Here's my quick-fire review of Iron Man (which I got to see Weds last week thanks to Movies.ie): It's good, enjoyable and tends towards the better end of the comic-book movie scale. I initially gave it 4 stars on Movies.ie, but am now in more of a 3 star state of mind. How come? Because I've realized that it's nothing more then 2 hours of setup for the next one.
Iron Man has never really had the same audience pre-notion as Superman or Batman. For it to work as a franchise it has to be introduced to the minds of the movie-going public. And that what the current film does. Sure, most other comic book films have had the obligitory origin-based story, but most tend to concentrate (at most) half the film on it and spend the rest giving us a proper film with a villain (or two) and heart thumping set pieces. Batman Begins and Spider Man are prime examples of this method, and Iron Man pales in comparison to them.
First off: there's no real villains in Iron Man. Yes, we have the Terrorists and a bald Jeff Bridges, but neither provide any real threat and only pop up, especially in Bridges case, towards the final few reels.
Second: The direction in Iron Man is very average. The final battle looks like a cut scene from Transformers and most other scenes are blocked like a TV show.
Finally: For all it's worth, the running time of Iron Man could have been cut to just Robert Downey Jr's last line: "I am Iron Man", which is really all that the movie says.
This is nothing but introduction. I admit that it is entertaining, but I find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that to gain all we can from this character we have to buy into sequels and a bigger story. I'm fairly certain that the sequel will be better then the initial encounter, and that it only because in his first outing Iron Man isn't given all that much to do.