Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson
Robert Downey Jr. … Tony Stark/Iron Man
Guy Pearce … Aldrich Killian
Ben Kingsley … The Mandarin
Gwyneth Paltrow … Pepper Potts
Rebecca Hall … Maya Hansen
Paul Bettany … Jarvis (voice)
Don Cheadle … James Rhodes/War Machine
Jon Favreau … Happy Hogan
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|Distributor||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
“Prepare for a heavy metal!”
Last summer, “The Avengers” raced to movie history, becoming the second highest grossing film of all time. The stellar results of that collaborative effort are directly related to the success of the first Avenger film, “Iron Man”. Taking a lesser known comic book character and transforming him into a billion dollar franchise single-handedly propelled The Avengers into the stratosphere. There were several reasons that Iron Man was so successful, and those reasons are still true in “Iron Man 3”, an excellent entry into the comic book series that will undoubtedly result in the continuing success of the Avenger franchise.
In “Iron Man 2”, our hero Tony Stark faced a standard bad guy with his sights set on standard bad-guy things. That plot resulted in a movie that could also be characterized as “standard”. This is not the case, however, for this current installment in the series. While the plot is shrouded in a great deal of secrecy, suffice it to say that The Mandarin is no standard bad guy. In fact, we don’t even know what exactly The Mandarin is after. All we know is that he is terrorizing the world, and Tony Stark has had enough. The series of events that follows delves deeper into the character and history of Tony Stark, while also revealing plenty of plot twists along the way.
As far as third movies in a series go, “Iron Man 3” is top notch. Instead of sticking with a formulaic script, new director Shane Black (“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”) flips the genre on its head by providing viewers with some interesting plot revelations. Some of these story decisions may anger loyal fans of the comics, but the film has an undeniably fresh feel to it. In some spots, the film felt like an old-fashioned buddy comedy instead of a superhero movie, which should come as no surprise as director Black is famous for writing the “Lethal Weapon” films. This installment is easily the funniest of the three films while also delving deeper into Stark’s psyche.
The cast of the film is excellent as well. Robert Downey Jr. is as advertised in the role, showcasing why these movies continue to be successful. New additions to the cast include Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin, Guy Pearce as mysterious businessman Aldrich Killian, and Rebecca Hall as one of Stark’s old flames, Maya Hansen. All cast members, new and old, serve their roles well.
The content in “Iron Man 3” is average for a Marvel movie. There are a few scenes featuring scantily clad women, but the sexuality is held to a minimum. A few minor profanities pop up, and there is plenty of violence. While the violence is constant, it’s mostly bloodless and implied.
The most interesting aspect of the Iron Man franchise has always been its spiritual parallels. Some have said the first film has symbolism alluding to the salvation experience. Stark, the billionaire playboy who thinks of no one but himself, realizes the error of his ways and finds new meaning in life. The second film could be construed as the sanctification process, as Stark finds it hard to stay humble with his newfound powers. If you subscribe to this series of illustrations, the third film in the series could easily be seen as glorification. There is a comparison made in the film of Stark being in a cocoon and coming out a changed man, therefore completing the process. While no one would mistake these films for “Christian” movies, it’s interesting and uplifting to see these positive themes in a big-budget blockbuster.
While the rest of the Avenger cast has settled for one individual story each, Tony Stark is already on his third, and with good reason. This film will be an instant hit with Iron Man aficionados, while also satisfying fans who are just waiting for “The Avengers 2”. Funny, exciting, and different, “Iron Man 3” delivers the requisite goods, and then some. “Iron Man” continues be the standard bearer for comic movies of the last decade.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
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