I’m a big fan of Robert Downey Jr. I like his comic timing, and the way a slight turn of his head and a cocked eyebrow can visually convey more than a half page of dialogue. The guy is good at what he does.
Which doesn’t mean that I love the Iron Man films, although I am generally a happy camper at a good superhero movie. I like the moral simplicity of those worlds, where there is good vs. evil and good triumphs, usually after some fight scenes that, admittedly, become tedious by the end of the film. Robert Downey Jr. brightens up all this stuff, his comic timing and rapid fire delivery keeping us entertained and yet entirely in the moment. He never breaks character. When he’s on screen – even if all we can see is his face reflected in the gizmos of the Iron Man mask – I’m having a good time.
But about Iron Man: he’s essentially an invented superhero, a man in a suit that makes him nearly indestructible, and gives him the ability to fly and turn himself into a weapon. It’s nothing more than a big chunk of great technology, but a lot of the Marvel (and DC) superheroes are the result of science either run amok or gone awry – Captain America, The Hulk, Spiderman. They’re all human, which means they are often conflicted and at odds about how to accomplish their many world saving missions. This makes them more interesting than a guy like Superman, who only has one difficult-to-exploit weakness and who is mostly interesting because of the impact he has on the regular humans – friends and enemies – that surround him.
Tony Stark, on the other hand, has a great ability to annoy and exasperate those around him, although his appealing charm generally keeps him in everyone’s good graces. That is, except for Captain America, that defender of liberty who generally has a frenemy sort of relationship with Iron Man.
Steve Rogers: Big man in a suit of armor. Take that off, what are you?
Tony Stark: Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.
Which leads us right to the next big Marvel movie, Captain America: Civil War, where old Steve Rogers is determined to fight for the American way no matter what laws or Constitutional Amendments he violates, and Iron Man – oddly enough, given his independent streak – is thinking that the Avengers might need a little oversight. This creates some tension, as the Avengers take sides against each other and William Hurt, playing the Secretary of State, does his part to mix things up.
I’m pretty sure that I would line up with Iron Man, even though I find Captain America sort of hilarious, in a good hearted country boy kind of way. But I haven’t developed the sort of affection for Chris Evans that I have for Robert Downey Jr., so for now, I’m sticking with the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist and his suit of armor.
Blogging A-Z: I is for Iron Man.
So, what do y’all think? Are superhero movies a waste of time and money? Is RDJ an over paid sell out? Are you looking forward to Captain America: Civil War?