Last night a friend asked me if he would like it, and I responded, "I'm hard pressed to think of anyone who wouldn't. Unless, of course, you really want to." Yes, according to Rotten Tomoatoes there are about 9% of reviews that weren't overwhelmingly positive, and one of those is from my old standby, Walter Chaw, who occasionally doesn't keep his eye on the ball because of his obsession with political allegory. His review is entertaining, but certainly not persuasive enough to suck the fun out of the film. It's too bad (and yet entertaining in itself) that he observes:
- Consider a scene where Iron Man rockets to the Middle East, saunters around to Led Zeppelin and AC-DC in an interesting/depressing update of the Wagner-scored helicopter attack from Apocalypse Now, and makes it back in time for a starlet elbow-rub covered by E! basic cable. If Batman Begins and Superman Returns capture how Americans think of themselves in their darkest, most introspective moments, Iron Man offers a glimpse into how Americans project themselves into the world as a giant, swinging, turgid dick. It's Dr. Strangelove but not as satire. Meanwhile, although Stark's alcoholism is downplayed, the casting of Downey Jr.--his personal backstory addiction-infected enough--lends the film a healthy degree of vital self-awareness: this Stark's drug of choice isn't firewater, it's leggy blondes and technophilia in the form of making things in racing red that blow up real good. (Note Stan Lee's requisite cameo as Hugh Hefner.) The real insight offered by Iron Man is that, as a culture, we're no less addicted to it. iPods and Bluetooth and Summer Blockbusters that cost more than it'll take to rebuild Myanmar after ten thousand of their people are swept out to sea: looks like a job for Iron Man.