. Downey brings just the right amount of immaturity, sarcasm and self-deprication to the character.

Many other comic book characters have greatness thrust upon them; the X-men, Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four - all of them have a life-altering event (or mutation) that makes them different from the rest of us. Bruce Wayne is perhaps the closest anaolgy to Tony Stark, but where Wayne is driven by revenge and anger at injustices done to him, Stark's change comes about because he realizes the flaws in himself. In this way, Stark is a modern-day Jacob; changed into Israel once he comes to face his own fears and failings. He is also reminecient of the young man in Matthew 16, who has everything, but finds that all that is worthless.

The real star of the film is the suit itself, of course. Through it's various interations, we see it coming to form, powered by no less than Tony's own heart. Of course, Jeff Bridges plays a great, if not predictable, mentor-turned-nemesis, but takes third billing behind Tony and his alter-ego.

I just wish the film had been paced differently. The opening storyline lasted far too long, leaving us short on the action of the final, perfected (and way cool) suit. Of course, the hallmark of a great story is to leave us wanting more. And I for one, want more.


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