i have to say i was very impressed with this film. it lived up to my expectations from the previews and tv spots, the effects were great and seemed to me to be rooted in an kind of organic reality which is much sought after in special effects movies these days (see transformers).
right from the outset i said that on character alone, robert downey jr was born for this role. take a character who is an egotist, alcoholic, wealthy, brilliant, philandering, ne'er-do-well only child prodigy of workaholic parents... who else do you get to play tony stark?!
i thought gwyneth paltrow as pepper potts was great, although her "action" sequences in the third act of the film weren't (for me) set up very well. had she had one or two more active sequences earlier in the film i might have believed in her a bit more. as it is, she felt a bit more to me like "pepper puppet" at the end of the strings in tony stark's hands. i don't doubt that the character is capable but i pepper as presented in this film was not.
jeff bridges and terrence howard were good, bridges much better than howard in the skin of his character (i had trouble believing rhodey being such a close friend of tony stark's but none at all buying obadiah stane as the family friend turned nemesis).
i watched the film to the very end of the credits and my final thoughts on the film were these: i love the movie but i feel a bit dirty - tony stark's final revelation was poor... and that is NOT nick fury.