… but Robert Downey Jr. is – oh man, is he ever.
Robert *is* Tony Stark. We all know Downey Jr. spent most of his 20s and 30s in and out of trouble with the law related to his drug use and, not to make light of that, but it’s almost as if he spent all that time training for this role. I don’t think he “played” Tony Stark as much as he inhabited the character… Downey is every bit Tony Stark. Privileged, reckless, brash. Downey plays Stark exactly as he should be – Howard Hughes for the new millennium. This isn’t a one man show, but Downey easily shoulders so much of the weight in his starring role that you’ll leave the theater just wanting to see more of him in action (in and out of the Iron Man suit).
As I said though, this isn’t a one man show – all the actors in this movie seem perfectly cast. Gwyneth Paltrow plays the innocent Pepper Potts as the perfect foil to the womanizing Stark. Terrence Howard as James Rhodes, a great wing man run ragged by Tony’s constant unpredictability. Jeff Bridges plays Obadiah Stane as the father Tony no longer has, and he plays it so well that it’s baffling when he makes his heel turn. Heck, some of the great characters in this movie are machines!? Tony has a couple of robot assistants in his lab that are handled so nicely, they’d make Pixar proud.
I won’t go so far as to say that Iron Man is the best comic movie I’ve ever seen – but I will say that it stands head and shoulders above most comic movies and certainly deserves a seat a the “best comic movie” discussion. This is everything an Iron Man movie should be.