Iron Man 3: Movie Review

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Could Robert Downey, Jr. have nailed the Iron Man/Tony Stark role if his career hadn’t derailed with drug abuse?  Maybe.  He certainly had ample winning credits.  But there’s a looseness to his attitude that, scripted puns or not, makes me think these movies are for more Downey, Jr. than Marvel character.

Anyway, I place this movie as second best in the franchise, if franchise is the proper term to capture the essence of “world currency.”  As of yesterday, it had taken in one million dollars.

Excuse me, one BILLION dollars.

The movie is essentially a star vehicle for Downey, Jr., because it cannot achieve expectations without him (as opposed to the many failed Batmans).  The guiding theme of the movie is whether the man makes the suit or the suit makes the man.

  • The movie benefits from a number of things:

    More screen time for Pepper Potts. I hope she returns with a super power of her own.
  • Great special effects.
  • An adversary who isn’t played by Mickey Rourke.
  • A plot that keeps its tension but takes its time.
  • A great, great performance by Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin, benefitted by great writing.
  • Special effects... but that’s kind of expected, even if the studio did think of going cheap on this one before going all in.
  • Robert Downey, Jr., who I’d imagine is impossible to insert into any film going forward without stealing any scene.

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The negatives?  Depends on your viewpoint.

  • I prefer that Iron Man actually fly inside his suit.  It makes sense if he doesn’t have to, but it risks making the action scenes a shell of what they used to be.
  • Wasting The Mandarin character as a joke, including the ten power rings that gave the comic character his source of power (plus a tie-in to the Avengers’ alien plot track).
  • It might help if the movie started with Iron Man kicking butt, like a James Bond intro, before falling into the particular miseries of the plot.
  • Stupid special effects.  I’m sure those that want their movies in 3D really enjoy the sizzle, but exploding extra Iron Men suits to provide a fireworks display, literally, is the nadir of 3D aspirations.

Sometimes I like to find moral takeaways from action flicks.  There were none to be found here.

So, what the kid inside of me liked, and probably what every pre-teen boy liked, was the notion that if you’re a kid and help someone, maybe they’ll fill your room with all sorts of high tech goodies in gratitude.  That stuff only happens in movies, though.  That’s why I opt for reality.

 4 of 5 STARS

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