Iron Man Summons the Inner Children
These days, my best Iron Man impersonation involves a bleary-eyed, early morning rush to get out the pesky wrinkles from my dress shirts. Standing on line to see the long-awaited film last Friday, the work week barely behind me, I was still decompressing. Two hours later, walking home past the drunken downtown hooligans, I was liberated by an unfamiliar intoxication. I was drunk on Downey Jr.
Now mind you, I’m a bit too young to fully appreciate the irony of that statement. While RDJ was taking his legions of cult fans on naked gun-toting joyrides down Sunset Blvd, I was still playing make believe in my back yard amidst the molten lava fields and invisible ninjas with death-ray laser guns. Late Friday night, our worlds finally collided. Watching Iron Man jet through the air, crushing bad guys left and right, it was as if my imagination was projecting the entire film through the lens of my childhood. And it was just fun again.
As for the acting, Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark’s defiant aplomb with an ease that will prompt some to call this the role he was born to play. But he wasn’t predestined to be Iron Man. Rather, he earned this performance by struggling through years of his own intense emotional drama. Director Jon Favreau has already likened Downey Jr’s performance to Johnny Depp’s infectious Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. Honestly, that feels inadequate to an actor so well-suited to the wardrobe of Tony Stark. The simple believability of his acting allows the audience to immerse itself in one of the most well-crafted, well-casted, and well, awesome, comic book films ever made. Yet at the end of a long day, Iron Man’s greatest contribution is to remind us “adults” that rules (gravity included) were made to be broken, the sky is the limit, and that cliches and metaphors still got nuthin’ on a child’s imagination. — Johnny