Iron Man annoys but entertains
Tony had no idea what to expect so I told him to just sit back and enjoy it as rather mindless entertainment, since the film is based on a Marvel Comics superhero. “Enjoy it for its camp value,” I said.
Starring a decidedly sleazy-looking Robert Downey Jr as the brash military industrialist Tony Stark, who is at once a playboy, genius and hard drinker, the movie as been updated to include the US occupation of Afghanistan and Islamist terrorists.
Gwyneth Paltrow is annoying as Stark’s simpering assistant Virginia “Pepper” Potts (“how American to be called Pepper,” Tony said), as she stares adoringly at her boss, nearly kisses him and buys herself expensive designer gowns as gifts from him.
Jeff Bridges is excellent as the deliciously evil Obadiah Stone, Stark’s right hand man, and who is in cahoots with the terrorists who capture Stark in Afghanistan after he has gone there to demonstrate his company’s latest missile to the US military.
The terrorists were the most interesting and good looking men in the movie. Speaking a bewildering babel of Arabic, Urdu, Farsi and Polish, they are supposed to represent the wide variety of discontents in the world who object to American hegemony, especially the Bush variety.
Held in captivity in a mountain cave in Afghanistan, Stark is made to build a Jericho missile with the help of Yinsin, played by Shaun Toub, who is supposed to look like a generic Muslim/terror suspect. Instead of building the missile, Stark and Yinsin build a huge iron body armor that Stark straps himself into to become…..Iron Man!
Naturally, Iron Man flies, can blast people or objects with power waves from his hand and feet, and is impervious to bullets and bombs.
Stark literally flies back to the US and declares, after a change of heart, that his company is going to stop manufacturing weapons. I found that hard to swallow, as it wasn’t very believable. But hey, this is a movie based on a comic book, so anything is possible.
Faran Tahir as Raza and Sayed Badreya, an Egyptian filmmaker in real life, as Abu Bakaar are both excellent as the generic Muslim terrorists that Hollywood films seem to excel in depicting, especially post 9/11.
All in all, I enjoyed the film and so did Tony. “It was a laugh!”