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Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3

Plagued with worry and insomnia since saving New York from destruction, Tony Stark (Robert Downey), now, is more dependent on the suits that give him his Iron Man persona -- so much so that every aspect of his life is affected, including his relationship with Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) . After a malevolent enemy known as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) reduces his personal world to rubble, Tony must rely solely on instinct and ingenuity to avenge his losses and protect the people he loves.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Science fiction
Length: 130 min.
Rating: PG-13

Movie Details

Cast: Robert Downey, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Jon Favreau, Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale, Stephanie Szostak, Paul Bettany, William Sadler, Dale Dickey, Ty Simpkins, Miguel Ferrer, Wang Xueqi, Shaun Toub
Directed by: Shane Black
Produced by: Kevin Feige
Official Site: http://marvel.com/ironman3

Movie Review

FILM REVIEW: IRON MAN 3
By Michael Phillips
Tribune Newspapers Critic
2 1/2 stars

A little too much and a little not enough, director and co-writer Shane Black's "Iron Man 3" nonetheless has everything Disney and Marvel need to keep the "Avengers" superhero constellation shining and regenerating well into the 23rd century. It's what you call a pre-hit: As of this writing (Tuesday, 8:57 a.m. CST) the movie already has zoomed past the $200 million mark in worldwide box office.

Eighty percent of the globe has already gotten a look at it. North America's essentially an afterthought, if hundreds and hundreds of millions of likely dollars can be called that.

Here's where we are with Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., who the film's background materials remind us is the biggest star on the planet by measurement of franchise association (the "Sherlock Holmes" movies and the "Iron Man"/"Avengers" universe). The climactic alien melee in last year's all-star reunion "The Avengers" has left Stark nerve-racked and an insomniac workaholic. A new global terrorist, very much in the bin Laden mold, has oozed onto the scene: The Mandarin, from the comic books. As portrayed by Ben Kingsley, with a strange, Laurence Olivier-in-"The-Betsy" dialect, you're not quite sure where he's coming from, either geographically or ideologically, which is the point.

Meantime, fire-breathing mutants are wreaking havoc, at one point taking down Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. The Mandarin goes about his business, destroying Stark's home, slaughtering innocent civilians in the name of teaching America a lesson. Stark ends up in rural Tennessee, where in a gleefully cynical bid for a preteen audience (a few years too young for the violence in "Iron Man 3," I'd say), Stark befriends a bullied 8-year-old (Ty Simpkins) who becomes his tag-along and sometime savior.

A strange detail: In "Iron Man 3," Stark no longer needs to be in the Iron Man suit. He's able to operate the thing remotely when needed. The movie's like that, too. It's decent superhero blockbustering, but rather remote and vaguely second-hand. At this point, even with Black's flashes of black humor, the machinery is more or less taking care of itself, offering roughly half of the genial wit and enjoyment of the first "Iron Man."

Black's not especially lucid or creative in staging massive action sequences; even the major set-piece, in which Stark attempts the mid-air rescue of Air Force One passengers, is a medium wow at best. (Which qualifies it more for "yeah, big whoop" status.) On the other hand, when the truth behind The Mandarin arrives, it's a wild "reveal" and very much in tune with Black's sense of self-referential showbiz humor, which he twisted into a very interesting pretzel in "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang."

From the "Lethal Weapon" franchise to "The Last Boy Scout," Black loves jocular sadism, and there's a lot of it (too much) in "Iron Man 3." When Stark goes on a killing spree, it's as if we've been dropped back into Mel Gibson/Danny Glover-land. For all the trauma Stark's supposed to be shouldering, Downey rarely seems less than superhumanly cool. He's a huge talent, verbally adroit and quick on his feet, even when the feet are encased in digital metal. But one of the things I resisted about the second "Iron Man," the parts where Stark became a badly behaved, trashed-out party boy, has cooled into a kind of imperious remove in "Iron Man 3."

No less than "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," which placed a detective story inside the world of Hollywood wannabes, "Iron Man 3" treats Stark and Downey as untouchable superstars, just gliding through. It's not without its payoffs; I enjoyed a lot of it. But overall, last year's "Avengers" delivered the bombastic goods more efficiently than this year's Marvel.

MPAA rating: PG-13 (for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief suggestive content).

Running time: 2:09.

Cast: Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man); Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts); Don Cheadle (James Rhodes/War Machine); Guy Pearce (Aldrich Killian); Ben Kingsley (The Mandarin).

Credits: Directed by Shane Black; written by Black and Drew Pearce, based on the comic books by Stan Lee, Don Heck, Jack Kirby and Larry Lieber; produced by Avi Arad and Kevin Feige. A Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures release.

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