Iron Man 3
What He said:
At the end of the first Iron Man, Tony Stark
(Robert Downey Jr.) confesses
that he is indeed the masked superhero Iron Man. It’s kind of
funny that the character declared that because RJD (I can
call him that because we’re friends) has since shown – in both
the Iron Man franchise and The Avengers –
hereally does embody what the character is all about. It’s one
of the biggest strengths of the series. Besides the fact that
he’s a good actor, I think one of the reasons RJD is able to
portray Stark so well is because they have a lot in common.
Stark is a very flawed man. He drinks too much, fears
commitment, and is this odd mix of a recluse and a social
butterfly. He likes to party and ham it up for the crowd, but
at the end of the day he wants to be left alone and
concentrate on his work. RJD has had some well-documents
substance abuse problems in the past. I think it’s a safe to
assume he might draw some inspiration from his real life
experiences and apply them to this character.
Iron Man 3 takes place after The
Avengers. For those of you who don’t know, Stark almost
died while fending off the invading alien forces. Alongwith
the rest of the Avengers, he was able to defeat them, but at a
cost. It would appear that as a result of his near death
experience Stark is suffering from PTSD,
or at the very least some very severe panic attacks. So how
does he respond to this trauma? He starts working more and
more...and more. He has completely immersed himself in his
work and created several new Iron man suits. This has created
friction with his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow),
who also happens to be the CEO of Star Industries.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has been the target of a string of
terrorist attacks committed by a man who calls himself the
Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). He has been setting of bombs that
the strangely enough leave behind almost no trace of their
existence. Tony is aware of these events, but is dealing
with his own issues, plus his buddy Colonol James Rhodes (Don
Cheadle) told him not to interfere. He and the rest of the
military think this is a U.S. problem, not an Iron Man
problem. But when his longtime friend and bodyguard Happy
Hogan (Jon Favreau) is injured in one of these attacks, Stark
forces himself to deal with anxiety and try to put an end to
this madman’s reign.
He publicly issues a challenge to the Mandarin and boy
does he answer. He lays waste to Tony’s house and whoops his
ass in the process. Stark ends up taking refuge in a small
town in Tennessee, where he meets a precocious kid named
Harley (Ty Simpkins). He annoys and inspires Stark all at the
same time. The interactions between the two are quite
amusing. This kid was one of those characters that meets a
down on their luck protagonist just the right time to save
the day, and this young actor really delivered that. This kid
was funny and Downey Jr. was funny with him.
Considering he was a kid and this was a PG-13 comic
book flick rather than an R-rated 80s buddy cop flick, the movie was able
to replicate that feel quite successfully.
That same feel would also come again later when Stark
teams up with Rhodes to take down the bad guys. I was really
happy to see them use Rhodes (also known as the Iron Patriot)
more this movie. Cheadle and RJD have good chemistry together
and I hope to see the two work together in future
So anyway, while trying to track down the Mandarin, Stark
encounters this other guy named Aldrich Killian. Killian
(Pearce) the owner of his own company who is seeking a
partnership with Stark, but is angered when Stark Industries
– now run by Pepper Potts – turns him down. He is also a
former colleague of Pepper’s and has always had a thing for
There are a few jokes that fail and times when the action
can get a little excessive/repetitive – which often happens
in sequels – but overall I found the movie to be very funny
and also had some great action sequences. RJD is absolutely
hilarious as Stark. He’s a reformed jerk. He used to be a
much bigger jerk, but has come a long way from his pre-Iron
Man days. He’s still cocky and brash, but a lot more likeable
now. That’s just kind of who Tony Stark is and RJD portrays
that perfectly. As I mentioned, there’s some action
scenes that are good fun. The attack on Starks home was
simply awesome and the final fight when they bring in all the
different suits of armor was fantastic to see. It also helps
that this series has usually had some very good effects. There
are some bad special effects these days. Studios are using
CGI more- and more and sometimes it looks awful. Not in the
Iron Man movies.
The supporting cast was also solid. It was great seeing
Cheadle get more screen time, Tony and Pepper’s relationship
continues to grow and face new problems, Jon Favreau has added
a lot of comedic value as the series has progressed, and Guy
Pearce was a solid villain. Oh and I thought the direction
they took the Mandarin’s character was rather brilliant. I
didn’t see them going that direction, but it paid off. It’s a
drastic change from the comic book character and that might
piss off the diehards, but it entertained me.
This wasn’t as good as the first movie, but better from
the second from what I remember; though I now want to
re-watch them both. I’m very interested in seeing where they
go with the character in the next Avengers movie,
now that the Iron Man character is done with his own movies.
Rating: Thumbs up.
This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on
May 6, 2013.
