The “Iron Man” movies have become the thinking person’s superhero franchise if for no other reason than that they feature the thinking person’s movie star. Alone among his be-muscled and be-spandexed brethren, Robert Downey Jr. clearly considers the whole enterprise vaguely ridiculous as he zips around the skies in a high-tech iron lung. Is this what movie acting has come to?
And yet Downey doesn’t condescend to the superhero genre. Instead, he tries to raise the proceedings to his own arch, intelligent level. You sense his characters possess experience in life, not just comic-book derring-do. Like the actor playing him, Tony Stark has the slightly singed air of a man who has seen too much.