Hollywood has produced a lot of superhero movies over the years. Some are good, a few are great, but most are just formulaic money-making machines designed to separate undiscerning teenagers from their cash.
What makes Iron Man rise above this crowded pack can be summed up in three words: Robert Downey Jr.
The plot conforms to the standard superhero creation myth, and while the special effects are spectacular, that isn't terribly hard to achieve these days. But Robert Downey Jr. chewing up the screen as Tony Stark is truly a wonder to behold.
There are other deft touches that make this an outstanding film. The relationship between Stark and the lovely and alliterative Pepper Potts is a nice departure from the norm, and the transformation of Stark from weapons tycoon to defender of peace is completely convincing.
But again, none of it would have worked without Downey Jr.
Let's hope he can stay out of rehab long enough to do the sequel. In the meantime, he and Iron Man get five stars.
(Murray's response when I told him of my choice this month was "yuk!", so I can only assume that... wait... hold on a minute... what's this? He loved it!?! What the hell? When was the last time we agreed on a movie, anyway?)