Directed by: Jon Favreau. There was a little bit of hype with this one, wasn’t there? And certianly in the last few years, with a sequel and the Avengers tie-in, I thought it was time to accept Iron Man as a cultural fact: it’s big—like Independence Day big. Having seen it now, I guess it’s about what I thought it would be. Robert Downey Jr. is, of course, a charismatic leading man, and at least half of the enjoyment value comes from just watching him do his thing: fast talking, smirking that smug and enjoyably sleazy smirk of his, with the occasional bit of straight up pathos when the dramatic moments require it. Downey is, after all’s said and done, just as good at doing the dramatic parts as he is the comedic parts, and I don’t say that without some reflection. A trend I’m noticing with these superhero movies, from Batman Begins onwards I’d say, is attention to casting—peppering the supporting roles with pretty strong dramatic actors. In this particular example, this doesn’t come through particularly strong, I guess. Gwyneth Paltrow and Terence Howard, both capable of some good stuff in their own right (okay, mostly Terence), barely get to do anything notable next to Downey. Although, as far as vacuous leading ladies go, Pepper Potts isn’t the worst I’ve seen—and that performance is downright subdued compared to, say, Kirsten Dunst in the Spider-Man movies. The real weight, in my opinion, comes from Jeff Bridges. Only a heavyweight like him could really make me feel anything in what is, after all, a gladiatorial spectacle between CGI robots, a slightly modified Transformers. I’m not particularly looking forward to the next movie, but hey…why not?