Iron Man 3 Review: Starting Off the Summer with a Bang

images (17)It’s here, it’s here, thank God Almighty it’s finally here!  No longer must we cinephiles languish in the doldrums of spring and winter releases, for May has arrived with it the Summer Blockbuster season we have all been waiting for.  Gone are the days of looking at the theater marquee and having to ask yourself “What the hell is this crap?”, here are the days of lining up with your fellow fans to see the opening releases of movies you’ve known about for months if not years.  At this time I must apologize for my gushing, but it’s been a long four months.  Having seen every single movie that’s come out this year on 1,200 screens or more, I would be hard pressed to claim that anyone who hasn’t been to the theater yet in 2013 has been missing out on much.  I strongly anticipate that fact to change over the course of the next 30 days, however, and if Iron Man 3 is the opening salvo of what’s to come then thing’s aren’t looking too shabby.  Between a snappy, amusing script and another expectedly great performance from Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man 3 right’s nearly all of the wrongs of its predecessor to produce the most explosively entertaining film of the year.

The Plot: 8/10

When Tony Stark’s world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.

When it comes to Superhero movies, the role of the story is far more important than it is in your typical action movie.  The comic books that characters like Iron Man and Batman are Iron_Man_3_screenshot_620x380taken from feature some of the most complicated, intricate story lines of any form of entertainment that exists today, and as a result there is a constant struggle in comic book movies to balance those complex story lines with audience accessibility issues.  In that sense, the plot of Iron Man 3 might not be as elaborate or dynamic as, let’s say, The Dark Knight, but it still has more than enough going on to keep you interested.  In particular, there is one specific twist that occurs partway through the film that had me legitimately taken off guard in a very enjoyable way.  If you’ve seen the movie, you probably know what I’m talking about so no spoilers…

The Writing: 9/10

This is by far the biggest area of the film which makes it stand out from the first two entries.  In Iron Man and Iron Man 2, the writing was good but it always felt like it was Iron_Man3_trailer2-610x343Downey Jr. who made the lines pop rather than the script itself.  Here, writer/director Shane Black works in a great level of dark, sarcastic humor that fits in perfectly with Stark’s character.  There are a few jokes that didn’t really land in the screening I was in, but for the most I thought the movie’s comic side had just the right amount of dryness in it for my taste.

On a side note, the humor is what makes the movie entertaining but that isn’t to say that the film is without its serious side.  After all, the promotional material tried to emphasize the raising of the stakes here as much as possible, ranging from the images (2)destruction of Stark’s iconic mansion to shots of a wounded Stark weakly dragging his suit through a snowy field. While the shortcomings on the villainous end prevent us from feeling like Tony himself is ever in much serious danger (though to be fair, the announcement of The Avengers 2 made that a non-issue from the get go), but it’s the world around him that really feels at stake.  In a franchise like this, that’s often enough to keep you emotionally invested regardless of what the star has already signed on for in the future.

The Acting: 8/10

It’s no secret that I was disappointed by Iron Man 2, mostly because it felt like what director Jon Favreau would later go on to admit that it was; a cash grab.  As a result, I thought that Robert Downey Jr. felt a bit like he was on auto-pilot during that movie, a images (1)feeling which I am happy to say did not present itself here.  With a strong script behind him, Downey Jr. reminds us all why the role brought him back into the public’s good graces in the first place.  I was slightly nervous to hear some of the weariness the man has expressed with the role, after all it would be easy to phone it in if you were sick and tired of a character that has nearly come to define you as an actor (Robert Pattinson feels your pain).  Luckily, that weariness comes across on the screen and works very well with Stark’s exhaustion.

iron-man-3-pepper-potts-1I’m pretty opposed to the idea of liking Gwyneth Paltrow, so I’m not going to talk about her for the risk of breaking my own rule (Read: Pepper get’s to play the Badass in a few scenes and it’s more effective than I’d care to admit).  Don Cheadle doesn’t factor in here quite has heavily as he did in the last film, but his chemistry with Downey Jr. is even better.  That being said, I remain firmly on Tony’s side in the case of War Machine vs. Iron Patriot.  War Machine is way cooler.

