Iron Man

What it's about:

The brilliant Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr.) is a scientist, weapons developer and playboy living under the delusion that his multi-million dollar arms company helps keep peace around the world. When he is kidnapped by terrorists who demand that he build them missiles, he sees the violence he sells and suffers a crisis of conscience. He builds a robotic suit to escape from his captors and returns to the United States with a plan to make the world a better place. But Stark soon realises he's not out of danger as there are forces out to seize control of his company and his weapons, and he must once again turn to his inventions to save his life.

What we thought of it:

The premise of Iron Man is an awful lot like that of Batman – a genius billionaire with a few close confidantes builds outlandish devices and fights crime. The only difference is that Tony Stark is a happy guy with no inner demons to battle. Iron Man is about fun and perfectly captures the excitement of a child playing with toy robots and gadgets – far more so than in Transformers.

The film's scenario has been played out before in other movies, but it's pulled off pretty well largely thanks to Robert Downey Jnr. who portrays Tony Stark as a conceited college ace gaining compassion through his own suffering. As cocky as he is, he also maintains an air of childlike joy with his robots and gadgets, which the audience feels with him. Neither a brooding tortured hero nor an upstanding naïve kid with super powers, he strikes the perfect balance between sophisticated and awed.

Iron Man takes the light-hearted action movie route with jokes aplenty. It sometimes gets silly and childish, but given the scenario, what do you really expect? There are plenty of explosions, loads of cool gadgets and robotics, decent acting (for the simple comic book characters), and a passable script. Best of all, it's never overly cute, sentimental or irritating – a rare thing in today's kid's movies.

If your idea of fun is a shiny metal guy punching evil henchmen through walls and dicing with fighter jets all to a gloriously loud heavy metal soundtrack, then this is the movie for you. Standing alongside other superhero/sci-fi classics, it's not brilliant, but it'll entertain you to the max.

- Ivan Sadler

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