When it comes to comic book movies, studios were aggressively grabbing the rights to get the best familiar ones that most are aware of. It makes easy to sell those characters to the masses, so over the years, Warner Bros. had the rights to 'Superman' and 'Batman', and Sony Pictures had 'Spider-Man' and Universal had 'The Incredible Hulk'. There were other comic book film released besides these films, but they don't have the same fan base. That just leaves Paramount to have something of their own top make a franchise and with its alliance with Marvel comics, they decided to do 'Iron Man'.
While 'Iron Man' is well known to its fans, it probably didn't had the same appeal to film fans that the others have had. That was one issue. The second was who was going to play the part of Tony Stark, the billionaire industrialist who changed his life when he made and donned on the iron suit. Once Robert Downey Jr. was cast as their choice, they were some naysayers who doubted if he could pull it off. They must have forgot how gifted of an actor he is, given his performances in 'Chaplin', 'Less Than Zero', and countless other films.
Then came the addition of Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, and Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow. All three of these actors are at the top of the game and wouldn't take any role for the sake of a big payday. With Jon Favreau, who's developing into a fine director, the pieces are put together to form one hell of a fantastic introductory film to kick off the summer season. 'Iron Man' is not only action packed, as expected, but it is also laced with a story that has substance and with some wit and romance added to please all ages.
Unlike other heroes who are insecure about their abilities once developed, Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) is quite the opposite. Always the playboy with millions to spread, he did grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth. With his trusted friend Air Force pilot Jim Rhodes (Howard), and his too-cute to be his 'Perry Mason' secretary Pepper Potts (Paltrow), Stark is beholden to no one until a kidnapping leads him to discover that his weapons company makes his accountable for millions of deaths he never blinked an eye about before. While being held captive and kept alive with a mechanical device acting as a heart, he, along with a doctor (Toub) developed his greatest achievement, an iron suit capable of flying, shooting bullets, and plenty of other gadgets that helped his escape and come back to be a better man.
When his business partner Obadiah Stone (Bridges, sporting a shaved head and a goatee) decides that Stark has lost mind trying to undo what they built together as a team, he takes actions into his hands, leading to the inevitable confrontation at the end that will delight the audience.
There is so much more within the story to tell, but why reveal the Easter eggs fans of the comic book will be looking to find. Favreau is truly indeed a fan and he's found a way to introduce a story and adding little storylines to the other characters without it being forced or confusing. Downey Jr. is perfectly cast as the man in the suit. He brings some fun to the character with plenty of charisma and wit, and the chemistry he has with Howard and Paltrow is so genuine, you wondered if they had all worked together before.
Without the getting too technical, how Downey Jr. spoke some of Stark's computer jargon, made it simple for the audience to follow with the story. Bridges is not your ordinary villain. Obadiah has compassion for what he is doing, and yet feels it's necessary to be evil in a way for the sake of the company. Howard seems relaxed his role, which doesn't say a lot for now, but hints that there is more to follow. If you happen to be a comic book fan, you should know where this will lead to. With 'Iron Man', all of the ingredients to make a successful franchise have been met. It's fun, adventurous, romantic, and certainly screen worthy.