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Iron Man (2008)

Heroes aren't born. They're built.

Running Time: 126 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A


Hopes were not high for Iron Man with a fallen funnyman at the helm and a not too original premise to build the movie on – comic book hero number 602 of 2008 – but Iron Man comes out swinging and impressed pretty much everyone.

This comic book adaptation follows wealthy industrialist Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) who balances life as an unscrupulous playboy with being an engineering genius for his multi-billion dollar weapons firm. Whilst selling missiles to insurgents in Afghanistan Stark is captured and forced to build a missile to secure his release but instead he secretly builds a state-of-the-art armoured suit to escape. Back in America he puts all his firm’s resources into making an updated version of the suit but runs into trouble with Obadiah Stane (Bridges), his second-in-command.

Like with the new Batman fanchise, part of Iron Man’s success is the partial grounding of the plot and the action in the real life. Plenty of time is set aside for plot and character development and there’s an excellent balance between action, humour and drama. The action itself is well-executed with the CGI blending in pretty well for majority of it but sometimes it does stick out like a sore thumb.

Robert Downey Jr. is at his cocky, charismatic best using the script’s excellent array of gags, banter and one-liners and the success of Iron Man really is down to his casting. There are some decent peripheral performances from Jeff Bridges as the bad guy, Gwyneth Paltrow as the demure totty and Terrance Howard as the sidekick, but they’re all window dressing to RDJ’s star act. This performance must be seen in context as this happened before the RDJ one man show became a slightly annoying constant in every one of his movies.

It's Got: A balance of action and plot, a charismatic RDJ one man show, well executed action

It Needs: A little less over-CGIfication

DVD Extras Eleven deleted/entended scenes and an alternate ending, three pretty lengthy, in-depth featurettes, few behind-the-scenes bits and a pretty funny The Onion News Network story - a pretty hefty package DVD Extras Rating: 8/10


Made when a one-man Robert Downey Jr. show was novel and a lot less annoying, Iron Man is a successfull comic book adaption with a nice balance of humour, plot and action.