Early word on the latest Marvel Comic turned big-screen spectaculah, Iron Man? It's been updated from Vietnam to the War on Terror and is techno-riffic. From the Daily News:
Downey is Tony Stark, a millionaire arms inventor who, while giving a weapons demonstration to troops in Afghanistan, is attacked and kidnapped. Shoved in a cave by terrorists who give him a week to build a rocket from spare parts, Stark—who now has a magnetized sphere in his chest that keeps shrapnel in his body from entering his aorta—instead constructs a tank-suit that looks like the Michelin Man and boasts more goodies than a Swiss Army knife.
Back home at his L.A. mountaintop bachelor pad (which of course has a workshop General Motors would kill for), Stark experiences a true change of heart, deciding to stop making war machines. So he builds a suit of armor that flies like a jet, shoots energy blasts and helps keep his ticker going as he fights injustice.
The fact that Iron Man is a B-lister in the Marvel Comics stable doesn't stop director Jon Favreau and his writers from aiming high and generally hitting the target. Meanwhile, Stark's inner circle—including Gwyneth Paltrow (sexy and bookish) as his trusty assistant, Terrence Howard (tough and loyal) as his military connection, and Jeff Bridges (bald and menacing) as a mentor-turned-villain—lend a touch of class.
But cruising above it all is Downey. Since Iron Man's helmet has no nose and a little rectangular mouth, the smartest thing Favreau did was cast a lead who's constantly alive. The few times the red-and-yellow battle gear is front and center in "Transformers"-ish action moments, Favreau often shows his star's face inside the shell-head. As Downey pumps life into every scene, it's clear the actor, long regarded as one of the best of his generation, has not let the rust set in after his battle with drugs a decade ago.
Sexy and bookish? Bald and menacing? Tough and loyal? It sounds like they're really blazing new trails!
I salute Iron Man because he, along with the board game Monopoly, Dallas, Bruce Jenner, Jimmy Carter's cardigans, and Bobby Fischer helped us beat the Russkies when it mattered (until his death earlier this year, the insaniac former chess champ Fischer was helping us defeat Islamism by identifying as anti-Western[*]). And because Iron Man points the way to the coming age of the cyborg (or cyborg-like humans), which we're already in. Everytime you see someone with a cochlear implant (look carefully) or a pacemaker or wearing a wrist-guard for carpal tunnel syndrome, there beats the adamantium heart of Iron Man. If you can't be a full-blown mutant (thanks for nothing Mom and Dad) and are a couple standard deviations down the Bell Curve from homo superior, you might as well have microprocessors and exoskeleton-like devices up the ying-yang.
But enough with the drug-story backstory on RDJ (and Iron Man, who battled the sauce longer than he did The Mandarin, one of the last great gasps of full-blown Orientalist fantasy is post-war pop cult)! Spencer Tracy had problems—including a penchant for locking himself in hotel room bathtubs for an entire weekend while drinking and pissing himself into stupor—but you don't have to know that to enjoy Bad Day at Black Rock, do you?
All you need to know about Tony Stark–a cool exec with a heart of steel and two fistfuls of "repulsor rays"–in 22 seconds:
Bonus video: Black Sabbath asks the musical question "Can he walk and talk?,' etc. in this great home-brewed video.
[*]: Corrected spelling and life status of Fischer thanks to reader UCrawford.