Iron Man (2008)
Robert Downey Junior's customized free-floating rendition of a superhero is a flying and womanizing euphoria, but not enough to conceal the fact that this Jon Favreau directed addition to the 'here's (the first in a series of) another superhero venture' subgenre suffers greatly from a lack of imagination and new angles when it comes to plotting and bad guys. After a crisp opening hour in which the conveniently clever irony of Tony Stark's situation is both well addressed and potently realized, we might start thinking Iron Man will be a standout in the genre for years to come, as the character of the title character is slowly born, bringing with him a placenta of impressive gadgets and visualizations of futuristic technology.
Us boys (who will be boys) can hardly ask for more. Well, except for perhaps a faintly believable adversary who isn't overblown and dehumanized to such a degree that it is impossible to feel anything for either him or the battle he is fighting with our hero. Jeff Bridges' Obadiah Stane might just be the stupidest of the many stupid superhero villains recently (Willem Dafoe will have me excused). His boringly inflated misanthropic megalomania is not at all accounted for, and Bridges can do little else than have his voice distorted into the usually unrecognizable grumble as his villain contaminates both the Iron Man character and the film, giving it an unattractive feel of insignificance.
It is a shame that the writers of superhero movies feel obliged to include a villain with identical or similar powers as the superhero. In my opinion, this totally undermines the marvel of the hero himself, but perhaps more importantly, it removes the crucial human factor from the equation. What starts as an interesting human and psychological portrait of Tony Stark ultimately turns into a mechanical (in every sense of the word) portrait of Michael Bay-ish interactions.