Heart of iron

Overheard at a crosswalk the other day, while waiting with a couple other women: “What’s Iron Man about, anyway?” “I dunno…but it sounds sooooo cool!”

I submit to you, Gentle Readership, that the above is the classic definition of the perfect summer blockbuster.

This may be a case of preaching to the converted, since the film took in $100mil over this past weekend and I’ve only just downloaded the trailers, but on the off chance you’re still pondering…yeah, this one’ll live up to the hype. They got it right – and possibly only in the world of comic book movies is there so vast a gap between the simple statement and the execution thereof.

It helps that the story of Tony Stark is to begin with one of the most fun, and likely not coincidentally least angsty, sagas in the Marvel pantheon. The story is simple: billionaire playboy industrialist has an epiphany after an assault that leaves him with a dicky heart, stops making weapons and instead designs a reallyreally cool suit of armour that allows him to fly and shoot repulsor blasts and oh yeah, fight crime as….dun-dun-DUUUUUUNNNNIron Man! Yay!

Short version: It’s Batman with less brooding and more…well, more honkin’ cool red-and-gold flying armour, is basically what’s going on here. Did I mention the repulsor blasts?

Seriously, once I saw the armour I knew everything was going to be OK. Actually, I had a strong suspicion long before that, when I first heard that Robert Downey Jr had been signed on as the lead. Want a handle on the movie, even shorter version? That would be it. Downey openly admits he begged for this role.
Besides, as a co-worker who’s squarely in the favoured demographic pointed out to me this morning after seeing it last night, your Eric Banas and ‘Jean-Luc Picards’ are all very well, but to make a real movie, you need real actors. (Of course, she then spent the afternoon googling pictures of that same R. Downey, so make of that what you will.)

Everything’s in place for a supremely rewarding comic book experience – and don’t laugh at that until you’ve tried it. There’s only a rare few media moguls out there who still understand that superheroes are one of mankind’s most fundamental ways of rewarding ourselves.

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