Review – Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 Poster

Predestined to be one of the biggest films of the summer, Iron Man 3 is not only third film featuring the current favorite Marvel character (and trying to redeem the series after a mediocre second entry), but the first followup to the incredibly successful Avengers film and the official launch of Marvel’s “Phase 2” in their cinematic universe.

The extra-terrestrial events in New York City caused more damage than streets and buildings, as the Avengers incident has left Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) with a broken psyche.  Prone to panic attacks and insomnia, he occupies himself by incessantly tinkering and thinking about how best to protect the person he cares about most – Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).  When his favorite bodyguard, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is nearly killed in an apparent terrorist attack, what was previously just an American problem becomes personal as Tony issues a challenge to the illusive terrorist, The Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley).  Don Cheadle reprises his role as War Machine (now The Iron Patriot) and Guy Pearce is Aldrich Killian, a scientist with a chip on his shoulder.  Ty Simpkins and Rebecca Hall also co-star.

Potential spoilers abound, including where the character of Iron Man is left at the end of this film.  I won’t be giving anything away here, but those wanting to go into the movie without knowing the details surrounding Pepper Potts, Tony Stark, and The Mandarin would do best to avoid reading too much news about the movie.  Suffice to say, a lot happens in this movie that opens some doors and shuts others in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it will be interesting to see how these things affect the eventual Avengers 2.

Despite the fact that this is an Iron Man movie, it is going to be the supporting cast that gets the most talk when the lights go up.  Kingsley’s reinterpretation of The Mandarin is brilliant, thought sure to be controversial – especially for comic book purists.  Paltrow steals more than her share of scenes, and when you’re opposite RDJ, that’s certainly saying something.  One of the surprise stars is young Ty Simpkins, whose character’s chemistry with Tony Stark is spot on, reminding us that not all child actors are Jake Lloyd Webber.

It’s not that RDJ is off his game, it’s just that the supporting cast plays off him so well and really pulls off some surprising performances that are quite memorable.  It’s a good thing that everyone is on their A game since this third Iron Man installment is a bit reflective of The Dark Knight Rises, in that Tony Stark is more often himself than his superhero alter-ego.  That might be somewhat disappointing if it wasn’t for the fact that here Tony Stark is much more interesting than Bruce Wayne.  Snarky zingers fly through the air just about as often as mechanical suits and there is never a boring moment.

Some early reviews have gone so far as to say that this is the best super hero movie you have ever seen and that it even blows The Avengers away.  I don’t know if I would go that far.  It is miles better than Iron Man 2, that is for sure.  I might even say it is better than the first one, though I think that movie holds a special place in the heart of most comic book movie fans.  The Avengers had something special, bringing together so many other characters from other loved movies into one movie that was in and of itself spectacular, even outside of comic book movie standards.  Iron Man 3 feels a little bit lonely without Thor, Cap, and the rest of them.  (Highlight for minor spoiler)  Nick Fury doesn’t even make an appearance!  It is a fantastic action packed super hero movie.  It doesn’t quite have the magic of The Avengers, but is nonetheless a promising start to Marvel’s Phase Two.

Mrs Hamster Says:

“It might as well have been called “Tony Stark 3,” or “Robert Downey Jr. 3″ for the amount that Iron Man was on screen.  But it’s okay since he’s just as entertaining without the suit on.”

My Rating:  Four out of Five Hats

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Trailer:

Iron Man 3 opens May 3 in 2D, IMAX, and 3D in 4,000 theaters