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Iron Man 3

May 4, 2013

Iron Man 3 movie poster

Shane Black + Robert Downey Jr. + a character driven standalone script = A wonderful film that will undoubtedly make a billion dollars and keep the Marvel train rolling.

Iron Man 3 is a breath of fresh air and fantastic way to start off Marvel’s phase two. In 2008 Iron Man exploded onto the screen and surprised everybody. It was funny, exhilarating, critically loved (93% RT) and made Robert Downey Jr. a superstar. It was the perfect way to introduce the world to Marvel’s characters while setting a high bar for quality. The grounded in reality script appealed to the mainstream which allowed Marvel to wisely introduce small doses of cosmic forces in Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Avengers and now Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant Man. 

I was stoked when I heard Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) was directing the newest Iron Man installment. I knew the script would be a breezy blast of humor, action and snark. It wouldn’t stick to traditional narrative and most likely annoy comic enthusiasts. Black rejuvenated RDJ’s career with his role on KKBB (you have to see it now!) and Iron Man 1 & 2 director Jon Favreau fought to bring in the historically troubled funny man for the role of Tony Stark. The gamble paid off and the result is over two billion dollars at the box office and home video. RDJ made $50 million for The Avengers and with IR3 already accumulating $450 million worldwide the investment seems like a smart and expensive one.

What I appreciate about Iron Man 3 is that it doesn’t phone it in. It doesn’t make the mistake of bigger is better. Instead, it scales down at certain moments and allows for Downey Jr. and crew to embrace their characters and provide levity amongst the CGI. You will love Don Cheadle’s password and the hilarious henchmen. IM 3 takes chances with the comic book story, has genuine surprises and effective bad guys. What the first two Iron Man films were lacking were threatening villains. Thor has Loki. Captain America had Red Skull and the Winter Soldier.  Iron Man was threatened by an angry bald dude, a heavy breathing Mickey Rourke and the always hilarious but never menacing Sam Rockwell . Also, both films ended with action scenes full of CGI robots and underwhelming results. The finale of this film is an intelligent masterstroke of character and plot development despite the stock shipyard setting.

The bad guys in the film are memorable, surprising and threatening to the Stark world. Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, James Badge Dale and several henchmen get multiple scenes to shine yet are not evil enough to justify the Avenger’s reassembling. Thus, it is believable that Downey jr. Cheadle and Paltrow are left to battle the threat while spouting wonderful dialogue and looking good.

Guy Pearce

I won’t give away the surprises of Iron Man 3 because it would wreck the ride. The movie is an unpretentious blast of summer movie air. Let’s hope the movie going public doesn’t get bored with these films because there is a lot of gold to mined from the Marvel universe.

Watch the film. Don’t dig too deep. Don’t be annoyed by the shipyard battle. Hope Downey Jr. will be back in The Avengers 2.

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