**** (out of four)
Despite its straight-forward nature and lack of daring, "Iron Man" delivers on a level that not even the most fervent and blindly optimistic comic book geek could have anticipated. Favreau may lack the ingenuity of directors like Sam Raimi (the "Spider-Man" trilogy) and especially Christopher Nolan ("Batman Begins"), but what he lack in originality he more than makes up for in old-fashioned storytelling savvy. His "Iron Man" is lean and proficient, and hits all the right notes in bringing this long-awaited project to the big screen.
"Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay"
We have "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay," which isn't so much a sequel as it is a half-hearted rehash of "White Castle." It offers little of its predecessor's (relative) intelligence, and absolutely none of its originality. Indiscriminate "Harold and Kumar" fans will probably enjoy it, but most viewers will likely be bored of the same old shtick.
"Forgetting Sarah Marshall"
While it doesn't quite measure up to previous efforts "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Knocked Up" (both directed by Judd Apatow) and "Superbad," this is still one of the freshest and funniest comedies we're likely to see for a while … or, at least, until the team's next project, "Pineapple Express," is released this summer.
Movies are reviewed by News-Sentinel movie reviewer Jason Wallis every Saturday.