Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3 pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man? (from MovieWeb.com)
It's been three years since Iron Man 2 released, and with the success of last year's mega cinematic merger The Avengers, Iron Man 3 is the first Marvel film to carry the torch since. This story takes place shortly after the events of The Avengers, with Stark being haunted by his near-death experience in New York and the revelation of aliens and "gods" (the latter being Loki and Thor) through the events in that film. But as Stark is learning, his past "demons" are catching up with him, and it would appear that there's a new threat in the world, named The Mandarin, that's swiftly becoming personal. When a friend is injured, Stark calls out The Mandarin and the fight is brought right to his doorstep... literally.
A movie like The Avengers is a tough act to follow; Marvel knows this and it's pretty evident while watching Iron Man 3 that they felt the need to try to top themselves. While that's understandable to want to attempt such a feat, it's dangerous territory to tread because it sets things up to potentially lean toward overkill. However, three movies into the Iron Man saga (with some talk from Downey, Jr. about possibly hanging up the iron suit), Iron Man 3 has the feel of a grand finale and a starting over point. All is put on the line this time around, and the ante is upped considerably. So the things that worked best about the first Iron Man movie are tossed into a pot with elements from Iron Man 2 and The Avengers, all adding up to some pretty gigantic set pieces and a climax in the film that is as equally over-the-top as it is exhilarating. It's one of those movies that would be all too easy to nitpick, but when you realize you left the cinema satisfied and smiling, you know it'd be counterproductive to do so.
Iron Man 3 does a lot to take the movie series in a different direction. Both Iron Man and Iron Man 2 featured villains that were grounded in reality and were particularly personal to Tony Stark. This time around, it's a mix of personal with a broader view, and things get much more scientifically based. As one might even expect, this is much more along the lines of a comic book brought to life on the big screen. You can expect outrageous technology and more sci-fi stylized action this time around. While it is far more fantastical than the previous Iron Man installments, it's in line with the fact that Tony's having trouble dealing with a bigger world than he imagined, and so, with that, it follows Avengers quite fittingly.
The reactions to what unfolds in Iron Man 3 have been very strongly mixed between fans and critics. Most of that is due to the film's treatments of the villains featured. While I can't say I have any previous knowledge of any of these such villains--and therefore, no emotional attachments to their comic book origins--I'm fine with the way they're handled here. However, I fully understand those who have a beef with the way things play out here. Like most comic books-to-film, Iron Man 3 does not stick too closely to its source material. As such, it makes for some interesting surprises in the movie, but is likely to upset any diehard fans expecting something more faithful to the source. Some are imagining grand possibilities presented by the villainous forces here, but the movie will terminate those expectations instead of nurture them.
Regardless, I enjoyed the story for what it is. Stark is far out of his element, which, at times is reminiscent of his origin story from the first film and serves as a bit of a rebirth of Iron Man in a similar fashion (if you've seen the trailer, you can get an idea of what I mean). During his journey, Stark finds himself alone, teaming with an unlikely new friend, meeting a fanboy who helps him technologically, and is sorely separated from his suit tech. Iron Man 3 does its best to steer clear of retreading itself too much, and it does so quite well. With the villains this time around, Ben Kingsley is excellent (I have to choose my adjectives ambiguously here), while an actor I've long enjoyed watching, Guy Pearce, is a nice addition to the cast here. You can tell Pearce had a lot of fun in the role of Aldrich Killian, and it was great to see him share the screen with Downey's Stark. Director Shane Black (who directs only his second time here, reteaming with Robert Downey, Jr. after his directorial debut with 2005's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) takes over the franchise from Jon Favreau, who directed the first two films and stars as Happy Hogan, and he does a great job in steering the film in a different direction. However, at the same time, it's a bittersweet approach as Black wipes the board clean of Favreau's foundations, leaving the future of Iron Man completely unpredictable. Iron Man 3 feels like the end of a trilogy (even if you kind of need Avengers in there for continuity's sake), and that in and of itself can be slightly alarming for fans. Finally, the film's finale is just a little over-the-top at times, throwing in just about everything but the kitchen sink, but it's on par with an exciting comic book arc finale and effectively wraps up this series of films. Also, I just have to mention one completely unexpected element of the movie -- Christmas! Bizarrely enough, the entire film takes place around Christmastime, and it's frequently referenced. It'll actually make a nice addition to the annual Christmas movie catalog even though it's not directly a "Christmas movie."
When it comes to content, Iron Man 3 is as rough as the previous films, if not slightly more so. The language is still mixed, with several unnecessary uses of blasphemy included, and there's some minor sexual innuendo or implications. The violence is pretty strong with lots of destruction as well as news of a terrorist nature. A character is executed on live television, for example, and due to a biological advancement in some of the characters, they take on a fiery, molten quality and explode on occasion, even vaporizing a crowd of people at one point. Tony gets bloodied up pretty badly while other characters are shot to death suddenly. It's definitely not one for the little kids, just like the previous films.
