Release Date: May 2, 2013 (9 pm, 3D/2D theaters and IMAX)
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios
Director: Shane Black
Screenwriter: Drew Pearce, Shane Black
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale, Jon Favreau, Ben Kingsley, Wang Xuequi
Genre: Action, Adventure
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief suggestive content)
Official Website: Marvel.com/IronMan3 | Facebook | Twitter
I wouldn’t call Iron Man 3 a complete throw-back to action-comedy, yet you’ll certainly find yourself chuckling during the most epic moments. And there lies the saving grace of this third Iron installment, and if it weren’t for the laughs and witty dialogue, Iron Man 3 wouldn’t be much to write home about. I still enjoyed it, but substantially this film falls very short of being anything but a typical summer action movie that thrives on giving asshole characters a seemingly “gentle” and “heartfelt” persona. It’s better than films 1 and 2, but 3 still plays out the same.
There’s a flash back. The story is set up. We come back to the present. Tony gets flirty with Pepper Potts. There’s more character development, and then a threat is made. Stuff blows up. Tony gets placed in a situation where he has to reexamine himself, and the light bulb switches on! Then (as predictable as it was) the twist happens. Tony gets shooken up a bit, composes himself, fights back, uses a few chiche “save-the-day” type of phrases, defeats evil, makes-out with pepper and all is well in America.
I guess I’m not the best American when a lot of what I see within Iron Man 3 is an exploitation terror and its affects on American pride. I love a good story about the bad guys getting their just desserts as much as the next person, and I’m in no way supporting terrorism, but there’s a clear trend going on within America’s movies that are “makin’ bank” on the exploitation of September 11 and how it affected this country. It’s something that many director’s keep hidden in their tool kit as a way of making money.
But enough of my tangent. Iron Man 3 takes time to explore the man within the metal rather than show off the multiple suits Stark’s invented – until the end of course. To it’s credit, Iron Man 3 does have a better story than the previous 2 two films. Director Shane Black does a good job at bringing in his past movie making expertise – Lethal Weapon was a hilarious franchise – brilliantly combining action and humor as one cohesive unit. Even in the face of terrible danger, Black is able to weed in a good number of laughs that don’t detract from the moments of death defying acrobatics and technological overdosing.
One of the film’s multiple failings include the numerous plot lines intermingled throughout its duration, as well as creating an unclear motivation for the main villain. While Iron Man attempts solving the mystery of the Mandarin, we, the audience, try to figure out if these terroristic actions are protesting American ignorance, arrogance, or policy. Maybe it’s a combination of all three, but we also have to deal with a few other side plots involving War Machine, Pepper Potts, and his security Chief , all of which cause major distractions from the heart of the film. So much is going on that it’s difficult to know why certain things are important to the story, which is probably why the movie is a half hour too long.
The Mandarin’s motivation is never clear except that he was a pissed off young scientist who felt the world was against him. But how it all played out was so very familiar to the League of Shadow’s Ra’s Al Ghul – keeping behind the the scenes while someone else takes the blame for his evil doings. Amongst all of the ramblings and confessions, we never truly understand why he’s doing all of this, but at least Iron Man has something to hit right?
A few eye-rolling troupes occur – An all-to-cliche ending where multiple Iron Man suits swoop in to save the day? It was all cool to look at, and I’m sure Black had a ton of fun giving shout-outs to the multiple versions of the Iron Man suit which have made appearances in the comics, but it all seemed more like a cop-out ending rather than an epic conclusion. Almost as if Disney had some say in the film-making process. (oh, wait) Creating a band of super-powered evil humans is all well and good, but towards the end it got a bit heavy handed, especially when Pepper Potts brings in a final blow as one of the infected. To top it off, an adolescent sidekick who knows it ins and outs of robot making and scientific theory is a bit too much.
Robert Downey Jr. is great. It’s almost as if the role of Iron Man was tailored-made for him. Likewise Guy Pierce, Ben Kingsley, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Don Cheadle play their parts well as friend/foe. But the character of Iron Man has never sat well with me, even before movie number 1 nailed the box office. There’s something not very appealing about a hero who let’s the world know who he really is, struts around in a pompus way, who’s witty dialog only works for him because he’s rich and famous, therefore doesn’t HAVE to care about what people think of him. This third film gives Tony moments of fighting battles without his suit, which is a redeeming quality, but he’s still an asshole who’s moral compass is nowhere near that of Bruce Wayne’s.
I’m hating on this movie a lot, but to be honest it’s not all bad; there are some spectacular special effects, the music is well placed to help build up any tension that occurs, and as stated above, the story is much more substantial than it’s cinematic predecessors. While all of the twists and turns the movie takes are excruciatingly predictable, this story is much easier to stomach and enjoy. With all of the humor and well placed battle scenes, I was able to enjoy myself to a point of not being completely bored. Yet I do sympathize with Doctor Banner and feel his pain, there were moments I wanted to dose off. I wonder if we’ll see and Iron Man movie that tries to be unique and different rather than playing it safe and giving audiences that same ol’ stuff we typically see from summer action movies. Is it too much to ask that an action movie at least TRIES to be substantial and unpredictable? Oh well, explosions are fun.
5 out of 10 stars