One of the many nice moments in Iron Man comes as techno-titan Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey, Jr.) is consulting with his artificial intelligence majordomo, Jarvis, about the fabrication of the newest version of the high-tech power armor Stark intends to use to stop evil and protect the innocent. Looking at a holographic simulation of the proposed design of the glittering, golden armor -- which enables its wearer to fly, lift cars, shoot energy beams, withstand bullets and includes many other clever bits of engineering -- Stark makes a brief request regarding the color scheme: "Why don't you throw a little hot rod red in there?" Stark seems to be saying Sure, it's fancy and expensive and technologically majestic and wonderful, but a little style can still go a long way. ...

And as it is with the Iron Man armor, so it is with the Iron Man movie. Marvel Comics' first foray into self-financed film making has movie stars and impressive effects and a script where every plot point you would expect meshes with its neighbors as precisely as the plates and pieces of Stark's armor do, but it's the touches of style that make it truly sizzle. Director Jon Favreau does not seem like a choice you would expect as the director of a comic-book movie; Robert Downey Jr. does not seem like a choice you would expect as the star of a comic-book film. Between the two of them, they give us something different from the comic-book movies we've come to expect; a little swagger, a little strut, a touch of self-mocking humor that never undercuts the pleasures of the thing being mocked. It's as if someone snuck a hefty slug of bourbon into your cherry cola; all of the sugar and flavor and fizz you expect from a well-made comic-book movie are there, but there's something a little more grown-up going on behind them.
categories Reviews, Cinematical