Finally, we have Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce in the bad guy’s corner.  There really isn’t a hell of a lot I can talk about here without spoiling some of the most impressively kept secrets of the movie’s production, but I’ve seen strongly mixed reactions to the villains of the film from various reviews I’ve read.  Personally, I think that the handling of The Mandarin worked great from a plot standpoint, but not necessarily as great from a character standpoint.  Beyond that, go watch the movie and then we’ll talk

The Action: 10/10

We knew from the start that as the “downfall of Tony Stark”, Iron Man 3 was bound to feature a lot of Tony getting his ass handed to him for the first half of the movie at least.  iron-man-house-malibuUnfortunately, it’s not nearly as fun to watch the hero lose as it is to watch him win, so it would have been really easy for the first half of the movie to illicit a strong “Get on with It!” response from the audience.  I never got this feeling though, since no matter how bad things get or how much of a beating Stark takes, he always feels like he’s somehow in control of the situation.  

When things do come around to the movie’s second “redemption” half, though, the result is absolutely spectacular.  The final battle gives us the ironman3-trailer-blog630-jpg_061350extremely crowd-pleasing concept of a mini-army of Iron Man suits joining Stark in battle, and though once again I will spare you the spoiler-oriented details I can assure you that it is an absolute blast to watch.  The one criticism I would have for the movie’s action as a whole would be that the 3D really didn’t add much of anything to the movie, so my strong recommendation is to save yourself the extra money and catch it in the traditional format.

The Verdict: 8.5/10 – Impressive

+ Robert Downey Jr. fully recovers from the auto-pilot feel of Iron Man 2

+ The script is full of the kind of sarcastic humor that made us love Stark in the first place

+ The stakes are higher than ever, culminating in the best action sequences of the series

– The Mandarin is a good villain, but doesn’t have the raw power of Bane or The Joker

Critical Consensus:

IMDb:  7.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 79%

Metacritic: 65/100

Other Reviews: 

Elemental Reviews: A+

The Cinematic Katzenjammer: 9.2/10

Movie Writing: 9/10

The Bishop Review: 4.5/5

Tim’s Film Reviews: 88%

Dan the Man Movie Reviews: 8.5/10

Three Rows Back: “…as cool, collected and cocksure as its hero”

Committed to Celluloid: 4/5

Amonymous Reviews: 4/5

Black Sheep Reviews: 4/5

The Focused Filmographer: 4/5

The Devil’s Advocates: 4/5

FlixChatter: 4/5

262 Pages: 4/5

Claratsi’s Movie Review: 4/5

Cinematic Corner: 75/100

A Constant Visual Feast: “smarter than the average tentpole film”

Fast Film Reviews: 3.5/5

The Code is Zeek: 3.5/5

Keith and the Movies: 3.5/5

Bananas About Movies: 3.5/5

Fogs’ Movie Reviews: B-

PG Cooper’s Movie Reviews: B-

Bananas About Movies: 3/5

Average: 7.6/10 – Superior

About r361n4

I'm a student at the University of Washington Majoring Business. I've always loved movies and my goal is to work on the financial side of the film industry. Until then though, I figure I'll spare my friends from my opinions and shout them from a digital mountaintop for anyone who's interested. After all, if a tree falls in a forest and nobody blogs about it, does it really happen?
This entry was posted in Action, New Releases, Sci-fi and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Iron Man 3 Review: Starting Off the Summer with a Bang

  1. Summit10 says:

    I have always been intensive centric when it comes to adapted screenplays whether they are novels, true to life stories and in these comic book films very few have been able to keep it as close as possible.

    Well I have watched it and although I agree completely with the spectacular action sequences combined with visual effects, the actors / actresses whose delivery was overwhelming even for the “Mandarin” (cough!) sorry about that. Anyway, it was still entertaining but I really hope Marvel can establish more villains especially with these “handicapped” heroes to fight.

    Joker is still Top Cat btw…

    Cheers. Nice review my friend.

    • r361n4 says:

      Totally agreed on the Joker, I know he’s everyone’s favorite but that doesn’t make it any less true.

      I have no knowledge of the material the film is based on but I can completely understand why a lot of people who expected an epic villain out of The Mandarin will be pretty disappointed. The lack of a strong villain was my biggest issue with The Avengers, too, but if Marvel can work on that area I feel like the result will be truly epic

      • Summit10 says:

        touche my friend, Well, we can agree to disagree. I just felt sorry for the ten ringed would be conqueror who was so hyped up but got twisted in the end.

        All the best Rorschach! 🙂 Cheers.

  2. mettelray says:

    I’m definitely going to see this one on the big screen next week! Wooo! Can’t wait!

