Robert Downy Jr. in Iron Man
For those of us who enjoy a great comic book based movie, but were not comic readers, the idea of an Iron Man movie seemed... out of place. Looking at the history of Marvel and DC movies, film adaptations were made on the best-known characters. I’m talking about super heroes known by non comic book readers because they are everywhere. Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Hulk and the X-men, are all examples of comic book heroes who had a huge following outside of their comic book pages. From multiple film adaptations, to TV shows, to pajamas, you knew these characters to some degree, because they were just about everywhere.
Disney announced a new super hero movie, Iron Man, would be their next summer blockbuster, and I was confused. At the time of the announcement I knew of Iron Man. I had heard his name before. I could pick him out of a line up. I’m not entirely sure I knew his real name was Tony Stark, or that he had a goatee. As quickly as it was announced, I had pretty much forgotten about it. (I mean they announce these things over a year in advance!)
A few months later, I am sitting in the movie theater and the first trailer for Iron Man comes on. I find myself suddenly intrigued. Amidst the explosions and huge actions sequences, it’s the few dialogue pulls they show of Robert Downy Jr. that get my attention. What the heck? He kind of seems like a jerk. He’s cocky, sarcastic, and made me laugh. This is not Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne. This is not what I would imagine a hero to sound or act like. This is a movie I need to check out!
When Iron Man finally came out in theaters, I was not disappointed. It delivered on all levels. Story telling, action, humor, and heart. What made this movie different from all other super hero films though, was that I was greatly enjoying the scenes of Tony Stark out of the Iron Man suite, than in. Robert Downy Jr.’s personification of Tony Stark made it the very first, and to this day only, super hero film where I enjoy seeing our hero “in his streets” more than in super hero mode.
RDJ made me believe that this character could exist. He put together the whole package. Sure, there are other actors that are funny and could pull off the comedic timing and sarcastic tone to make the movie funny. I think of actors like David Duchovny, or perhaps director John Favreau’s old buddy Vince Vaughn. But even Favreau knew that the role needed more than just the humor. RDJ brought the right amount of humor, physical presence, and humility to the role to bring Tony Stark to life in a way that got the entire world to know he is Iron Man.
Now, let’s see if Paul Rudd can do the same for Ant Man.