By now the web is riddled with reviews of Iron Man, the film that launches the 2008 Summer movie season, so rather than adding to the glut I'm just going to give some quick impressions. Movies like X-Men and Batman Begins have set the bar pretty high for big screen super hero adaptations while Daredevil and Ghost Rider have shown just how low the form can get. In a nutshell, Iron Man is pretty awesome. Robert Downey, Jr. is pitch perfect as the charismatic, booze swilling billionaire weapons manufacturer Tony Stark who after seeing first hand the terrible things his company's products can do dedicates himself and his company to more people friendly pursuits. Stark builds a high tech but bulky suit of armor that allows him to escape from his terrorist captors, then devotes himself to perfecting the suit until he becomes one of the most badass superheroes the screen has ever seen. The effects are spectacular, characters are well-rounded, providing a satisfying plot to action ratio.
I first saw the character as part of The Marvel Superheroes animated TV show that debuted in 1966, a series that could be produced today by a brain damaged monkey with a passing understanding of Adobe Flash. Here's a glimpse at the Iron Man intro from that show:
I followed the character off and on over the years in his regular comic series and in Marvel's superhero knitting circle The Avengers. I was reading the comic when it was first established that Tony Stark was an alcoholic. Admittedly that was pretty groundbreaking stuff at the time, but the issue is oversimplified by having him get off the sauce after only an issue or two. A few years later when Stark began drinking again, the alcoholism went from oversimplified to ridiculously exaggerated with Stark living on the street as a wino.
Even if you haven't seen the film yet, I'm sure you've heard that you need to stay all the way through the closing credits for an important coda. Suffice it to say, this little reward for those who sit through all of the credits (and there are a lot of them) had this comic book geek grinning like an idiot.