I'm a sucker for comic book films. While I'm unfamiliar with a lot of their source material I enjoy seeing a good super hero romp. They often appeal to the child in me, one who marveled at the idea of superhuman beings fighting the good fight. I'm sure many others feel this way and it's why the genre continues to be a success.
Still they are sometimes a hard sell. Directors often time have difficulty trying to please both die hard fans and moviegoers alike, and sometimes the finished product ends up being enjoyable to no one (Ang Lee's 'Hulk', 'Daredevil').
The overwhelming critical and commercial success of Iron Man sparked my curiosity. The character isn't a house hold name like his other superhero counterparts, such as Batman, Spiderman, or Wonder Woman. My interest did peak though and on strong recommendations I finally spent the time and money to sit and watch what was so beloved by my friends.
I felt as if I missed the party. Sure there's a lot to like about Iron Man. Rober Downey Jr's performance is impressive as expected. The film does have a great sense of humor even if a few of the jokes fall mercilessly flat, and Tony Stark's alter ego is human after all and easy to relate to.
That being said I was completely underwhelmed. What makes a really enjoyable comic book film is not necessarily it's heroes, but it's antagonists. So often do orgin stories sacrifice a compelling villain for the sake of setting up the background and Iron Man is no different. While others may disagree, it is possible to have a great bad guy help set up the arch of a super hero's set up (Batman Begins, Superman, X-Men) and this film disappoints highly in that respect.
The other issue with this story is the character arc, which was largely resolved in the first act and was less than stellar. The action sequences, which were good at times, didn't have the majesty of flight and sound like so many other superior films. In other words this had a feel of paint-by-numbers film making.
I had hoped these small flaws would be corrected in the sequel, but sadly the script called for little more than setting up the stage for an Avengers film.
While I was sometimes bored by the events that took place on screen I did enjoy the film. Still I have no interest in seeing it again.
"There's a slightly depressed, going-through-the-motions feel to the entire show." - David Denby