Tony Stark is a genius. The wealthy head of Stark Industries has created the world’s most sophisticated weapons for the American armed forces.
From an early age, it was clear he was gifted. His scientific skills became phenomenal and he continued to develop into one of the industries’ most brilliant minds.
But when you are burdened with all the knowledge and expertise, it’s only a matter of time before the bad guys want a piece of the action.
On a visit to a base in Afghanistan, Tony’s nonchalant, laid back, whiskey-drinking junket is brought to an abrupt end when one of the jeeps he is in convoy with is hit by enemy fire. After his vehicle of soldiers disband and return fire, they are blown to bits, leaving Tony vulnerable and realising the enormity of the situation.
After taking cover behind a rock, one of his rockets lands beside him, causing a huge explosion and rendering him unconscious.
Tony comes around to find he’s been taken hostage by a terrorist group and discovers he has a huge hole in his sternum, which encases an intricate bit of kit to prevent the shards of shrapnel from the blast entering his heart, made by fellow captive Yinsen.
The terrorist group demand that he builds them a weapon of mass destruction and he is locked in a cave with the materials he needs (a lot of Stark Industries stock), but it’s clear Tony isn’t a guy who is just going to play ball.
Far from it. With a little help from a Yinsen, Tony creates a suit of armour that he hopes will defeat the extremists.
Alas, he does escape, but with a heavy heart, after Yinsen is killed and something kicks in that has been missing throughout his whole career; a conscience.
On his return, Tony vows to stop production of his weapons. He is subsequently written-off in the press as suffering from post-traumatic stress. But he’s adamant that he will no longer be apart of the pain and suffering his creations cause.
Back in civilisation with all the technology he needs at his finger tips, Tony sets out on creating the ultimate Iron Man suit, which he masterfully produces after a few mishaps with flying into walls and setting himself on fire. There is an abundance of laugh-out-loud moments throughout the film, which is something of a rarity in the comic book genre. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously, but the overall lack of action is incredibly disappointing. Visually the film is awesome, but by incorporating more laughs, director Jon Favreau seems to have forgotten that all good action movies really do need, well… some action.
There are no surprises for the audience to unearth, and you feel like the film just goes through the motions, rather than bringing anything new to the table. The narrative is a laborious effort, which is saved through some great casting. Robert Downey Jr plays the filthy rich playboy-turned-superhero brilliantly, even if there are a few cringe worthy one-liners.
Jeff Bridges as the calculating Obadiah Stane, Stark Industries’ second-in-command, delivers a Jekyll and Hyde performance that confirms he’s still at the top of his game. It becomes clear that Obadiah favours his Hyde side
and wants Tony out of the picture. Pepper (Paltrow), Tony’s assistant, finds files on the company’s computer server showing that Obadiah paid the Afghan terrorist group to kill Tony.
Ultimately this leads to the final showdown – one of the few actions sequences – with Tony as Iron Man and Obadiah as Iron Monger, who uses the technology of the original suit of armour recovered in the Afghan desert.
With two technical masterminds going head to head, it proves to be a scene that is well worth the wait.