Sunday, May 5, 2013

Review: "Iron Man 3" About the Man in the Iron

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 31 (of 2013) by Leroy Douresseaux

Iron Man 3 (2013)
Running time: 130 minutes (2 hours, 10 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief suggestive content
DIRECTOR: Shane Black
WRITERS: Drew Pearce and Shane Black (based on the characters and stories created by Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby)
PRODUCER: Kevin Feige
CINEMATOGRAPHER: John Toll (director of photography)
EDITORS: Peter S. Elliot and Jeffrey Ford
COMPOSER: Brian Tyler


Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Ty Simpkins, Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale, Stephanie Szostak, William Sadler, Miguel Ferrer, Jon Favreau, and Paul Bettany (voice)

Iron Man 3 is a 2013 superhero film co-written and directed by Shane Black and starring Robert Downey, Jr. in the title role. It is the third movie in the Iron Man film franchise and the seventh installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which began with the first Iron Man movie in 2008). In Iron Man 3, Tony Stark/Iron Man is forced to rebuild his world after it is torn apart by a formidable terrorist.

Iron Man 3 finds billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) suffering from anxiety after his experiences with The Avengers. He has built several new Iron Man suits, which causes friction with his girlfriend and current CEO of Stark Industries, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Also, Tony’s friend, James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle), is now the U.S. government’s go-to-guy when it needs Iron Man-type help. Rhodes in his War Machine armor has also been re-branded as the Iron Patriot.

Tony has been working non-stop for months, but one thing that does catch his attention is the global tension caused by a mysterious terrorist known as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). After his friend, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), is gravely wounded in one of The Mandarin’s terrorist attacks, Tony vows revenge, but The Mandarin strikes first. Tony begins a journey of rebuilding and retribution, which is complicated by a cast of characters that includes friends and foes and even people whose allegiances are suspect.

Iron Man 3 is spectacular. Destruction is rendered in vivid colors and in awesome visual effects generated by computer software with the god-like ability to create new realities. But I was buying it the way I did for the first two Iron Man films. Don’t get me wrong, Iron Man 3 is good, and I enjoyed it – for the most part. For all its superhero action pageantry and its out of this world combat between demigods and demigod wannabes, I was only somewhat titillated.

There is one glaring thing that dampened my enthusiasm for Iron Man 3, and it is the entire Tony Stark anxiety, panic attack, quasi-PTSD, crisis of faith/conscience factor that is at the heart of Iron Man 3. To me, Tony’s angst comes across as contrived. I just wasn’t buying it. Didn’t we already litigate Tony Stark’s mental demons, relationship shortcomings, and personality glitches in Iron Man 2?

I did enjoy Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, and the actress shows that if the filmmakers did more than just scratch the surface of this character, they’d have something super. In addition, Don Cheadle easily moves past being the replacement actor (as Terrence Howard played Rhodes in the first Iron Man), as he fully comes into his own as James Rhodes. Here, Cheadle is funny and engaging, and he clearly has the film personality to be an action-movie star – certainly in superhero movies. Also, Ty Simpkins is surprisingly good as the Harley, a non-annoying, forthright boy.

In terms of tone, attitude, and spirit, Iron Man 3 is different from its predecessors. In fact, it seems odd, and The Mandarin subplot keeps things weird – perhaps too much. So Iron Man 3… maybe I’ll like it more when I see it again, on DVD or television. It is a good movie, but I can only be generous enough to give it a grade of “B.”

6 of 10

Sunday, May 5, 2013

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