Thursday, May 9, 2013

Iron Man 3: A Review

I finally got a chance to catch the year's biggest movie (so far): Iron Man 3.

I enjoyed it a lot, although it doesn't match The Avengers for sheer fun.

The movie really belongs to Robert Downey, Jr. - he's crafted a terrific character in Tony Stark. It's only his sheer force of personality (and terrific sense of humor) that keeps Stark from coming across as a complete jerk (though he still has his jerkish moments).

The cast is terrific. Gwyneth Paltrow does a great job as Stark CEO Pepper Potts and gets to take part in some of the action sequences as well. I like the loving (and sometimes long-suffering) relationship between Pepper and Tony.

Don Cheadle has a lot of fun as James Rhodes (aka the Iron Patriot). Ben Kingsley is also terrific as The Mandarin - though the character is quite a departure from the character in the comics.

The film gives us a Tony Stark who's struggling with the aftereffects of his superhero battles - especially the finale to The Avengers. At the same time, he becomes embroiled (thanks largely to his big fat mouth) in a battle with the terrorist known as The Mandarin - and his link to a number of bad guys powered up by a process known as Extremis, which allows "normal" humans to be a credible threat to Iron Man.

It's all a bit fast and loose and there are a few holes in the plot that never quite add up - but the movie keeps things moving along briskly, so you have to work to get hung up on such things.

The film gives Downey lots of chances to play real-life action hero - he spends relatively little time actually wearing the Iron Man armor - but it certainly doesn't hurt the movie.

I did think the movie was a bit too violent (though it's mostly bloodless, there is a considerable body count). It's especially worrying considering the number of kids going to see this. Oh, and there are quite a few improbable action scenes, as Stark somehow gains Spider-Man-like agility near the end of the film.

But those are minor complaints. The movie is a lot of fun, mostly because Stark is such a smart character, able to think or talk his way past any obstacle.

This one is better than the second Iron Man film, and probably better than the first one - though it's close. If just for the spectacle, it's well worth seeing on the big screen.

Grade: A-



Kyle said...

Hi Chuck, great review. I would rank it a little lower than the first film myself. I liked that they gave Pepper a large role in the action as well, could have used a little more of War Machine/Iron Patriot, but overall a great movie.


Anonymous said...


It reminded me of statement that MC Chris said about the "Beware the Batman" cartoon series. "It's not the Batman cartoon (or Iron Man film) we wanted, but it's the one we got." I liked it, found it entertaining, but somewhat found myself thinking, "Is this it?" The film was definitely "deeper" in meaning than I expected to be and rather violent. Like some films, it seemed to want to deconstruct traditional comic book plots for "something new." Not a bad thing, but sometimes the source material is equally rich. I think you saw that in the Avengers film. While I think there's greater risk in leaving the traditional story, it can still work - The Batman Begins trilogy is a great example of it....


Chuck said...

Kyle, I am a big fan of the first Iron Man movie, too. The second one was a letdown, but the third is back in the right neighborhood.

B., good points - I think IM3's flaw was that it couldn't quite make up its mind. Was it going to be an action romp or tackle some serious analogies? It tried to split the difference and fell just short. Tony was a bit quick to kill the bad guys, I thought, but that's my Silver Age upbringing talking.