It had been a slow time for us movie-goers. I suppose some may disagree, but at least for me, it's been a while since much of interest has come out.
'Iron Man' wastes no time, but puts us right in the action. It does kind of slow down a bit towards the middle, though that also has some of the more humorous scenes, so it doesn't suffer from a lack of interest. The final minutes are, of course, the big fight scene, which while not as strong as the ones in the Spiderman movies, is good enough. There is a small but possibly significant scene after the credits.
The casting for this movie is mostly spot-on. Downey Jr plays a Tony Stark that is rather layered--outwardly glib and brilliant, busy and demanding, with lots of superficial aquaintences but few people close. His remarks are pithy and funny, but his main commitments are to two things--his own pleasures and his work.
The movie follow pretty closely the original Iron Man origins story--Stark is kidnapped and wounded, and in order to live he has to wear a device that keeps shrapnel from reaching his heart. In order to escape, he creates a suit of armor and fights in it. This leads to his continued modifications and use of such armor, thus the creation of Iron Man.
I've seen at least one place where it is claimed the Stark has a change of heart away from the making of weapons when he is kidnapped by terrorists. I think that is a questionable conclusion. Yes, one thing he does right off on arriving back at his company is try to discontinue the weapons research in his company, but 1) it doesn't seem to be a permanent thing, but more to get to the bottom of why those terrorists were using his company's weapons, and 2) the new and improved Iron Man armor is far from being only defensive and non-lethal, as is shown when he uses it to put bullets into the heads of terrorists holding hostages.
I'm not sure it can be said that Stark has any kind of change of heart. What can be said is that he realizes that there is something rotten in the state of Stark Enterprises, and he works to take responsibility for it and to clean things up.
Another good bit of acting was Paltrow's character, Stark's assistant Pepper. I had seen her before in some movies, and had a difficult time recognizing her as Pepper.
The movie flowed pretty well, didn't bog down much, the effects were very good, and all in all it was a very well done movie with a pretty good message.
Things I would have liked to have seen more of?
Well, maybe Happy. He's a pretty main character in the early Iron Man stories, and while he does get one mention as Stark's chaffeur (sorry if I spelled that wrong), that was about it.
One question that could be asked is, why didn't Stark have the shrapnel removed once he returned to civilization?
Also, how did having the things in his chest effect his heavy social life, especially when he was trying to keep it secret?
Finally, Stark's main weakness in the comic is alcohol. The movie has him drinking a few times, but doesn't show it as being much of a problem for him. There was the scene on his private jet, but even that was low-key in that regard.
The final scene, the one after the credits, adds a final touch of interest both to this movie and to what and how Marvel may be doing there movies in the future. So far, there has been no crossover from one movie to the other--Spiderman does his thing, the Fantastic Four do theirs, and for all we know, they know nothing about each other. But with Nick Fury and SHIELD and the "Avengers Project" he mentions, I wonder if that may change.
I wonder as well if that will be brought up in the coming Hulk movie. After all, the Hulk was one of the original Avengers, though if I remember right he didn't last long.
So, over all, I recommend it.