Based on the long-running Marvel comic book series, “Iron Man” tells the story of Tony Stark, the enigmatic heir to the Stark Enterprises fortune. A driven inventor and executive who seems to have it all, Tony is haunted by his dark side. Though he commands his empire by day, by night he secretly becomes “Iron Man,” the living embodiment of decades of defense spending and innovation. Strapping on billions of dollars worth of state-of-the-art armor and weaponry each night to fight crime, terrorism and corporate espionage, Tony begins to crack under the strain of his fractured lifestyle and must ultimately confront the one enemy he can never beat — himself.
Robert Downey Jr. has his moments of being very funny in this film. The mechanical douser that douses out the fire when he is ablaze in his “Iron Man” costume wants to douse him when he is not on fire, and at one point he tells it he will donate it to a city college if it keeps acting up. He is very good at physical comedy in the film and there are several of these moments, including a few scenes when he is attempting to tweak the iron costume’s propulsion power, and he winds up slammed against a wall or shot much higher in the air than he intended.
The action sequences are very nicely done and as “Iron Man” takes on the terrorists he definitely does so in awesome style. Gwyneth Paltrow turns in a nice performance as his assistant Pepper Potts, who also happens to be in love with him. She helps him battle not only his known enemies, but one which turns out to be a bit of a surprise. “Iron Man” could be a strong moral hero to kids. Unfortunately, the lead character and a woman spend a nigh together (they are not married) and there is strong language to boot, which prevents us from awarding our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to the picture.