Believe it or not, ‘Iron Man’ is all it’s cracked up to be |

Believe it or not, ‘Iron Man’ is all it’s cracked up to be

I’ll admit it, this week’s column has a niche market. This is for the few, the proud, the adamant ” those who refuse to see “Iron Man.”

Not long ago at all, I was you. Back in February, I laughed out loud as I watched a preview for it. I was on a quasi-date at the time, and I traded knowing glances with the fellow next to me as Robert Downey Jr. suited up and flew into the sky.

Our looks to each other said something like “Haven’t we got better taste than the unwashed masses?”

Oh wait, guess not.

Months passed, and though I’d given no more thought to the film, the rest of the world sure had. After hearing an avalanche of good buzz and a surprising vote of confidence from my dad, I got curious. Could Hollywood really pull this off?

And how.

I watched “Iron Man” as if I’d never seen an action flick before. Gone was my judgment ” completely. I laughed when everyone else did. I let out audible signs of shock when I was caught off-guard. I reveled in the lack of dorky one-liners and rooted for the good guys all the way through. I thought Gwyneth Paltrow was earthy and magnetic, and I became almost personally affronted at Jeff Bridges’ power-hungry persona.

Most, of all, though, I fell for Downey. He’s the real reason to see this thing. And I’m not reacting to his attractive, peacock strut or his big, batting, calf-like eyes. He’s seamless as Tony Stark/Iron Man, a charismatic yet damaged, confident yet very human super hero. As I saw him make the movie work, I knew I was loving him all the more for the pain he’s been through. It wasn’t too long ago that Mr. Downey, all coked up, was arrested for wandering the streets of L.A. and other depressing stunts. He’s done jail time, been fired from projects left and right and has generally been one, gut-wrenching train wreck.

But still, somehow, Hollywood and audiences ” and even me ” have welcomed him back. Better yet, he’s earned it. It’s almost as if Downey can return to glory, then maybe we’ve all got a shot, too. He’s this walking reminder that anything is possible.

Now that’s the kind of story I like.

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