Running Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
The latest installment in the Iron Man franchise opens with a scene from Tony Stark’s past that shows us that the careless and insensitive way he used to live has sowed the seeds of his destruction. Present-day Tony seems to finally be settled into his life. He lives with Pepper, is universally adored as a hero and is still being hailed as a genius for his cutting edge technologies. But even though he thinks he has everything he wants, he is still missing peace of mind. Sleepless and anxiety-ridden in the aftermath of the alien attack in New York, he is caught unawares by an insidious new terrorist known as The Mandarin. The Mandarin has been taunting the President of the United States with his brash and violent attacks, finally attracting the attention of Iron Man when a bombing injures someone close to Tony. Tony underestimates The Mandarin, is dealt a crippling blow and when a figure from his past reappears, Iron Man may have finally met his match.
With all the pre-release chatter about how the studio was planning on using this film to reshape the Iron Manfranchise into a heavier, darker and more emotional movie reminiscent of the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight Trilogy, I was nervous. These movies are successful because of Robert Downey Jr.’s rascally charm. His Tony Stark is a cocksure, swaggering, one-man charm offensive who exults in his heroics. Thankfully, Iron Man 3 keeps the humor that has been the signature of this franchise, setting it apart from most other super-hero movies. Downey is terrific again and Paltrow is given a lot more to do as Pepper Potts providing the movie with two great anchors. The additions of Ben Kingsley, Rebecca Hall and Guy Pearce make this the strongest cast of the three, as well as giving Downey some worthy foils to play against. Maybe the best scenes in the movie are between Downey and Ty Simpkins, a kid who helps out Tony Stark when he is at his lowest point.
Iron Man 3 is as fun, clever and bombastic as I was hoping it would be, but there are a few story points that were missing for me. A hero can only be as great as the villain he overcomes, and I felt that this movie doesn’t develop the villains enough to make you feel like they would be a real threat to Iron Man. Add that to a couple of holes in the plot and you get a movie that is really good but slightly flawed. B+
There are a number of weaknesses in the Iron Man movie; gaping holes in the plot, inconsistencies in the story, and a few illogical sequences. However, action movies are designed to be enjoyed, not critically analyzed. I found Iron Man 3 to be a thrilling, funny and thoroughly entertaining movie. Robert Downey Jr. does not disappoint as the arrogant Tony Stark. Even in his darkest moments his humor is as piercing as ever. I appreciated that the writers decided to beef up the role of Pepper Potts and only wish there was more of Paltrow in the movie. Iron Man 2 was a huge disappointment for me and so I am thrilled that this third episode brought back the fun of the original. A-
One word of caution save the money and skip the 3-D option. I was once again disappointed that the 3-D effects did not elevate the entertainment of the movie.