  3. Fine review Andy. Seems to be a bit of a hit this one, was worried it was gonna be a flop. Hoping to check this out this weekend, I need to see it!

    • r361n4 says:

      Looking forward to your review, so far Fogs has been the only person I’ve seen who’s been legitimately disappointed but I understand his reasons. It might not be as hard hitting as Nolan’s batman movies but it’s still a hell of a lot of fun in my opinion

  4. Gene says:

    Thanks for the spoiler-free review. I’m not real big on seeing movies the weekend they’re released, but I certainly am for this one. I don’t see how any scenes involving Paltrow “kicking butt” could be good/believable, but we’ll see 🙂

    • r361n4 says:

      Looking forward to hearing what you think. It’s definitely weird to see Paltrow in that sort of role and I can’t help but feel like it would have been more effective with nearly any other actress, but I still appreciate the effort and it sorta works… sorta

      • Gene says:

        I was pleasantly surprised with Paltrow’s butt-kicking scene. Definitely sold it. Awful predictable though, as was most of the film save the one twist with Mandarin midway through.

      • r361n4 says:

        Lol, glad you mentioned how predictable that specific scene was, by far the biggest eye roll scene of the movie. I thought that the Mandarin twist was enough to offset any other predictability the rest of the movie had though. Anyways this was definitely a good one for Paltrow, still not enough to turn me in favor of her but it comes close

  5. CMrok93 says:

    Good review Andy. Great way to start the summer. Let the dumbness begin!!

    • r361n4 says:

      Lol, bring it on indeed. As long as the action is there and the dialogue is snappy I don’t really care how low the rest of the movie’s IQ goes. I have a feeling that Memorial day weekend will take the cake though, Hangover Part III and Fast & Furious 6 in the same weekend after all

  6. Niejan says:

    Nice write-up Andy. Thanks for the mention.

  7. Great review. I LOVED this one. Want to check it out again this weekend. Thanks for the mention!

  8. Tom says:

    Excellent review! I think I’m going to have to go back and re-watch the second part because I’ve truly enjoyed all three of them; much in the same way I thought Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy did more than enough justice for the franchise, I think Marvel’s getting its treatment here. I don’t remember Robert Downey Jr coming across as being “on auto-pilot” in the second, but it’s very possible. You definitely get the sense somewhere even in this one that he’s ready for it all to be said and done. Hahah playing an action hero must wear on you!

    • r361n4 says:

      I think for me Downey Jr. just felt way to smug in an almost annoying way, which is much more of a problem with the writing than with Robert himself really. I still liked the last one but I think my elevated expectations hurt my view of it.

      I can definitely understand why he wants to go on to work on different material, but as a viewer I still can’t help but wish he’d keep going with the character. I guess we’ll see over time whether or not the hesitation he’s expressed is legitimate or just an attempt to give himself better standing in his current contract negotiation.

  9. Great review. Thanks for mentioning mine!

  10. “The Mandarin is a good villain, but doesn’t have the raw power of Bane or The Joker” Yeah because he isn’t fucking real!!! Arghhhhhh!!!!

    Sorry for the small rant, good review, I agree mostly 😀

  11. Mark Hobin says:

    A good kick off to Summer 2013 and possibly the #1 film of the season. Thanks for the mention!

    • r361n4 says:

      My pleasure, glad you enjoyed it as well. I’d say that in terms of quality, depth, etc. Place Beyond the Pines probably takes the cake but this has by far been the most entertaining and most likely to earn a repeat visit

  12. ruth says:

    Thanks for the link! Yep, Iron Man 3 kicked off Summer movie season with a bang indeed! I’m with you about the writing, and the whole War Machine vs. Iron Patriot bit is hilarious!

  13. atothewr says:

    Thanks for the nod. It looks like a lot of people are really enjoying this one. I knew when Shane Black got involved it was going to be great. Nice review.

    • r361n4 says:

      I really feel like I need to see Kiss Kiss Bang Bang now, the RDJ/Black combo seems to work wonderfully

      • atothewr says:

        Kiss Kiss is a fabulous movie from start to finish. Not only is RDJ great, Kilmer is masterful in his role. That’s one of the better movies I’ve seen in the last ten years or so. Hope I didn’t just over sell it there.

  14. Pingback: Now You See Me Review: The Closer You Look, The Less You See | Rorschach Reviews

  15. Pingback: May Wrap-Up: Welcome Back, Summer. We’ve Missed You | Rorschach Reviews

What did you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s