In a word, fantastic! The best adaptation of a Marvel Comic to a live-action movie yet. The high points:
1. Casting. It would never have occurred to me to cast Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark- which is why casting directors make the big bucks, and I don’t. He and Paltrow captured the relationship between Stark and his Gal Friday Pepper perfectly. Is it just me, or is Jeff Bridges starting to look like Jesse Ventura nowadays?
2. Special effects. It would have been so, so easy to go over the top- but they didn’t. The effects were exactly what was needed to tell the story- perfectly done, but no flash for flash’s sake.
3. The story. In today’s atmosphere, it would have been tempting to make the story a debate on America’s presence in the Middle East- but they told the story of personal crisis of conscience and personal redemption that the original comic book dealt with. It will be interesting to see in the inevitable sequels whether they deal with his alcoholism as well.
As a fan of the original comic book, I couldn’t have asked for better, and didn’t expect it to be this good. If you’ve never read the comic, don’t let that stop you from catching a fine summer flick.