It may sound quite snobbish (call me a pretentious prick if you must - it hurts me not) but the super-hero genre alone does not allow for a great film, which means Iron Man, along with past compatriots Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, Hulk, Fantastic Four and X-Men, is doomed from the very start to reach no higher than sufficently able or perhaps even popcorny-to-the-max. Alas, Iron Man does just that, but never any more.
There is no denying one of the best casting jobs in recent motion picture history - past tabloid bad boy Robert Downy Jr. playing the drunken playboy Tony Stark a la Iron Man as if by osmosis - and there also may be no denying an above average screenplay - especially by genre standards - and a sly coolness brought to the table by Downey and director Favreau, but there is also no denying that this is a comic book movie and being so (no matter what that blobbish blemish of an ogre Harry Knowles has to say about it) can never crawl any higher than its slightly above mediocre entertainment-for-entertainment's sake accomplishment we see on the screen.
Symbiotic lead performance aside, the cliche that befalls this film and its inevitable obviousness (is anyone even remotely surprised when the villian is "revealed"!?) not to mention its franchise-in-the-making nods and winks, is nearly enough to sink the film altogether. Perhaps it is its cockiness that saves it in the end. That and the surround-sound thump of Black Sabbath as the hero first kicks his requisite ass. Da da da da don. [05/06/08]