Iron Man 3

Walt Disney presents Iron Man 3

“Threat is eminent, and I have to protect the one thing that I can’t live without. That’s you.”

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Picking up where The Avengers left off, Iron Man 3 finds Tony Stark in the clutches of post-traumatic stress from which he is often physically, emotionally debilitated.  Pepper Potts has moved into Tony’s Malibu mansion and it’s clear Tony is struggling in the aftermath of the events that took place in New York.  But, when a new threat arises in the shape of The Mandarin, everything Tony holds dear will be put in the balance.  Will he be up to the Mandarin’s challenge or is this the end for Iron Man?

Iron Man 3 is directed by Shane Black and stars Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Don Cheadle as War Machine/Rhodes, Guy Pearce as Killian, Jon Favreau as Happy, and Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin.

Walt Disney presents Iron Man 3

After the first two installments of the Iron Man franchise, it’s clear that everyone attached is going to bring a high caliber energy and polish to future projects.  So, when the Iron Man 3 begins to roll, everyone in the audience has a set of standards and expectations.

I’m no different.

After Iron Man was released, I saw it several times in the theater.  I was so intoxicated by the origin story and just completely blown away by the look and spectacle of it.  This was a super hero film unlike any other up to that time.  The protagonist was a real man, flawed by his arrogance, laziness, and privilege.  Forced to fight for his life, Stark faces some serious demons and comes out the other side of it a changed man.

As Tony struggles with PTSD in Iron Man 3, there is a sense of returning to some of the original themes of internal struggle and the examination of personal responsibility.

I doubt anyone will argue that Robert Downey Jr. hasn’t come a million miles from his Less Than Zero days.  But, as Tony Stark it’s clear that Downey Jr. has found a home.  Everything the man does exudes a sort of eccentricity and softness that is well-suited to the man behind the iron mask.

Walt Disney presents Iron Man 3

With the introduction of Killian (Pearce) and the Mandarin (Kingsley), the terrorism vein of the Iron Man milieu is renewed or solidified.  My gripe here is that Guy Pearce, whose overacting has marred several of his more recent projects including Prometheus, Lockout, and The King’s Speech, is immediately recognizable.  There are actors that disappear into their roles and completely embody the character they’re playing.  Then, there’s Guy Pearce.  He doesn’t really shine until the last ten minutes of the film when he’s getting a beat down.  Until then, if you’re like me, you’ll just have to grit your teeth and bare it when he’s onscreen.

Ben Kingsley, on the other hand, proves again that he is a consummate performer.  As the Mandarin, he is simultaneously terrifying and hilarious.  As the plot’s central threat, you’d think he’d have more screen time but his absence is equally as important in an effort to create fear and dread, the imminent sense of danger from which Tony Stark cannot escape.

Walt Disney presents Iron Man 3

It’s true that Iron Man 3 meanders a bit, but I don’t think fans of the franchise are going to mind being in a theater with Stark, Pepper Potts, and the rest of their favorite characters for 130 minutes.  I didn’t, and I have a low tolerance for films that run long without good cause.  There are, in my opinion, several scenes that could have been excised with little to no need to rework the remainder of the film for clarity or continuity’s sake.  I digress.  Consider it getting your money’s worth – after all, it’s not as if you’re going to be bored.  Iron Man 3 is jam packed with the Marvel-requisite amount of action.

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The real surprise of Iron Man 3 is Pepper Potts.  What the filmmakers have done this time around in developing her role really gives the film, and the franchise as a result, a place to go.  Without running the risk of giving away too many spoilers, it’s true that Pepper’s role is to save Tony – metaphorically and literally.  For the first time, you will get to see a woman wear the suit of Iron Man – repeatedly – and it’s freaking awesome.

As Pepper, Gwyneth Paltrow (this year’s ‘most beautiful‘) turns in a performance that is brutally strong and fiercely willed without sacrificing her femininity.  The filmmaker’s have helped create a character that is intelligent, beautiful, resourceful, and willing to fight for what she loves.  I think it’s true that Potts emerges as the true heroine of Iron Man 3, which is a delight.

Iron Man 3 feels like an ending, despite the words “Tony Stark will return” being displayed in grand James Bond fashion at the very end of the title credits.  Be sure to stick around for it, and for the short scene between Stark and Bruce Banner that will roll after the credits.

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Walt Disney presents Iron Man 3

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Iron Man 3 Trailer:

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Gwyneth Paltrow interview:

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Iron Man 3 Featurette:

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Iron Man 3 Featurette on Extremis:

there's more to explore

Official site: Iron Man 3

Wiki facts: Iron Man 3

Is Iron Man 3 rotten or fresh?

How did Iron Man 3 do at the box office?

Iron Man 3 IMGUR

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Related: check out the Iron Man mash-up by Mike Relm

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5 responses to “Iron Man 3

  1. Great review. You liked it more than I did but we mostly liked the same things. I loved Ben Kingsley and sort of hated Guy Pearce. Yes, I think Pepper Potts is a good character but I’m afraid I just can’t look past it being Gwyneth Paltrow. Poor woman – I’ve always disliked her for probably no good reason… 😉

    • Do you know when your Gwyneth Paltrow condition started? Was it during any particular film? 🙂

      Part of the reason I think I liked IM3 (not loved, but certainly liked) was that I took my brother to see it. Sometimes the company/audience makes a big difference when I see a film in the theater. My brother brings a certain enthusiasm to the things he relents to doing. I absolutely detested Guy Pearce. I kept thinking – with all the options in Hollywood, why did they pick him? That makes me wonder who would have been better in the role. Thoughts?

      • Hehe. Gwyneth Paltrow condition… To be honest I think it wasn’t a role, I think it was real life interviews years ago. I remember her saying Americans wouldn’t “get” Sliding Doors. It wasn’t exactly complicated! And I hate Coldplay. Lol! When I really don’t like someone in real life I have a hard time turning that off when I watch them acting. Have a hard time with Tom Cruise movies too. Sometimes I wish we could go back to the old days when celebrities were mysterious and not tweeting & doing reality shows & telling us way too much about themselves, etc. Sorry for that long answer. ;o)

        As for someone else doing the Guy Pearce role, I’m not sure who may have been better. I think the main problem is that I thought the character was just a bit of a rubbish villain so it’s probably not all his fault. Someone who really went for it & hammed up that role a bit may have been better.

      • Loved your long comment on the “Gwyn Condition” – and I couldn’t agree with you more. I love a bit of mystery. That’s why I can’t stand to listen to or read or watch interviews with my favorite musicians anymore – I’m almost always disappointed. Acting doesn’t really require the audience to know anything about a given actor – it’s beautiful that way.

        I think I would have looked at some less well known character actors for Guy Pearce’s role – I mean, with a cast that’s already established in the third film of a franchise, you could have taken a risk, I think and maybe gotten a bit more. Maybe someone *like* Tom Hollander or Tom Hardy (for the sheer muscle mass similarity to Pearce)…

      • Oh yeah – I would certainly have preferred a Tom Hardy-type! And better to look at, too. 🙂 Yeah, it’s rare that famous people come across as really great people in interviews & things… It’s very disappointing when someone you like turns out to be a wanker!

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