“Iron Man 3” is now officially the 4th film to feature Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark the billionaire playboy comedy-genius who always manages to save the world. In IM3 Tony is suffering some sort of mental break down which is no surprise as you could imagine flying in a metal suit, fighting brands of bad guys, and orbiting into outer space could lead anyone to mental anguish. I know just watching all the high flying action leaves me a little weazy. In some ways the role of Tony Stark has matured, we see him finally wanting to settle down with Pepper Potts(Gwyneth Paltrow) his long time squeeze, we also see him struggling with all of his past demons; alcohol, women, and a blatant disregard for others. If it sounds like Tony is finally growing up, well, don’t get your hopes up. Downey Jr. continues to impress with his dry wit and impeccable comic timing, I constantly tell myself that I should be getting tired of this shtick but the honest truth is I’m not tired of it all and am ready for “Iron Man 6 in 4D IMAXX”.
Oh, you want plot points? A super bad guy has figured out a super scientific bad thing and is going to unleash it on the world and Ironman has to stop him. This isn’t high art, its high entertainment and sometimes just reaching one can justify not reaching the other. The Mandarin(Ben Kingsley) is half old school terrorist and half techno terrorist who makes awesome videos that he broadcasts over the entire world’s television sets threatening to blow up certain things and kill certain people. Of course the American government is impotent to stop him or his videos, the FCC should probably investigate how one terrorist living in the desert has the capability of stealing all television frequencies in the world but that’s another movie. What I enjoyed about this film is that it sort of strips some of the action down, don’t get me wrong, there is still hundreds of millions of dollars of special effects on the screen, but Tony Stark has to act more like MacGyver than a bulldozer. The narrative deserves special kudos, while you could just revert to big loud action punctuated by comic relief Director Shane Black and team play around with different plot devices and story twists that seem foreign to blockbusters these days. Don’t get me wrong, the story isn’t “Ikiru” or anything but there is some humanity in this picture however fleeting. There is one great sequence that doesn’t involve CGI(other than Iron Man) and it’s worth the price of IMAX admission alone. I’ll let you guess which scene I’m talking about but I have a feeling you’ll know it when you see it.
I was not a fan of “Iron Man 2” and I marginally enjoyed “The Avengers” but “Iron Man 3” brought me back strongly into the fold. Reviewing all these super-mega blockbusters has become quite a challenge, it mostly feels like you know what you are going to get and when you’re surprised at all you end up giving it a favorable review. It’s hard to imagine any of these comic book films not getting magnificent press, amazing fanboy retention, and such high budgets that if they were a bank they would reach “too big to fail” status, and while I do find myself enjoying these films greatly, I can’t help but feel that the market is over flooded. I guess time will tell and audiences will be the judge and jury but I hope the trend of bigger, larger, and louder can be punctuated with smaller and more thoughtful films as well; at this point “Batman Begins” feels like an art house film in comparison.
I give “Iron Man 3” 4 giant rabbits out of 5.