Iron Man 
Iron Man is the next in a long procession of movies based on characters in the Marvel comics universe. Some of these movies were pretty good (X-Men, X2), and some were pretty bad (the rest). One of the things that takes away from these movies is the notion that all of them must develop into mega-movie franchises, and so they’re entirely geared up towards that. The stories are written in such a way that they can be picked up, which is fine if it actually does get picked up, but if it doesn’t, then I start to get irritated by the high number of loose ends in the initial film. Also, to set up a franchise costs quite a bit of money, and in order for there to be sufficient return on investment they try to make the movie appeal to everyone, effectively turning it into a family movie, leaving the option open for action figures and lunch-boxes. I could go on listing the reasons why a movie that is supposed to be a deliberate franchise is usually a flaming bag of dogshit, but I’ll leave it at this and conclude that usually they don’t really appeal to me. Iron Man, in all its attempts to set up a massive mega-movie franchise, was actually quite fun to watch. And before you jump down my throat while reading the rest of my review, I said it was fun, not good.
Tony Stark (Downey) is a sexy, rock and roll, billionaire, genius, engineer-slash-CEO of Stark Enterprises, a massive multinational, primarily developing and manufacturing arms. When he is in Afghanistan to demonstrate Jericho, a new missile system, to the American military, he gets kidnapped by some very determined “terrorists,” who lock him up in a cave with some other dude and force him to build them a Jericho missile. He’s a good patriot, however, and tries to resist them for, like, eleven seconds before he agrees. Nefarious little Tony decides to build a super-suite instead to bust out of his cavern prison and succeeds.
Oh, wait, let’s back up just a second; ironically, during his kidnapping he gets wounded by a shrapnel bomb, built by his own company. When he wakes up in a cave, they have installed a big electromagnet right over his heart so that the small slivers of shrapnel in his bloodstream are kept from moving into his heart, which would surely kill him. Tired of lugging a carbattery around, he decides to use the supplies given to him in order to build a Jericho missile in order to build a tiny nuclear fusion reactor instead. So while faced with his own demise, he perfects nuclear fusion…in a cave! That should be the end of the movie, since he should just go back to the real world, publish his findings and everyone would have free, clean energy for the rest of humanity’s existence, ending all war, eradicating hunger and strife.
But no. He goes back after the dude who was in the cave with him, who saved his life on two occassions, dies during Tony’s escape in his super-suite and tells him to change his life around and become a philantropist-slash-superhero.
Anyway, he’s back in the real world and immediately announces that his company will cease arms manufacturing and concentrate fully on renewable energy instead. Obidiah (Bridges), his father’s best friend and long-time advisor to Tony, gets a little pissed off at that and tries to overthrow Tony as head of Stark Enterprises. Tony is blind to this as he works day and night to build a new suite, a better suite, with working rocket boosters, elbow-lasers and airconditioning. When he’s done, he transforms into Iron Man, superhero and alround-do-gooder!
Oh, the reason why I know this is supposed to be a franchise is because of the little short extra clip at the end of the credits, which is kinda worth the wait.
Jon Favreau directed this film, which is a surprise, because I thought he was all about Indie-projects, but I must admit, considering what an empty, contentless script it was, he did a really good job. So did Downey, who basically reprised his Kiss Kiss-roll only was now that guy with a suite and money. I liked Kiss Kiss a lot, and I like seeing Downey play that goofy character. Actually, that’s exactly what made this movie fun (not good); Downey is hilarious and has great comedic timing. It never occurred to me during Kiss Kiss, though it should’ve, but he’s very funny. And to think that the first movie I ever saw him in was Weird Science. That should’ve clued me in, right? :)