POSTING BY JB MADDAWG
I had stopped doing official movie reviews a few years ago, for the simple fact that going to the movies was no longer fun for me. It became an overpriced experience that I had to share with some jerk coughing out popcorn kernels in the row behind me, all to see a film I already knew was just aching to be projected for my disappointment. Yet, here I am, reviewing a movie.
I rolled the dice upon seeing Iron Man 3, being a former comic book collector and fan of several Marvel comic titles in my youth and knowing how bad it could turn out. As most fans of any superhero films will tell you, the third film is usually compete garbage. The cast is tired of playing the characters, some nobody takes over to direct and the screenwriters mail the effort in. Look no further than Spiderman 3, X-Men 3: The Last Stand and even The Dark Knight Rises to an extent to show the last one of the trilogy is probably going to spoil a few things for fans. Thankfully, it seems in this case, the folks behind the Iron Man franchise got the dismal one out-of-the-way on the last attempt. Iron Man 3 is not only a solid film, but also can be described as a word I no longer use for going to the movies: fun. Don’t worry kids, only some minor spoilers here.
A bit concerned with the beginning of the movie, I wasn’t prepared to hear Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) narrating the events in a flashback to 1999, no less. My eyes began rolling behind my cheap plastic 3D glasses as I began to wonder why I didn’t just go to a decent restaurant, instead of witnessing a full artistic change from the previous films. Yet, I hung in there, and the next two plus hours were well worth the opening scene. To say that the movie has the same feel of the other movies in the series is inaccurate. Due to events that unfold in the film, hero Stark is now pushed to the limits by a villain known only as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) and has to relocate to a small town in Tennessee, off the radar of the terrorist.
Stark befriends a local boy and the chemistry between the two plays well. Stark finds himself trying to solve a bit of a political mystery to topple this new foe, and is left with only his wits and abilities. Fans are treated to seeing just why Tony Stark is a superhero, as his suit sits idle on a dingy old couch in a garage, awaiting repair. Again, I was concerned that the “out of costume” Tony Stark would not be effective on-screen for the majority, but the script works well. Honestly, it was a breath of fresh air, for a series that depends on tech to sell the plot and it is more of an intelligent work. That’s not to say there wasn’t plenty of explosions, action and chaos to offset. It is indeed a well-balanced blockbuster meal, with equal portions of comic relief to fill in the spaces. There are also several scenes that will catch viewers off guard, so put away your cocky foreshadowing grins for this one.
Returning are Gwyneth Paltrow as girlfriend Pepper Potts and Don Cheadle as Col. James Rhodes. Both continue to work well with Downey Jr. and bring some good moments to the screen. Many fans had complained the last film had Paltrow screeching a bit too much, and she’s effectively dialed it down a bit for this time out. Cheadle is a solid actor and gets plenty of opportunities to shine outside of his newly painted suit, Iron Patriot.
The movie tacks away from many superhero films in that it is most certainly not a straight forward fight to the finish. And even as some of the baddies in the film really don’t have much depth, there is clear evidence thought was put forth to not treat viewers as morons. There is an enormous amount to take in, but at no time is the movie-goer treated as a child. I even found myself springing for the 3D version, something I never do, and it was well worth the experience. The film’s final battle and closing scenes are well-played and don’t disappoint. The ending really does hint at this being the finish for the series, and actually raises some interesting questions when Avengers 2 hits screens in 2015, since Iron Man is indeed part of that world as well. And yes, Iron Man fans and Avengers fans alike will want to stay to the end of the lengthy credits to see the “extra” scene, which goes out on a fine comedic note.
Overall, Iron Man 3 is well worth a moviegoers’ time, money and attention, which even children in the 10 and above age group could enjoy. Honestly, Hollywood may end up blowing another perfectly good blockbuster season, but if so, it certainly won’t be the fault of Iron Man 3. Go see it. Twice.