Friday, May 3, 2013

Iron Man 3 [A Fat Jesus Movie Review]

This Review May Contain Spoilers

Finally! The first blockbuster film of 2013 is upon us and it's none other than Marvel's follow-up movie to The Avengers in Iron Man 3Iron Man is one of the best post 2000 superhero movies to be released. While Iron Man 2 was severely hurt by the lack of direction in writing and well, a plot. Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle all reprise their roles in what could be the last time they're in a stand alone Iron Man film. This has Robert Downy Jr's best performance as Tony Stark, but unfortunately a bevy of unnecessary scenes in a what really feels like long movie. 

Iron Man 3 starts off with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) reminiscing about New Year's Eve in 1999. That night he meets a botanist, Maya Henson (Rebecca Hall), who has invented a drug, Extremis, which will help people recover from crippling injuries. As the two head up to their room for the night, they are approached by Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). He offers them apart of his company, AIM [Advanced Idea Mechanics], to which Stark refuses. Fast forward to present day, set after the event in New York during The Avengers, Stark is having trouble coping with what happened and is unable to sleep. He has built a bunch of Iron Man suits and it's causing problems between himself and his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Meanwhile global security is running high as a villain, who calls himself The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), is planting bombs around the world and is now threatening the US. Prompting the government to rebrand "War Machine" as "Iron Patriot" to promote patriotism. Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) is on board with the name change. After Stark's home is bombed and destroyed by Mandarin, Stark's suit has taken him to Tennessee. Where he planned to investigate one of Mandarin's bombings. Stark is helped by a young man, Harley (Ty Simpkins), who lives in the town where a bombing took place. Stark is still having panic attacks whenever the situation that happened in New York is brought up. But Harley finally breaks through, and they discover what is really causing the bombings. Tony Stark has regained his bearings and is finally starting to find his own way. The only thing left to do is save his girlfriend, and the world, from it's latest threat and beat his arch nemesis in The Mandarin.

Well, where do I begin, this is easily one of the movies when the most hype for me coming into 2013, while I do like it, it really is ho-hum in a lot of ways. We'll start with one of the most obvious points and that is it's length. While it can work for movies like The Avengers and The Dark Knight, the over two hour run time for this really makes it feel long. Robert Downey Jr. really does shine in this movie, but not every scene in the movies revolves around him. When he's not there you wish is was at times, while other times you realize he can't possibly be everywhere at once. Another thing that would've really helped this is if they cut down on all the unnecessary and dragging scenes. As much as I love Ben Kingsley, a lot of the scenes involving him felt more like a YouTube video interjected into the movie more than anything. This move didn't need all of the John Favreau scenes either. While I know there's always an air of comedy in the Iron Man series, it didn't benefit from much involving Favreau in this.

There's a ton of stuff that could have been cut. A shorter movie, with less dragging scenes would've done this movie a ton of favors in my opinion. Since this story wasn't the best we've ever seen, while the character writing is oddly good still. I wasn't a fan of Pepper Potts being relegated to the damsel in distress. While action scenes not involving Guy Pearce and Robert Downy Jr. together felt underwhelming. Finally, I hated that they renamed "War Machine" to "Iron Patriot" for the purposes of the story. While I love patriotism for one's country, I'll chant "USA" in an instant, keeping it War Machine would've been better suited. Especially if it turns out to be the last film in the series and you've just established War Machine in the previous movie.

The action was pretty great too. We find out early on than since the event of The Avengers, and trust me there's quite a few times they remind you, Stark can't sleep and turns to making prototype Iron Man suits. The main one used throughout is his latest prototype which never quite gets there yet is almost a character in itself. There's not a ton of Iron Man suit action until the third act, but that's when they turn it up in a huge way leading to the conclusion. The fight scenes are more about Stark going back to his roots as an inventor to cleverly win his battles. Rather than just overpowered Iron Man clocking the baddies. There were some points where it got really Micheal Bay-esque, which kinda caught me off guard, but other than that the action is top notch. Like with most all of Marvel's releases. The CGI in this is top notch as always. The overall design of all the suits featured in the movie, no matter how briefly shown, looked cool. The scenery was great, the ocean shots were good and the cinematography was a nice little surprise. Couple that with the  decent music and good score and this movie both loos and sounds great.

Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark who is in turn Iron Man. After this trilogy and the future films, namely The Avengers 2, I think Downey Jr. will go down as the most charismatic superhero actor. He carries these movies almost single handedly, shout-out to Gwyneth Paltrow here. This movie really brings out the acting chops and a side of Stark's character we've yet to see. The caring for Harley, Pepper and James is overwhelming. The fact it's the first time we've seen him rattled about something, Stark's usually vastly sure of himself, is something to get used to. Combine that with the witty, billionaire charm that we've come to know, and Downey Jr. as Stark has developed to a new high. Props out to Ty Simpkins who finally got me into the movie at the start of the second act, as Stark first arrives in Tennessee. The little dude is a fantastic actor and really brought out the side of Stark mentioned above. Plus his chemistry with Downey Jr. was immense as it looked like those to were made to play off of each other in a scene. Gwyneth Paltrow is pretty good, though her being the damsel in distress wasn't a great fit for this movie. While Don Cheadle did another solid supporting role as James Rhodes aka War Machine aka Iron Patriot aka Terrance Howard's replacement. I felt Ben Kingsly was pretty bland in his role as The Mandarin, but I can't hate the guy in the slightest. While Guy Pearce gave a pretty good  performance as Killian. A lot of good performances headlined by the lead star and probably the youngest person in the film. 

For those interested I rated Iron Man 3, an I think, generous 8/10 or 4/5. Despite it's abundance of problems this is a much better movie than Iron Man 2, if not only for the fact it has an actual story. While the action in all of the Iron Man movies are fairly standard, this is definitely the one with the most bang for your buck. Robert Downy Jr. truly comes into his own as Tony Stark/Iron Man in this and his performance is worth this ticket price alone. While not in the same league as Iron Man, Spider-Man 2The Avengers and The Dark Knight, this is still better than most superhero movies you're gonna see. There's still a ton of Marvel movies will come out these next two years; Thor: The Dark World, The WolverineCaptain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past and Guardians of the Galaxy. But I think Iron Man 3 will stand its ground and remain one of the best in the coming years.

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