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Iron Man 3 - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Iron Man 3
Directing: B
Acting: B+
Writing: B-
Cinematography: B
Editing: B
Special Effects: B

If there's anything great about the Iron Man series, it's that it never takes itself too seriously. Tony Stark, as played by the perfectly cast Robert Downey Jr, is flippant in a way that reflects the tone of all four movies the character has been to date.

Iron Man 3 plays like the conclusion of a trilogy, though, and that can only be a good thing. In a way, after the honestly overrated The Avengers, this is really Iron Man 4. The script shoehorns in references to The Avengers and seems completely unaware of the events in previous Iron Man films. This is unfortunate, because the Iron Man franchise was far better before it became part of what Tony Stark's bodyguard (John Favreau) here jokingly calls his "Superfriends."

I know I'm in the minority here; audiences went shit-crazy over The Avengers, and, while that movie was good, I just don't understand the ridiculous amount of love for it. Even in a superhero movie, it gets a little hard to suspend disbelief when, now, characters blithely refer to when aliens visited New York. Yeah, that happened -- and, apparently, everything is back to normal now. Where are the rest of the Avengers now, anyway? There's a couple of passing references to them, seemingly out of obligation and nothing more. Maybe they all get assigned certain geographical areas. Iron Man seems tied to Southern California. I guess everyone else is serving and protecting the East Coast.

A lot can be forgiven with Robert Downey Jr on screen, though. His dark sense of humor as Tony Stark is charming as ever, and indeed the movie is more engaging whenever he's outside the Iron Man suit. Eventually this movie goes the route of several Iron Men suits, and it's kind of just more of the same old superhero crap. But at least, as a character, Tony Stark remains an entertainingly flawed individual. It's just too bad the subplot about his anxiety attacks stems from the stupid-ass events in The Avengers.

This installment takes a clever route with the villain, though -- or villains, it should be said. First, there is Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian, a scientist with dubious intentions. It's too bad Pearce didn't get a flashier villain role; he would probably do well with that sort of thing. On the other hand, we do get Ben Kingsley as "The Mandarin," an apparently media-savvy maniac who turns out not to be what he seems. It's a case of seeing that a twist is coming, but being completely surprised by the nature of the twist -- and it's delightful. Kingsley, for years known as a brilliant serious actor, is great fun to see in parts like this.

There's just no way a third movie in a series like this -- or, indeed, the fourth -- can really be great. There are only so many superhero plots and supervillains you can have before it all starts to kind of seem the same. That said, the story here does go in several unexpected directions that are surprisingly satisfying. A climactic battle around shipyard cranes isn't really one of them. That's just superhero color-by-numbers. There's a little bit of turning the tropes on their heads, though, particularly with the fate of Pepper Pots (a perfectly fine Gwyneth Paltrow), who is only a damsel in distress to a point.

Iron Man 3, while far from great, still exceeds expectations. It's entertaining and I had a good time, in spite of its redundancies. It's peppered with just enough moments of inspiration to neutralize its flaws.

iron man 3

Overall: B
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