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This week:

Filthy says:
"Intelligent... for a comic book turd."

I'm pretty fucking sure they made Ironman before, only they called it Batman the first time. It's the one about the rich guy who makes himself all these gee-whiz gimcracks to turn himself into a crimefighting superhero.

Robert Downey, Jr. plays Tony Stark, a billionaire inventor and owner of an industrial corporation. Unlike the most recent Batman's Bruce Wayne--also a billionaire industrialist--he's not a whiny-ass, poor-me bitch who's just as likely to make emo music and write bad poetry as put on a cape. Downey is more like the TV Batman; an incorrigible ladies' man by day, incognito freedom-fighter by night. Bruce Wayne, though, was way classier and funnier.

While in Afghanistan showing his latest weapons to the military, Downey brags about his sexual conquests, makes it clear he is the sort of ass they market men's cologne to, and then is kidnaped by terrorists who lock him in a cave and demand he build them a bomb. Suspend your disbelief for the first of many times, please, to think the military has contractors ship deadly, advanced weapon systems into war zones for demonstrations. Also, don't think too much about why the terrorists kidnaped Downey and demanded he build them a bomb that was apparently going to be given to them by the real baddy as a reward for kidnaping him.

Rather than build the bombs demanded by his captors, Downey builds a giant iron suit that looks better than Johnny Sokko's Giant Robot, but is still incredibly gay. After climbing inside the suit, he defeats the terrorists and escapes. No comic book movie is complete without a weak-as-shit pop psychology epiphany. Hell, cheap and obvious life-changing events are the biodiesel that power Marvel and DC. Complex and real emotions would just bewilder their fat, friendless fanbase. The epiphany is that, gee!, all those bombs and missile he makes may actually be bad for the world. This guy's supposed to be a fucking genius and it took his own life being threatened for him to figure that out? What a self-absorbed asshole. Back in the U.S., Downey, announces that his company will no longer create weapons.

He doesn't say what Stark Industries will create instead, but his first act to prove how serious he is about his epiphany is to build his best and most lethal weapon yet. Not just any weapon, either. One that personalizes the killing by letting the user do it directly; not through some drone, or long-range missile. Ah, comic book logic. I wish I could use it on Mrs. Filthy at 3:20 in the morning when I get home with urine-stained pants, bloodied nose and a fistful of someone else's hair. But, she's not a fanboy, so not prone to illogic.

In his home lab, billionaire Downey builds a sleeker, more powerful, more violent and way-way-way gayer Ironman outfit. This time it's red and gold, with a pouty mouth, shapely abs and pecs, and muscular arms. It can burn shit, blast shit, fly faster than jets and punch things so hard it knocks your balls through your spine.

It's not clear why Downey builds Ironman, but when he sees some shit on the news about the same terrorists who hurt him, he flies around the world to kill them and save some goat herders. You can see how much of a changed man he has become, right?

Actually, Downey is a changed man. At the beginning of Ironman he's a wisecracking, smug turd whose probably wearing Axe body spray. After his life-changing imprisonment, though, he's really uninteresting, not particularly clever-sounding and no longer interested in fucking anything that moves. When he returns, all he wants to do is dance with a dowdy, pasty Gwyneth Paltrow. (Personally, I'd rather swap my eyeballs for my testicles.) He was an amoral arms dealer. Now he's an uptight soccer dad with a bigass metal suit.

Ironman then follows a path as well worn as the buttons on the Harelip's Levi's knockoffs. Jeff Bridges--doing his best Albert Brooks impression--is another executive at Downey's weapons company, and he wants Downey dead. The movie never says why. I think it's because he's been double dealing and doesn't want Downey to know. But the pre-kidnaping Downey probably wouldn't have given a shit. And Bridges wants him dead before Downey declares his company will no longer make weapons.

But Bridges is pure evil, see, and he's been selling weapons to terrorists. Oh, and giving them away to anyway who will kill Downey. Nevermind that the Pentagon would figure that our pretty damn quickly, please. We have a very strict and silly plot to follow: former friend and/or mentor turns evil and the hero must fight him. Sadly, that plot is undermined not only by its silliness, but also because Ironman's makes Downey glib and skeptical. How the fuck is a hero who seems to know everything supposed to be surprised or disappointed?

A better question is why was Bridges trying to kill Downey even before Downey went all soft and peace-loving (at least in theory)? He was the company's greatest asset, loved making weapons. Also, why would Bridges send Downey to Afghanistan and contract with terrorists to kill him when it'd be pretty fucking easy to do right at home?

In its climax, Ironman manages to be a letdown not only in logic, but also originality. Bridges builds his own super iron suit and fights Downey. They bang each other, shoot and fist fight. They whack and hack, and do all the requisite big-budget wrestling shit. It's the gay suit versus the slightly-less-gay suit. For a superhero who is supposed to be different, Downey's solution to problems is a hell of a lot like his predecessors': fight! fight! fight! In the midst of fighting, when Downey is down, Bridges makes the standard "I'm-about-to-win-this-fight-so-I-will-reveal-stuff" speech. It's by the books shit with a hero who was sassier, at least for the first part.

Gwyneth Paltrow probably ought to go back to popping out babies. I never thought she was hot, but she's about as attractive as a fishmonger now. The movie wants to make her out as smarter than the average pretty girl put into this girl-in-distress role. She's not, though. She's just not as hot. I don't know why director Favreau didn't put her in glasses and mary janes while he was at it.

Ironman is more like every other superhero movie than it pretends. And most every other superhero movie is pretty fucking bad. Two Fingers.

Want to tell Filthy Something?



Sara Edwards of the Comcast Network

What Happens in Vegas is "FLaugh-out-loud funny! Sweet, smart, sexy. Works on every level!"

Filthy's Reading
Graham Greene - Brighton Rock

Listening to
Sonic Youth - Dirty


Curb Your Enthusiasm