Iron Man 3 Review – Downey Junior *Shines*, 3 Reagans
Mandeville, LA – Exclusive – Iron Man 3 was said by the critics to just be another rehash of the previous two installments. I beg to disagree. This film has all the elements of a good action/comedy/buddy movie, with Iron Man played delightfully by Robert Downey, Jr. befriending a 12-year-old boy in a small town, Ty Simpkins (Insidious), who appears to be a very young edition of Tony Stark. The story takes us through a part of Stark’s life where he is outside of the Iron Man suit and can’t use it, yet there is still a world to be saved from the evil genius of the film Aldrich Killian, played by actor Guy Pearce.
Pearce plays a good enough bad guy, and many critics said that his character seemed as if it came right out of, wait for it, a comic book. Wow, how ingenious! His character did come out of a comic book, and Pearce played him as you would expect a comic book villain to be played. I thought his performance was adequate to the task, and he left plenty of room for Robert Downey, Jr. to steal the show, as he always does. Unlike the previous king of one-liners who just happened to be an action star before him — that would be one Arnold Schwarzenegger — Downey, Jr. is a natural comic. He’s naturally likeable and he’s naturally very dashing and debonair. The amazing part to the evolution of Robert Downey, Jr. as an action hero is: What took so long?
Even though I don’t personally care for Gwyneth Paltrow the person, Gwyneth Paltrow the actress who plays Pepper does an okay job of playing that role, although I could have done without her assuming superpowers which may come into play in the next installment of Iron Man. To put it bluntly, Pepper, the character, and Gwyneth Paltrow, the actress, are neither Tony Stark or Robert Downey, Jr., but perhaps that is intentional. After all, we can’t have a cast of heroes acting all lovable and heroic, now, can we?
The plot involves a theory which develops into a biological process that is pioneered by Killian and nearly perfected Maya Hansen played by Rebecca Hall (The Town). All the while Stark is telling his life story of the last 12 years to someone…but who!? In the film’s opening scene, set in 1999, we find Tony Stark, playboy and international ladies’ man doing what international ladies’ men do in Bern, that is, having his way with Maya Hansen. Stark and Maya are accosted in the elevator on the way up to their hotel suite by a greasy haired, buck-toothed Killian who proposes that Stark take a look at this formula that he has Advanced Industrial Mechanics or AIM, and see if he can help him perfect it. Stark looks at it, jots something down on the back of a dry-cleaning tag, hands it to the Killian, and tells him to go about his way. This is unsettling to our future villain, who then retreats to the roof and contemplates whether or not he wishes to jump off. We don’t know at this point in the film that Hansen and Killian are in cahoots.
Fast forward to modern day, our villain is now dashing and dapper himself and pays a visit to Stark Industries to pitch Pepper on the product that he has spent the last 12 years creating and perfecting thanks to a little bit of help from Tony Stark. When Pepper rebuffs his advance and informs him that Stark Industries will not be interested in the product, then the villain’s plot begins to unfold. While this is happening, a madman terrorist, played very humorously by Ben Kingsley, Trevor Slattery, appears on television screens all across the United States promising retribution against certain individuals if the President of the United States does not deliver himself up as a hostage. Then Slattery tells the audience that not even Iron Man will be able to stop the plan from being executed. The Mandarin character is a clever parody of what our government makes every Muslim, bearded madman out to be and pokes well-deserved fun at the fact that the videos we are told to cower from could be made anywhere by anyone (they have the entire world’s government’s fooled).
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At this point, Tony Stark arrives at Stark Industries and watches the broadcast with Pepper. Becoming outraged, he informs her that he is going to go home. As he exits the building, the media is waiting for him. Here, then, Stark issues a promise that he is not going to run or hide from a terrorist, and he even gives his address, complete with street name, city and zip and dares the Mandarin to pay him a visit. WHen he arrives at home to a frustrated Pepper, Maya shows up at his door with something urgent she must discuss with him…now. Well, lo and behold, the Mandarin’s goon, Savin (James Badge Dale) does pay him a visit and blows the Stark home nearly off the side of the cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean that it sits on. Our hero narrowly escapes with his life, and at the last minute is able to get into an Iron Man suit, the new Mark XLII (42) only to find that the suit is not completely functional and almost out of battery life. Stark somehow manages to make it out of trouble’s way and crash lands in a small town that is not identified.
Suit-less, Tony Stark the man must now use only his knowledge and wits to avoid bad girls (you’ll see) and guys who have been manipulated genetically by Killian’s AIM formula. Here he runs into the 12-year-old boy who is the future Tony Stark in training. The dialogue between Stark and the boy is humorous. It’s fun and entertaining to watch and I got the feeling I was being gamed to see young Harley in a future Marvel Comics movie. There are enough good one-liners here to fill up someone else’s attempt at a movie of this size and scope. But at the end of the day, the boy helps Stark get his “mojo” back, enough so that he can go seek and find where the terrorist Mandarin is emitting these mysterious broadcasts from. In another jab at our vainglorious SpyFare State, Stark and Harley are able to use the NSA’s own computers AND illegally captured data to find Mandarin. I was left wondering if we should just jettison 1.4 million high security clearance “analysts” and ply that money into making an Iron Man suit?
Stark then travels to find Mandarin, who is holed up in a mansion that doubles as a TV studio in Miami, Florida. Come to find out, he’s actually no terrorist at all. He’s just a highly-paid actor who is enjoying the good life while portraying Mandarin who cannot even fend off the escorts Killian has provided him with. Here Stark promises to put an end to the Mandarin in a sissy-fight starring Kingsley worth laughing at. At about this juncture, Aldrich Killian appears. Because Stark does not have his entire Iron Man suit, he is easy pickings and is captured by Killian’s heavies. After he is captured and being held at some undisclosed location the femme fatale, Maya then confronts Stark trying to coax him to join AIM. When Killian shows up, he orders her to extract the information that he wants from Stark by torture. When Maya refuses, Killian proves his devotion to his sinister cause by shooting her directly in the heart and killing her.
From here, Killian escapes to go execute his plan of forcing the President to hand over some secret launch codes. At about this time, our boy genius back in the little town where we left him last has recharged the Iron Man Mark XLII suit so that at least it can now fly. It flies on its own, in a hundred pieces and is reclaimed by Stark, piece by painful piece as Stark is rescued from where he is imprisoned. He then goes in pursuit of Killian only to find that he has captured Pepper and is holding her as ransom to try and get Stark to do Killian’s bidding. A special-effects laden fight of epic proportions ensues. I won’t tell you the ending, but let’s just say that Pepper now has a new super power to deal with and Iron Man has one less villain. Near the end Stark actually walks away from the Iron Man suit now that he is freed from the atomic reactor keeping his heart alive. It is a subtle Man over Machine moment that would probably bomb were it not for Downey Jr.
All in all, this is a very watchable, very entertaining film, if only to enjoy the performance turned in by Robert Downey, Jr. Make sure that you watch all the way through the credits for the hidden scene at the end of the film to see who Stark has been narrating the story to all along. Iron Man 3, rated 3 Reagans.
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