Iron Man 3 Directed by: Shane Black Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Don Cheadle Running Time: 2 hr 10 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: May 3, 2013
PLOT: A terrorist known as the Mandarin (Kingsley) threatens America and brings the fight to Tony Stark (Downey Jr.). Now Stark must find a way to save Pepper (Paltrow), while also trying to rebuild Iron Man.
WHO'S IT FOR? If you like your superhero films able to jump around between serious, humor and action, you'll be happy with the results of Iron Man 3.
Just like Chumbawamba wants us to, Tony Stark gets knocked down, and gets up again. It's the variety of ways that Tony gets back up, from the getting knocked down, that keeps Iron Man 3 fresh, fun and a really good third.
Quick, name all of the good part three superhero films. That's right, up until now there was only one — The Dark Knight Rises. In that film, we spend a lot of time with Bruce Wayne, and not that much with Batman. Here, we spend a lot of time with Tony Stark, and not that much with Iron Man. I'm very happy with the results.
Tony can't sleep since he discovered there were aliens and almost died (the events from The Avengers). This makes sense, and it's really nice that they actually blend those events so seamlessly into this world. He tinkers with his (really cool) toys in his basement. Once again he finds an absolutely awesome way to put on a new suit of armor. During this process he's ignoring Pepper, and there are some events from '99 that come back to haunt him. He ignored some scientists, including Aldrich Killian (Pearce). This all comes to a head when a terrorist known as the Mandarin goes too far and makes things accidentally personal for Tony by injuring his trusty sidekick Happy (Jon Favreau). Bad guys come knocking on Tony's doorstep, things explode and all is lost ... for a little while, I mean, it's a superhero movie after all.
Tony ends up in small town U.S.A. and hanging out with a little kid named Harley (Ty Simpkins). While this sounds like an awful distraction, it gives this series a chance to do what it does best, which is make us laugh. It's the funniest superhero film, and it doesn't feel like it's pandering. It's able to be serious, then allow us to chuckle, and that's the power of Downey, Jr. and now Black. They worked so well together in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, and that continues here. In fact, all of the moments with Tony out of the costume were the best of the series. There's a time when he and Rhodes (Cheadle) are suddenly looking like two detectives in over their heads, and I immediately thought I'd like to see that movie as well. No costumes required.
While some purists may be upset with what they do with Iron Man suits, the Mandarin, and Pepper, I was constantly delighted with the film. Sometimes the movie is a little convient when dealing with computer files, transportation, and a "House Party" command that could have been used A LOT sooner. These are all things you shake off because there is enough pep to easily push those moments out of your mind while you are watching this big screen spectacle. Again, while those who love the comic books might be upset how Kingsely's Mandarin is utilized, once I got used to the odd tone in his voice, I was on board. Plus, Aldrich proves to be a really good baddie as the guy behind the guy.
I thought the individual Marvel films might seem insignificant after The Avengers. That's not the case. The big moments are still there. The giant action sequences are still there. More importantly Robert Downey Jr. is still there. Tony Stark says he is Iron Man, but I think we just see Downey Jr. strutting his stuff, and I'm OK with that. Downey Jr. fits Iron Man like a glove ... that blows things up.
This is a really nice upturn after the misfire that was Iron Man 2. Having Tony dealing with the stress of being a superhero, with his world crumbling, was a great call. Upping the humor was an even better decision by Black and company. Now we have two superhero thirds that are worth our time.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10