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September 2008

By Kam Williams


# Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Clark Gregg,
# Directors: Jon Favreau
# Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
# Language: English
# Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
# Number of discs: 2
# Rating: PG-13
# Studio: Paramount
# DVD Release Date: September 30, 2008
# Run Time: 125 minutes
# DVD Features: 2-Disc DVD Extras: Deleted and extended scenes, 7-part “The Making of” documentary, 6-part history of Iron Man, Robert Downey, Jr. screen test, still galleries, and additional featurettes.


When first introduced by Marvel Comics in April of 1963, Iron Man is a crime-fighting superhero whose alter ego, wealthy industrialist/ inventor Tony Stark, was ostensibly inspired by eccentric millionaire playboy Howard Hughes.

This live-action adventure features Robert Downey, Jr. in an endearing performance which humanizes the character to a degree rarely seen in comic book adaptations

The film unfolds very much like the first installment of a franchise, acquainting us with the protagonist’s background rather than rushing headlong into elaborate fight sequences. It is established at the outset that Stark, the CEO of Stark Industries, is a filthy rich, womanizing genius.

The plot only thickens when he ventures to Afghanistan to demonstrate his latest invention, the Jericho Missile, for the benefit of the U.S. military brass. En route, the Humvee in which he’s riding is hit by a roadside bomb, and he ends up in the hands of terrorists who want him to put his brain to work on their behalf to build the next generation missile.

What the insurgents don’t know is that Stark’s more worried about the life-threatening shrapnel permanently imbedded in his chest. So, while pretending to help them, he secretly builds himself a suit of armor containing a mammoth electromagnet. This outfit enables him to morph into Iron Man, escape, and return to the States where he makes the shocking announcement that Stark Industries will be shutting down its munitions manufacturing division.

This decision strains his relationships with his right hand-man, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), and with Lieutenant Jim Rhodes (Terrence Howard) from the Department of Defense. But Stark remains determined to change his company’s fundamental philosophy, even if that means he must reluctantly don that Iron Man suit again to kill in the name of peace.

A ‘Marvel’-ously cerebral superhero with a functioning conscience.