Ironman 3 *** out of ****

May 08, 2013 -- 9:06am


Ironman movies are like pizza, even when the pizza is fair, it’s still good. Part 3 is better than its predecessor Ironman 2.  However it fails to recapture the magic of the initial installment. Part of the problem is the script, which has plot holes that you could sail an aircraft carrier thru.

First the good: Robert Downey Jr. is once again terrific! He elevates everything around him like a great player does in basketball. His Tony Stark is the best “true identity” portrayal of all these comic book adaptations. Thanks to Downey, there are some genuinely funny moments. The Iron Man series is essentially a screwball comedy trapped inside a super hero film. In addition the action sequences are top notch, although I don’t believe the 3-D was necessary.

Now, the issues:  SPOILER ALERT  As I have always written, the villain is critically important in all comic book films. It is in this area where my primary issue with Iron Man 3 resides. To reduce The Mandarin, who is the primary villain in the Iron Man universe, to a caricature is artistic heresy. The “Wizard Of Oz” reveal comes across so poorly that I found myself thinking, you’ve got to be kidding me ? You’re really going in this direction? I’m surprised that Marvel was okay with this. I also detest the “bait  and switch “ tactics of the promotion of this film. I’m all psyched to see Ben Kingsley’s take on The Mandarin, and what do I get? Guy Pearce breathing fire? Please.  And a question for the writer. If a guy can breathe  fire, why does he use that power only once in the entire film? Also, the power of the character {Aldrich Killian} creates is never explained. What are the parameters of his abilities? What is the real objective of Killian and The Mandarin? All these questions are never addressed. They are both very poorly defined villains, and the film suffers because of it.

The characters are not well thought out. Tony Stark is a super genius, yet he gives out his home address to a national television audience? Then he’s surprised by a helicopter attack with all his state of the art security? Another question, If Stark can automatically control the Iron Man suites, then why does he ever get inside one and risk bodily harm? Not smart. Very little makes sense, one minute Tony thinks Pepper is dead, the next he’s wisecracking?

Despite all of the above, I still enjoyed Iron Man 3, it packs a solid punch, with witty dialogue and Downey Jr’s rapid fire delivery. But due to the unmemorable villain and a narrative that prioritizes effects over story, you’re still left a bit unsatisfied. The old saying in Hollywood goes, give the people what they want. I didn’t want a villain out of an Austin Powers movie.

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