Overall, Iron Man 3 is an exciting comic book flick that doesn't surpass the wonderfully crafted first entry, but it amps things up entertainment-wise. Those who were disappointed with Iron Man 2 are likely to enjoy this one a lot more. It's fun, visually delectable, and quite funny all at the same time. We did happen to see it in 3D, and I wouldn't say it added anything to the experience. Personally, I find the 3D effect to be somewhat distracting in a lot of scenes, making it even more difficult to tell what's going on at times. Only a few scenes looked really cool with the 3D effect, but overall, your eyes either adjust to the look over time, making it seem not really 3D at all, or it just isn't really all that noticeable enough for most of the movie. Iron Man 3 is the beginning of the next phase of Marvel's series of movies (Thor: The Dark World is coming later this year!), and I'm excited to see where it all goes next... (And be sure to stay for a short little scene after the credits for a brief cameo from one of the Avengers. It's not "important" by any means, but it's a cool and amusing one for fans of the Marvel series).- John DiBiase, (reviewed: 5/3/13)
Marvel One Shot: Agent Carter (15:29) - The latest "One Shot" is the most worthwhile and elaborate one yet. Sure it has a very contained and small-scale feel, but this One Shot answers the questions that many Captain America fans may have been wondering: What happened to Agent Carter after her man became a "Capsicle?" This fifteen-minute mini-movie has the lovely Hayley Atwell reprising her role as Agent Carter a year after Captain was presumed dead in the arctic. She struggles with a desk job that's been given to her but takes the opportunity to beat the pants off some goons when she takes an after-hours mission one night. The story ends with SHIELD showing interest in her and it also features a great cameo by Howard Stark and, at the end, Dum Dum Doogan. I loved Captain America: The First Avenger, so it's great to see some of the characters again who won't appear in the sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Deleted and Extended Scenes (16:20) - There are 10 "Deleted and Extended Scenes," all varying in worth. The first is an extended segment of Bill Maher's talk show (1 "a" word) with the second one being a purely painful extended one featuring Joan Rivers. It's a great thing both clips were abbreviated for the final film. Next, we have a series of takes and adlibs by Stark, Rhodes and The Mandarin which is rather amusing, but not really relevant to the story. Fourth, are more adlibs with Stark's super fan he encounters in a TV van. Next is an overwhelming string of adlibs from Downey, Jr. when his wrists are tied to the bed frame and he threatens his captors (1 "G-d," 1 "d*mn," 1 "a" word). The sixth shows Happy interacting with one of the Extremis thugs (with Happy using 1 "prick"). Next we see Mandarin taking a phone call. After that, there's a notation on the screen about a deleted storyline that had Tony meeting Harley's bully. We then see the scenes which first shows Tony encountering him (1 "h*ll") and then later he's involved in the water tower crash where they save him and Tony has to revive him. It's a really unnecessary storyline and it was a wise omission. The ninth sequence shows a different death for Maya where she explodes after transferring data to Tony. Lastly, there's a corny line where Iron Patriot says "Hey is that Thor?" to distract a guy and knock him out.
Gag Reel (5:07) - The gag reel is a fun one which mostly consists of goofing off on set, but it contains some bleeped strong profanity and some mild audible cuss words. (3 bleeped "F" words. Spoken: 1 "h*ll," 1 "d*mn," 1 "a" word).
Iron Man 3 Unmasked (10:59) - The first featurette begins with the preproduction party that took place in May 2012, probably shortly after the release of The Avengers to theaters. From there, they focus on how they destroyed the Stark house in the movie, including how they built a segment of it on a gimbal so the actors could interact with the wreckage. We also then discover that the little town set in Tennessee was actually a converted, small town in North Carolina. Finally, there's some coverage on the film's finale that was filmed at a port in Wilmington, NC.
Deconstructing The Scene: Attack on Air Force One (8:43) - This is a great featurette about how they created Iron Man's rescue of the Air Force One victims. As such, we see the stunt tests for the jumpers, how they hid parachutes on the skydivers, and the details on how they showed the stunt divers and effects in the final footage. It's all pretty interesting.
Exclusive Behind The Scenes Look at Thor: The Dark World (1:53): This painfully short teaser just adds some interview quotes to trailer footage most fans have already seen. It's way too short and not really worth the hype of calling it an "Exclusive Behind The Scenes Look."
Lastly, you can download a really cool free Jarvis app for your smart phone or tablet and unlock any of the 42 armor designs by scanning hidden codes across the menus on the Blu-Ray disc. The app just gives very brief descriptions of the unlocked armors and allows you to download a screenshot of them for your portable device.- John DiBiase, (reviewed: 9/22/13)
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
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