Action, Drama, Fantasy
For a comic-book movie, Iron Man is pretty good. If that sounds like a case of damning with faint praise, it's not. The minefield of comic-book movies is littered with movies that either attempted seriousness unbecoming of them or failed to take themselves seriously enough. The ones that have succeeded--like Iron Man--deftly navigate that minefield by delivering marginally believable human protagonists who get to do some truly wicked shit. Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man is the comic-book equivalent of the lovable libertine Johnny Depp delivered as Capt. Jack Sparrow, except, being a comic-book hero, Downey has to evidence something of a moral core. His transformation from playboy arms dealer into armor-clad superhero is quite believable; after all, if you were a weapons genius who got kidnapped by terrorists (who happen to be customers of your munitions firm) and could only escape by fashioning a badass, plate-metal getup to your body, you also might have second thoughts about your original profession. As his long-suffering assistant, Gwyneth Paltrow makes the best of a thankless role, as only she can redeem a line such as, "Come quick! Obadiah's gone insane!" As the aforementioned insane person, Jeff Bridges is an unconventional bad guy, but it's unclear if that's because it takes half the movie to reveal he's a villain or if it's because he's Lebowski as evil puppet master. With astonishing effects and enough gadget porn to keep fanboys in fantasyland until the inevitably disappointing sequel, Iron Man turns out to be pretty good. For a comic-book movie.