Superhero on screen

ON CIRCUIT: Iron Man, Made o Honour, Semi-Pro and The Walker

Iron Man
Movies made from superhero comics are very variable. Hooray for Hellboy, Blade and X-Men, and the Superman and Batman movies are okay, but The Fantastic Four, Daredevil and Ghost Rider are the kind of thing that can turn you off comic-book movies for life.

Luckily, Iron Man stars Robert Downey Jr, who can inject some intelligence and wit into his role as a weapons-maker (and technological genius) who becomes a metallic superhero. The plot, which has something to do with the Afghan war, gets confused trying to demonise peddlers of death such as arms manufacturers and their clients without commenting on the American invasion itself. But that doesn’t matter much. You can ignore such attempts at locating the story in the real world and enjoy it as outright juvenile fantasy. — Shaun de Waal

Made o Honour
Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan star in a romcom about womaniser Tom (Dempsey), who realises he is in love with his best friend, Hannah (Monaghan). When she gets engaged, he accepts the offer to be her ‘maid of honour”– so he can break up the pending nuptials. The movie is really the other My Best Friend’s Wedding, only the gags here tend to play on Tom’s gender-role reversal, a distraction from a worn plot. In the film’s defence there are some genuinely funny moments — and who doesn’t find Dempsey positively charming and ‘dreamy”? — Warren Foster

Semi-Pro
Could this be the film to bring the frat-pack comedy to an end? It is devoid of laughs and looks like some deconstructionist experiment, deliberately draining the comedy genre of jokes to show the parched, pointless story skeleton beneath. Will Ferrell plays a 1970s funk singer whose one hit allowed him to buy a basketball team. Hence the usual underdog sports comedy, but there are no gags. Ferrell is seriously off his game. — Peter Bradshaw

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