Shane Black's "Iron Man 3"

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Shane Black's "Iron Man 3" Empty Shane Black's "Iron Man 3"

Post by Deviss on Sat May 04, 2013 11:15 am

Tony Stark is back and better than ever!

"We make our own demons."

  • Story: Four and a half Stars
  • Acting: Four and a half Stars
  • Directing: Four and a half Stars
  • Visuals: Five Stars
  • Overall: Four and a half Stars

Here we are. Phase II has begun at last and what a start it has had. It wasn't very difficult to discern from the trailers and TV spots that the third iteration of Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man was going to be good, maybe even great. It had to be better than the less-than-stellar "Iron Man 2" and hopefully it could live up to the introduction that started it all "Iron Man". Thankfully, happily, this fan can say that "Iron Man 3" has surpassed it predecessors and has left Tony Stark's story on a much deserved high note.


Tony Stark is having problems. Ever since the life-changing events of New York; gods; aliens; wormholes, he hasn't been the same. Plagued with insomnia and anxiety issues, which borderlines on PTSD, Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) is trying to make sense of the newfound universe that he inhabits and what his role is in all of it. As well as protect "the one thing he can't live without"; Virginia "Pepper" Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). On top of all of those woes, a supposed new threat to the world's safety rears its semi-shaven head; The Mandarin. After an attack that renders his longtime friend and bodyguard Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) hospitalized. Tony issues a challenge to The Mandarin, not realizing that his actions place everything he cares about in danger, as well as setting himself on the paths of self-realization and confronting his own demons.

Where oh where to begin... Oh that's right... I suppose at the beginning.

I'm not very familiar with Shane Black, as a director or otherwise, so I had no idea what to expect from him as I sat down in my local theater. I had seen the trailers (and only the trailers while policing everything else) multiple times so I knew, or thought I knew, the premise behind "Iron Man 3" and for the most part my suppositions were correct. The one thing that I did not see coming and that everyone either loathes or loves is the character twist that comes up about halfway/three-quarters of the way through the movie. As has been my stance, I won't spoil that twist here for you; I wouldn't want to rob you of the genuine reaction of seeing it in the theater. I will say that while I didn't see it coming (pardon the pun), I enjoyed the twist for what it was.

While I haven't seen him in much, Guy Pearce was well done as Aldrich Killian. The only real thing I have to compare against was his performance in "Lawless" and that is a completely different beast. In "Lawless" Pearce plays a corrupt law man with an obvious phobia of germs and a questionable sexual orientation and in "Iron Man 3" Pearce's Killian couldn't care less about germs and is very obvious where his orientation lies. It was relatively obvious what his character arc would be at a certain point in the movie, even at the beginning which took us back to the year 1999 and showed us the true origin of what made Stark who he is. Despite the obviousness of it, I enjoyed Killian as a character, especially the climax of the film involving him, Stark, and Potts.

Tony Stark and Pepper Potts. Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow. Could there be two other actors that have become, both literally and figuratively, their characters? The argument could be made for Hemsworth as Thor (more specifically come this November) Ruffalo as The Hulk, or Evans as Steve Rogers, but neither of those characters are here, only mentioned indirectly. "Iron Man 3" is the fourth time we've seen Downey and Paltrow as Stark and Potts respectively and they are unmitigated in their performances. Downey has never been better as the genius, billionaire, playboy, and philanthropist we have come to love and his performance in "Iron Man 3" takes us back to what made us fall in love with him the first time around.

Gwyneth falls into the same category that Guy Pearce has; I can count on one hand the movies I've seen her in and funnily enough those have all been Marvel movies. Since her debut in 2008's "Iron Man" we've seen both Gwyneth and Pepper grow substantially from the demur babysitter, for lack of a better term, to the love interest of our hero and someone who can kick [Squirrel!] when it's needed. Looking back on it now (I plan to sit down and rewatch both Iron Man movies soon) it has been a very interesting and enjoyable ride for her character from then up to the point we're at now. I've become more aware of the future of Iron Man, Tony Stark, and Pepper Potts and while I would love to see both characters return (with their original actors, mind you) I wouldn't be opposed to "Iron Man 3" being the send off for the both of them. Granted it will be bittersweet and I don't readily believe that Downey and Paltrow are done quite yet; we were told by the man himself that "Tony Stark will return." All that matters now is in what capacity.

The only other performances worth mentioning are those of Jon Favreau and Don Cheadle as Happy Hogan and Colonel James Rhodes respectively. Rebecca Hall was nice as Maya Hansen, but nothing ever moved her from that spot throughout the course of the movie. I did feel a twinge of sadness with how her character was dealt with, but put that aside as quickly as Tony apparently did.

This time around both Favreau and Cheadle are well used to their characters, so much so that in the case of Cheadle and the "controversy" surrounding his replacing Terrence Howard, I didn't think of Howard once during "Iron Man 3". Cheadle has become that enjoyable and believable as James Rhodes. Both characters had their funny moments in a movie where the comedy was both surprising and downright welcomed. There is a particular moment that involved Stark, Rhodes and the latter's desire for a new suit that never fails to bring a smile to my face.

As for the story, I was relatively familiar with the "Extremis" story arc by Warren Ellis; I knew it involved another super soldier serum and Tony being able to "call" his armor to him", but I'm by no means a die-hard Marvel fan who knows every in an out of these stories. Well before "Iron Man 3" was released I did some research into Extremis and what it could possibly lead to. And while we didn't see the After-Credits scene I would have preferred, there is still a reasonable possibility that we could see the creation of Ultron. I know it could be a little far fetched, but you never know with Marvel these days.

Before I forget, the action scenes in "Iron Man 3" were just great, especially the mid-air rescue scene. Come to think of it, that scene is one of my favorites from any Marvel movie because that was actually done with parachuting stuntmen and women, not just the unfortunately expected overuse of the green screen. And the final act... oh boy that final act... When I saw Tony nod towards two far-off points of light that were rapidly approaching him and Rhodey and when all of those suits flew in I had the same reaction as when I first saw that moment in the trailer: Pure, unadulterated fun. Seeing all of the different types of suits that Tony had created during his time as an insomniac and what they could do now with the progress that their creator had made was just awesome. That reminds me of another great moment involving the Mark 42 suit and Tony's rather disappointed reaction to its arrival.

As is my usual custom, I'm listening to the soundtrack for "Iron Man 3" as I type this. Bryan Tyler has done a wonderful job at infusing a great level of emotion into each track, be it thrilling and action-packed or melancholy and thought provoking. If you haven't heard it yet, I would seriously recommend you acquire it for yourself very soon.

It is unclear what exactly the future holds for the continuation of this series, but until the point comes where we find out for certain what will become of Tony Stark/Iron Man we can all enjoy the success that was and is "Iron Man 3". (I was going to attempt a reference to a "deep" line that Killian said at some point during the movie, but I can't recall what it was exactly.) At least until the point when "Thor: The Dark World" comes out.

This was a review by tMG. I'd thank you for reading but I can't help but think... where's my sandwich?

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