Last week I saw Ironman, the latest cinematic realization of a comic book super hero. It came recommended and was not a hard sell for me as it stars an actor I'm quite fond of, Robert Downey Jr. Downey re-wrote a lot of his own dialogue giving his character wit and charm and helping making the story more appealing to us more snobbish film goers.
The movie was fun and the best of the genre I've seen since Tim Burton's first Batman starring Michael Keaton. But ultimately Ironman was just another formula movie. Here's that formula:
*Explore the creation of a new super hero, first by introducing the alter ego and then showing how he came to have his super power.
*Show just how awesome our hero's talents are.
*Introduce the love interest, the sidekicks and some stick figure villains.
*Run of the mill bad guys get their asses kicked.
*Hint at who the real villain is, we promise to act surprised.
*Make everything seem jake before setting up the climatic show down.
*The show down must at some point seem lost, only to have our hero affect a dramatic victory.
*Give us a chuckle at the end and the suggestion of a sequel.
(Meanwhile don't forget possible marketing tie-ins, hey, ya gotta make a buck when you can.)
It worked for Spiderman, Batman Begins and all the other super hero moves I've seen and the many I've missed and it worked for Ironman.
Besides Downey Gwenyth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges were very good. The special effects were dynamite (when AREN'T they these days?) and the pacing was good.
But ultimately this was just another variation on a theme. Can we try something different next time Hollywood?