Rating: 3.25 of 5
I’m not a huge Robert Downey Jr. fan. In fact, I kind of dislike him more than I like him. Or, I did. But I was actually surprised at how much I liked this movie, even after everyone said again and again how good it is. I still didn’t expect to like it that much, because I generally don’t like him.
But I did like this movie. I was surprised by how dark it is in the beginning; how tonally it was so different from the opening and from what I expected. But it was a necessary shift in tone and it was odd but still believable and authentic. Unlike X-Men 2 which had a horrible shift in tone half way through the movie.
And then, when it got back to the shiny, flashy side of life I liked that Tony Stark was changed – that there was a real shift in character so that whole first act had significance and resonated through the rest of the film.
I think the second act is the entire reason I like the film, between how everyone reacts to the shift in Tony’s character to the escapades of him rebuilding the suit (and the amusing robots).
The unexpected thing was that I actually like Tony Stark, and now Robert Downey Jr. somewhat by extension. He brings such complexity to the role it’s remarkable. His irreverence is amusing but you believe his strength and his vulnerability also. He pretty much makes the movie worthwhile.
Unfortunately, he’s counter balanced by a campy Jeff Bridges as the bad guy. It spoils the entire third act. When you have a “I’m a one dimensional big bad with a giant suit – haha!” villain the whole thing veers into this cartoonish, vampy, sequence that doesn’t fit with the serious, authentic tone of the rest of the movie.
So, as much as this is a character driven super hero film with more story than action (which I loved) you can also see that it’s an early incarnation of taking the material seriously. And judging by how much money it made, studios should have paid more attention to that.