Story: Wise-cracking playboy and electronics genius, Tony Stark, is captured by a local warlord in Afghanistan while doing a demo of his company's latest missile technology. The warlord demands Stark makes him some of the missiles. Instead, Stark escapes by making a rocket-powered exo-skeleton out of a couple of bazookas and a tin can.
Irritated that his company's weapons are falling into the wrong hands, Stark builds a better suit to become a superhero and put things right.
Meanwhile, the original suit falls into the wrong hands...
Comments: Finally someone's heard my constant moaning about angst-ridden superheroes who spend all their time complaining and/or doing their laundry. Stark is arrogant, funny and the life of the party. Being played by Robert Downey Jr, he's also charming with it and entertaining to watch (unlike Hayden Christensen in Jumper). At last, a superhero who actually quite enjoys it and gets on with smashing things.
I've still got a couple of gripes, though:
1. Why does the first superhero film in a franchise always have to deal with how the hero became super? I really don't care. It's not like it ever makes sense anyway. Is it really possible to build advanced servo-systems in a cave in Afghanistan using a hammer and anvil while recovering from a major injury? I don't think so.Still, Downey Jr is great and at least this is trying something different from yet another re-run of Spider-Man.
It would be much better if the whole issue was dealt with in a couple of flashbacks somewhere in the middle and the plot simply went straight for explosions and smashing. That worked well enough for Batman.
2. Superheroes fighting their evil alter-ego isn't very interesting. Lately, we've had Hulk vs Abomination, Spider-Man vs Venom and Iron Man vs ... er... Other Iron Man. Unsurprisingly, these battles between combatants with similar powers tend towards stalemate until the hero gets clever or desperate. They're never as much fun as fights between characters with diverse abilities.
Not to mention that the concept of equally matched adversaries was pretty much fully exploited in Superman 2 twenty years ago.
Conclusion: Not bad but it would have been even better if they'd just skipped this one and started with a sequel.
Explosions: Big and everywhere.
Unlikely science: Prevalent.
Totally implausible feats of engineering: Almost constant.
Angst: Thankfully absent.