Iron Man ★★★★½

I knew next to nothing about this Jon Favreau–directed movie when I went to see it; I left the theater with a big smile on my face, pleasantly surprised.

The story is not the most original in terms of structuring, and there are some unavoidable formulaic elements, but they mostly work in favor of the movie. Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Tony Stark is superb and gives the movie a distinctive edge, and the other major cast members (Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow) deliver commendable performances. The scene after the credits is worth waiting for and not without importance (annoyingly, the curtain in the theater closed when the bonus scene began, but I went back the next day in time for the end credits and managed to see it).

"Iron Man" successfully combines politically aware drama, action, and humor; has great special effects; and features one of the coolest-looking movie superheroes. Marvelously entertaining!