Iron Man 
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard, Shaun Toub, Gwyneth Paltrow
Director: Jon Favreau
Screenwriter: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matthew Holloway
Plausibility has always been an issue that plagues super hero movies. How plausible is it that getting bitten by a radioactive spider suddenly gives you the ability to shoot webs from your hands? Or how plausible is it that being exposed to gamma radiation will make you an uncontrollable, raging green monster? In all seriousness, such things would most likely kill you, and the death wouldn’t be very pleasant. So when I watched Iron Man, what a wonder, a true wonder it was for me to discover a layer of true plausibility to the idea behind the super hero. And better yet, how well the film was played out, how wonderfully acted it was, and how excitingly entertaining the whole package would be. To put it bluntly, I loved this movie.
The film follows multi-billionaire genius weapons manufacturer Tony Stark, played to perfection by Robert Downey Jr. He says, “Some people say the best weapon is one you never have to fire. I say, the best weapon is one you only have to fire once.” While in Afghanistan securing a contract with the military, he’s ambushed by terrorists, who capture him, hold him hostage and force him to make a powerful weapon for them. Stark, clever as he is, instead builds himself a suit (made out of iron!) and escapes from the terrorists. Upon returning to the United States, he decides to shut down the weapons manufacturing his company does. He also uses his vast funds, resources and brains to build himself a new and better suit.
There are, of course, other characters involved, but in a way, as as wonderful as they all are (and they are, the acting is superb), it seems like a futile effort to recount them all. This is Robert Downey Jr.’s movie, and in a big way, the movie is Robert Downey Jr. He dominates the scenes he’s in, and when he’s off screen, we want him back. The delivery of his lines and the pitch-perfect humor behind so many of them, his truly fluid performance, and the many layers and nuances that he adds to the character, make his Tony Stark completely unforgettable, and make it impossible to imagine anyone else inhabiting the role. His scenes with Paltrow are a true delight.
The special effects are fantastic (as expected), but they’re not so over-the-top as to distract from the rest of the film. It’s a very good thing, because there’s so much more than just a run-of-the-mill special effects extravaganza. There’s a truly wonderful balance between the action and effects-oriented scenes, and the “dialogue” scenes (for lack of a better term). Downey Jr. makes every second of it enjoyable.
It is true that the twist in the plot is slightly predictable, and it’s true that the final showdown of the film was slightly anticlimactic. But I didn’t care, I was having so much fun with it. It didn’t seem to matter. I didn’t feel I was owed something more than I was being given, and it’s rare that a film produces such a feeling in its viewers.
Plausibility is one thing that never shook from my mind while watching this film. It never seemed impossible that someone with Tony Stark’s money, resources and mind could build a suit like that. It always made sense within not only the context of the film and of its scenes showing Stark building the suit, but it made me believe while watching that perhaps it could actually be done (all fictional energy sources aside). I love that feeling, and I’ve never felt it as strongly as I did when I was watching Iron Man. I read that Robert Downey Jr. said he wanted to make six Iron Man films. If he’s being honest, then I don’t think I would object for an instant.