Well the summer movie season is now officially underway and it’s another reason why I love summer, in addition to hot weather, hot chicks wearing skimpy clothes, swimming, no school… oh, I could go on and on about why I love summer but I have a review to do. And there’s a wide crop of big summer movies coming out this year and I’m going to see if I can review as many of the big movies as possible. And today I am going to start with the movie that officially opened this year’s summer movie season: Iron Man 3.
To start off, when I was in high school during the 90’s I collected Iron Man comics in addition to Spider-Man and Batman. And as I mentioned in my review of last summer’s mega-blockbuster The Avengers, Iron Man was the only Avengers-related comic I collected. And as far as the movies go, I enjoyed the first movie even though I had to wait until I bought it on DVD to see it. I enjoyed Robert Downey, Jr. in the role of Tony Stark, the cocky, snarky billionaire playboy who was seriously injured by a piece of shrapnel close to his heart which leads to him become Iron Man as a means of survival. The success of the first Iron Man movie was the beginning of a string of successful movies for Downey after surviving two decades of being a drug addict that nearly derailed his career. Iron Man 2 on the other hand, I thought was kind of meh despite Downey’s performance, War Machine, and the fact that I got to see Scarlett Johannson, who debuted her Black Widow character from The Avengers in that movie. And of course, you know how I feel about The Avengers if you saw my review of it last year and as far as the other Avenger-related movies go, I saw Thor in theaters and I thought it was pretty good and I had to wait until DVD for Captain America: The First Avenger and that was really good. And now that the countdown to Avengers 2 has officially begun, it is time to review the movie that is going to kick off The Marvel Universe: Phase 2- Iron Man 3.
The movie begins with Tony suffering from panic attacks from what appears to be post-traumatic stress disorder. Helpful hint: You have to have seen The Avengers before you see this movie. At the same time, two new threats emerge to plague our hero: A mysterious terrorist called The Mandarin (played by Sir Ben Kingsley, Gandhi to you and me) and Killian (played by Guy Pearce) an industrialist with a personal grudge against Tony who is showcasing his new weapon code-named Project Extremis. And they cause all sorts of chaos, which means lots of things blowing up including Tony’s nice Malibu Oceanside mansion. Well, of course Tony gets away and hides out in a remote town in Tennessee and bonds with a little boy who helps repair his armor.
Also along for the ride is Don Cheadle who plays James Rhodes (aka War Machine) although his War Machine armor from the last movie got both an upgrade, a new paint job (red, white and blue), and a new superhero name. He’s now called the Iron Patriot and is the US Government’s number one weapon in the war on terror. Gwyneth Paltrow returns as Pepper Potts, Tony’s love interest that is still pretty good despite receiving the dubious title of the Most Hated Person in Hollywood (she edged out Kristen Stewart for that honor. Who does that?) And Jon Favereau (who directed the first two Iron Man movie and serves as executive producer on this movie) returns in a smaller role as Happy Hogan and he gets a couple good lines in.
The movie is directed by Shane Black who ironically worked with Downey before on a movie called Kiss Kiss Bang Bang but is best known for creating the Lethal Weapon franchise for Mel Gibson, Danny Glover and director Richard Donner. Black, who was an action movie staple in the late 80’s and the early 90’s, brings the series back to form with incredible action sequences, rapid-fire quips courtesy of RDJ and some pretty shocking twists and turns that you have to see to believe. At first glimpse of the trailer, I wasn’t sure if Iron Man 3 was going to be another Dark Knight Rises or something but it turns out that it was actually better than I expected and avoids the pratfalls suffered by most threequels in a film franchise.
One of the pratfalls of reviewing a movie that’s in theaters is that it’s hard to do reviews without doing spoilers. I usually do my best without giving too much away (unless it’s a Twilight movie or anything with Stephenie Meyer’s name attached to it in which case spoil away because a majority of moviegoers know that if Stephenie Meyer’s name is attached to it, you know it’s gonna suck.) And Iron Man 3 does not suck. It’s actually a fun enjoyable ride and I will recommend it.