Iron Man

Iron Man ★★★★½

Downey is so perfect and all the right notes (Black Sabbath!) get hit on the way to the finale. Stark's transformation from clueless playboy to playboy-with-a-conscience works thanks to Downey keeping the character's cockiness in tact. There is no real humility on display, rather a redirected hubris that is a hoot to cheer for. Bridges is a great baddie and tying Stark to his father's legacy lends an unspoken emotional undercurrent. Gwyneth, as ever, is transcendent as Pepper Potts.

As filmmaking goes, it moves just fast enough and gets out of the way of the personalities onscreen.