What She said:
As a movie trilogy drags on I typically begin to feel a
sense of dread. It goes without saying that the second
movie will never be as good as the first, and the big
question with the third is whether it will make up some of
the ground lost with the second flick. So, Iron Man
just entered the world of movie trilogies, with its third
installment opening the summer blockbuster season this
weekend. While the movie felt somewhat stale by
comparison to the first, it did offer more laughs and thrills
than the second installment in the series.
The movie reintroduces us to billionaire genius Tony
Stark, played by Robert Downey, Jr. Stark is still
reeling from his big adventure with the Avengers, and is
troubled by the fact the a wormhole opened to another
world. This all translates into him having nightmares
and not being able to sleep. Credit to Stark, he doesn't
drown his sorrows with a vice like alcohol. Instead, he
devotes himself to something that is arguably much more
destructive, his iron men. He's secretly creating a
stash of them. Plus, he can now control the suits
remotely, which means he doesn't put himself directly into
danger. As Stark spends his nights as a doomsday
prepper, he ignores the thing that is probably most important
to him Pepper Potts, reprised by Gwyneth Paltrow. She,
meanwhile, seems to think the answer to his problems is a nice
But there is no escaping this latest bad guy. The
Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) pops up and begins randomly attacking
the country. He's your stereotypical-looking terrorist
type, long scraggly beard and all. And he's using some
sort of super dangerous explosive technology to bomb
people. This all hits too close to home when Stark's
trusty bodyguard, Happy (Jon Favreau) gets caught in one of
the explosions and is left in a coma. Stark vows
revenge upon the Mandarin, but he underestimates the power of
the Mandarin's regime.
Now, you'd think that would be the extent of it, but it's
not. We have a second major villain at play here, one
that Stark first crossed paths with 13 years prior, and that's
scientist Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). Stark blew him
off at the time, more concerned with bagging the girl than any
new science, and believe me, Killian has not forgotten.
He initially wants Stark's company as an investor in his
Extremis superhuman body regeneration technology, but when
he's denied a second time he becomes more vengeful.
I don't want to give too much away but know that we've got
the Mandarin blowing things up while these Terminator-like
superhumans are walking around beating the snot out of
people. Oh, and it seems they can breathe fire too.
Bottom line, all is not what it seems here, and that will
quickly become apparent.
So, let's start with the good. Downey, Jr. is Tony
Stark, and he will always be amazing at playing the
role. He seems to really invest himself in the part,
and because of this he can do a lot with the character even
when he doesn't have much to work with. I'm not saying
that to criticize the storyline of the movie, but Iron Man
3 does clearly have some plot holes. Downey, Jr.
works hard to make up for this, and the charm and humor he
brings to the character is spot on. Likewise, Guy Pearce
seems very committed to his role, and while he's initially a
little hokey, he ultimately comes through as a decent baddie.
Iron Man 3 is also privileged to have some really
good special effects. That seems funny to have to point
out in this day and age, but it's surprising how many
cartoonish action movies there are out there. You
also could never fault this movie for being slow or
boring. The action and explosions keep coming
Now to the bad. I just don't like Gwyneth Paltrow as
Pepper Potts. Maybe I just don't like her, but I feel
like in this third installment in particular her character has
been reduced to something annoyingly one dimensional. I
wish they would have done more with her. In the same
vein, I was sort of back and forth with the Mandarin's
character. I like what they ended up doing with him
because for the first half of the movie, I thought he would
go down as one of the worst villains ever. The goofy
accent that Kingsley gave him made him look like a Middle
Eastern terrorist but sound like a Midwest cattle
rancher. Ultimately, he's not a fail because of how he
turns out, but even when all is revealed I wonder if they
could have just simplified things and eliminated the character
entirely. Even so, I appreciated him and his voice as
an indirect nod to last year's abomination of a villain-voice,
The Dark Knight's Bane.
Iron Man 3 unfortunately suffers from some
superficial action--you know the kind that seems meaningless
and excessive. I'll use the Barrel of Monkeys skydive
scene as an example of the exploitive nature of this type of
action. You'll know it she you see it. This scene
in particular strikes me as one of those brainiac ideas that
someone came up with in the shower and decided to give it a
shot just to see if they could.
Some of the topics I would have liked to have seen further
explored are Stark's PTSD and the Avengers wormhole.
They made a point of bringing both up several times, but
never expanded upon them, which was frustrating. I
think I was particularly interested in any update on the
Avengers in general but I was hoping this movie would offer
some sort of bridge into the next one of those flicks.
It leaves me wondering how the next Thor and
Captain America might address this.
But back to Iron Man 3. The movie has its
ups and downs to be certain, but it's still summer
blockbuster harmless fun. Generally, despite its flaws,
I liked the movie. Downey, Jr. continues to embody Tony
Stark, and brings lots of personality to the character.
I'm grateful that this film wasn't a complete bomb, circa
Spiderman 3. Thumbs mostly up.