Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released on May 3, 2013
Directed by Shane Black
Written by Shane Black and Drew Pearce
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Jon Favreau, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale, Ty Simpkins, William Sadler, Miguel Ferrer, Paul Bettany (voice)
As many of you already know, I’m one of the few people in the universe—Marvel or otherwise—who is not a big fan of these superhero movies. I was indifferent towards the Spider-Man entries, bored silly by The Avengers, and dry heaved when I was subjected to Thor. Yet, I enjoyed the first two X-Men films, and based on a recommendation from a friend, watched Captain America: The First Avenger and thoroughly enjoyed it, where surprisingly to me, others had not. Which brings us to the Iron Man series, and of course, Iron Man 3.
For me, the first two films were about on equal ground: I liked the first half of Iron Man, and the second half of Iron Man 2, and gave both above-average reviews. Mostly, though, I gravitated towards the work of Robert Downey Jr, who has been fantastic in the title role, playing the character with a sense of ego, wonder, and humor that I found appealing and entertaining. So for the third chapter, I was hoping for more of the same, and perhaps an opportunity to enjoy both halves of the film instead of just one, with industrialist Tony Stark—still recovering mentally from events chronicled in The Avengers—going head-to-head with a global terrorist known as The Mandarin. Sadly, that wasn’t to be.
With the departure of Jon Favreau as director, Shane Black was brought in to handle directorial and screenwriting chores, and of course he found it necessary to make a few changes…changes that not only steered the film off-course, but in my opinion were misguided and smacked of self-indulgence. The first and foremost of my problems was the film’s prevalent attitude and tone, which seemed to concentrate on the negative; I don’t mind a story that’s serious and dark, but to this extreme? I thought we were having fun here…for chrissake, it’s a comic book superhero movie, not a remake of The Seventh Seal.
And whose bright idea was it to bring a child sidekick into play? My groan was probably heard throughout the theater when this element was introduced; kids don’t go to Iron Man movies in hopes of seeing other kids, they go to see Iron Man…and not a remote controlled version of him, either. And don’t get me started on the The Mandarin’s wayward story arc! I knew nothing about this villain’s comic book past, but apparently he’s Iron Man’s arch-enemy, and even I was upset with what he was reduced to; I can only imagine how long-time fans reacted.
So where did all of this leave me? High and dry and disappointed, save for Robert Downey Jr’s continued excellence in the role and the expected eye-popping effects work. My recommendation: if you were crazy about the first two installments, then I doubt you’ll be disappointed here, but if you’re like me, and consider Marvel’s cinematic ventures a tad overblown, then give Iron Man 3 a pass. Though I have to admit, this film is currently the fifth highest-grossing of all time, so what the hell do I know? (4/10)