Iron Man, the movie: How to completely alienate half your audience in three easy moves.

About two minutes into the movie Tony Stark is acting all surprised that a US Airman is a woman, as he apparently "couldn't tell". Never daunted, he smoothly segues into asserting that now that he knows she is a woman, he "can't help looking", and she "has some great bone structure there". Wow - from insulting her femininity to sexual harassment, and he didn't so much as draw breath in between. Of course the airman laughs along with everyone else, as it would be inconceivable for the women in any of these piles of misogynistic cack masquerading as popular culture to not play along with the set up.

36 hours earlier, in the chronology of the film, Stark is being accosted by an aggressive reporter asking him cutting questions about the morality of his weapons production company. At first he counters her claims with the usual platitudes (in RDJr's credit, looking rather bored all the while), but then decides to do away with the pointless political controversy and returns her question about losing any sleep with "I'd like to lose a few hours with you". I know, smooth. Get this: we cut - not even pan, but a sharp cut - from that line directly to self same reporter bouncing up and down on our Tony with every sign of hysterical enjoyment.

About fifteen minutes in we see him supping warm sake and enjoying the finest sashimi onboard his private jet - just in case any of the above made you think he wasn't a man of refined sensibilities - then quickly cut to a later time when the flight attendant's uniforms have variously shrunk, been taken off or rolled up, and they are dancing around the cabin while Tony and his mate lounge on a leather sofa, observing. Yeah. Just in case you're too dense to have gotten it, as the camera pans off this scene a dancing pole rises from the floor to become attached to the ceiling and presumably give the girls someone to dance with.

At this point the film kind of lost me. There were a lot of explosions. Some people who could speak Urdu, Pashtun, Arabic, Farsi, Hungarian, Mongolian and Russian were apparently too dumb to get English. He fell on a car. Gwyneth Paltrow phoned in a performance, possibly as a protest of the aforementioned misogynistic cack but equally likely due to the dampening effect of some of the worst hair in a major Hollywood movie ever.

It sucked.

I've been typing versions of the below into my text box for the last three days, in response to the myriad blokes who came back with apologia for this piece of cinematic excrement ranging from "this was made by guys, for guys, so you don't understand" to "Tony Stark is supposed to be like that, he's like that in the original comics, you're not a fan so you don't understand":

Your argument is extremely patronising. Why do you assume that I am not a comics fan and didn't "know what to expect" coming in? I know perfectly well what Marvel comics are like, as well as how they have been updated for a more modern audience in recent time. Even if I didn't though, the mysoginy in the film could not be explained away by saying "oh, they're just being faithful to the text". The original comics were all about fighting communism, the Chinese etc.: if the producers of this film are so reverentially faithful to their source materials, how come in the movie it's Islamic terrorism? Answer: far from any loyalty to Stan Lee's original concept, the producers believe that "balls to the wall action" as you call it can only be made entertaining by appealing to the worst prejudices of the audience - mysoginy and Islamophobia being just two of them. It's very far from impossible to update a fifties comic for a modern audience; Brian Singer did a fantastic job with the first two X-Men movies, and the new Batman franchise is excellent. This was just lazy filmmaking by people who really believe that a dance pole in an air cabin and flight attendants who double as strippers are marks of "the good life".

I actually have an extensive comics collection and am a big Marvel fan; part of my outrage at the medieval gender politics of the movie stem from the fact that I feel excluded from the legitimate audience and marginalised as a viewer by them. I suppose Favreau et al thought the same as the guys flooding my Message Inbox with excuses and explanations: women really aren't part of their target audience. Which is exactly what I was saying. Which sucks in a majorly disturbing way.