At the start of his one week trip and before we left for Mindanao, R and I went to Mall of Asia to watch Ironman and the first set of the World Pyro Olympics. As I had never read an Ironman comic before, the story was quite novel, but reminiscent of many a Marvel comic. There's the genius hero with not a few characteristic failings (inability to show his feelings for the girl, loss of parental guidance - do all action heros have to be orphans?, incapacity to see the bad guy when he's right in front of them), lots of action sequences like flying, fast cars, fight scenes, bad guys who won't die, Oscar-winning actresses who have to take a job because better scripts aren't readily available. Robert Downey Jr. is the not as sensitive as he should be hero, who seems to be the pinnacle of capital greed, until life jolts him into realizing what money can't buy (except he still can't tell the girl how he feels, merely parries it into how much she means to him in a very vague, non-committal kind of way, plus would you mind getting killed for me and my attempt to save the world?). Gwyneth plays the girl friday with a freudian name, and another oscar winner, Jeff Bridges, shares shiney head space with the not so subtle typecast Middle Eastern villain. Bald men should boycott all Marvel comic movies. Lex Luther, and now two villains in this movie. Evil geniuses or just needy of Rogaine?
Ironman, aka Tony Sparks, is less broody than Batman/Bruce Wayne, although both are uberbillionaires with playboy reps. Mr. Downey plays the facetious title character with some feyness thrown in, and tight body shirts to show off the pecs and the glowing nuclear heart. Again, as a newbie to Ironman, does the character have to start its engines looking like Chaplin about to waddle? Or is that just a reminder that Downey played Chaplin?
Overall, the story wasn't as emotionally enthralling as the Spiderman or X-men series. Perhaps the writing needs to up the emo quotient the next time around.
As for the World Pyro, I really enjoyed the German team's spectacle, with its symmetry that succeeded without boring the audience, a textural approach to the display, and drama! Sadly the Chinese show, which opened the night, was nice, but had no punch. Wouldn't it have been nice to see an Olympics ring display? Or am I too literal minded?