Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
I saw 'Iron Man 3' in 3D.  I didn't want to, but it was the only show available, so I was forced to.  While movies that are post produced in 3D are generally lame, and I am on record for despising 3D movies in general, this one was one of the most worthless.  They didn't even have the common decency to make the credits come out in 3D.  Just me whining, and imploring you to save your extra dollars and not see this movie in blurry, worthless, 2nd pair of glasses wearing 3D.   That's all.  The movie itself, 3D issues aside?  Eh… it was okay.

After the situation in New York City a year back in 'The Avengers', Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is a bit of a mess.  We can't really blame him… Gods, Aliens, cosmic cubes, wormhole portals… it was a bit much even for an international genius and playboy the likes of Stark.  He can't sleep, he's prone to sudden panic attacks, he's not taking care of Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) the way a woman like that needs to be taken care of, and he spends his spare time building various versions of his Iron Man suits. 

Fortunately for us, because watching Stark pout is no fun, danger is on the way in the form of international terrorist The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) who is just causing all kinds of trouble around the world, and stateside for that matter, blowing stuff up with awesome bombs that leave behind no trace evidence.  After The Mandarin's last escapade caused Tony some personal grief, he let that evil dude know that tables are about to turned and Iron Man is about to get in that ass.  At least I guess that was the plan.  This evil dude doesn't take to threats lightly and a few missiles later to a posh beachside estate, Tony is short one hillside mansion and somehow finds himself in Indiana, or some state that starts and ends with a vowel that I can't remember, trying to get to the bottom of the deadly threat of the Mandarin.
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In addition to the Mandarin, there's also the issue of Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) a genius who has been harboring an intense dislike towards Stark for the last fifteen years, back when Tony was a certifiable jerk instead of the debatable jerk that he is today.  Aldrich has some fancy new tech he'd like Stark Industries to help him launch, which Pepper as acting CEO passes on, which I guess is a mistake… but not really.  I mean in hindsight this fancy tech seems to be ready already, and not in need of Stark Industries support, but there it is.

The Mandarin has a plan… bring the imperialistic infidels down their knees!  And the Mandarin has long green bankrolling this plan of his, and Iron Man is no where around.  But at least we do have the Iron Patriot and James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) on standby.  Oh, we really don't have him either.  A few months ago Iron Man was getting pummeled by Asgardian gods and turning out okay, today some guy who can make his hand hot is handing him and his iron clad best friend their collective butts.  What's up with that?

Surprises and twists are abound as Tony Stark… and we mean Tony Stark, not Iron Man… prepares to save the day.  And his super powered girlfriend.  It's complicated.

As most of us know, this version of Iron Man was directed by Shane Black and upon announcement that Mr. Black would be handling the directing duties for this movie, we were giddy excitement.  Shane Black has scripted some of the most important action movies ever made, and while he only had one directing credit before this one, this one credit was 'Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang' which was outstanding.  If you were to ask me.  This leaves me a little conflicted with 'Iron Man 3' because it is, unequivocally, a Shane Black movie so it is everything I expected it would be, but I was also a little disappointed.  Go figure.

What makes a Shane Black movie?  A certain style of humor, characters at odds with themselves, characters who are either physically or mentally tortured into toughness, and a good buddy repertoire, but done in a way that's unique to this filmmaker.  These things are all in 'Iron Man 3' and this is what separates 'Iron Man 3' from pretty much all of the superhero movies made to this point.  It's cleverer, it's more personal, and it's more character based which tends to make for a better overall movie.

But does it make for a better superhero movie?  Therein lies the rub.  Tony Stark having panic attacks, Tony Stark sulking, Tony Stark bonding with a cute kid, Tony Stark using his brain as opposed to repulsor rays to solve problems… I don't know.   Then the filmmakers started f'n with the Mandarin, and while I'm no Iron Man purist or anything, and it was funny where they went with it, but they did kind of screw up Iron Man's Joker, Lex Luthor, Green Goblin and Dr. Doom.  Then there's the symphony of Iron Man suits that you probably saw in the trailer, and this waters down the Iron Man mythos in that anybody, and I mean anybody can put on the suit and be an Iron Man.  Or heck, the suits don't even need anybody inside of them to be Iron Man for that matter.  There's no super hero magic in that. 

Ultimately Mr. Black has made more of a Tony Stark movie than an Iron Man movie and it was a good Tony Stark movie.   The thing is we were kind of hoping for a great Iron Man movie.
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