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Iron Man 3


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The superhero/comic book genre has really changed in the past thirteen years. In 2000, we were given revolutionary films like X-Men and Unbreakable that delved a little deeper into what it means to be a hero. Nowadays, the man or woman behind the mask is more prevalent than the titular character. The hero is no longer defined by the powers or gadgetry or even the bravado…Well, these things help, but the real focus now is how that super-ness takes a toll on the person and those around him or her. Iron Man 3 goes a little further into the depths of Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and what makes him tick…or mechanically whir.  

Grade:

B+

Apart from being the third installment in a trilogy, Iron Man 3 holds many similarities to The Dark Knight Rises. First and foremost, the story is jam-packed with action, plot twists, and new characters. IM3 provides a little more background into how Tony’s playboy, genius billionaire status affected his relationships before the events of the first movie took place and turned him around. As is typical of the Marvel universe, there is an immense amount of exhilarating action scenes that really show how far the world of visual effects has come despite the economic troubles surrounding that industry.

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Secondly, IM3 separates the man from the mask, or iron suit. After challenging the Mandarin, the menacing, melodious terrorist expertly portrayed by Ben Kingsley with a voice on par with the Joker for its evil decadence, Tony is detached from his suit in rural Tennessee and has to find his way back to the real world using only his intelligence and ego. In addition, Stark is suffering from anxiety attacks brought on by the events in New York (The Avengers). Similar to the broken Bruce Wayne in TDKR, Stark uses his break from what he considers normalcy to fix himself, not dissimilar to his pseudonym, “the Mechanic,” while in Tennessee.

The minor problem that arises, however, is that IM3 can’t figure out its identity. I realize Shane Black took over as director, but the film still plays out like a Jon Favreau helmed production —I am well aware Favreau got executive producer credit, but he was still on the sidelines here. There are hints of the modern superhero darkness seeping into the storyline, but these are immediately eradicated by a Stark witticism or an all-too-tidy, Disney-style wrap-up.

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Meanwhile, the plethora of new characters and the renewed focus on old ones — I’m looking at you Rhodes (Don Cheadle) — creates a slight roadblock of the senses. The fact that Stark is still trying to figure out his own problems only compounds the issues, as no characters are stable — not even Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Consequently, the film feels slightly uneven as if it is balancing on a crumbling premise.

In a way, this disconnected feel to the film is appropriate considering the entire Marvel series is in a state of “where do we go from New York?” In turn, this is exactly why it ends up being an immensely entertaining film. Continuing the trend, a more analytical look into the plot would uncover a similar number of plot holes to TDKR, but who cares. Iron Man 3 finds a way to grasp your attention and forces you to play along.

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As mentioned, the ending is entirely too tidy considering the theme of the film, but this can be overlooked considering its implications for the future of Stark and Downey. Also, since I’m a nice guy, I will save you the trouble and recommend not wasting time and staying for the after-credits scene; it’s useless and there’s no Ant-Man.

I enjoyed Iron Man 3 and will likely watch it many more times. I give you my hitherto rant though as a word of caution to not let your expectations rise to unattainable heights.

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