Review: Iron Man 3 (2013) – dir. Shane Black

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WARNING: Extreme fangirling imminent. If you’re not into that kind of thing (and I can hardly blame you), you would do well to skip the bolded paragraph below:

Before I begin, it is important to note that I am in LOVE with Robert Downey Jr. and would burn down an orphanage if it meant I could meet him and possibly do devastating things to his criminally sexy self. In the interest of maintaining a semi-serious film blog, I am using this time to get my fangirling out of the way before actually reviewing the film in a semi-professional manner: ASDGHASKLGHDOIGHAHSDLGHAIDOGHAOGAHSGOHEOHBSSHG I FUCKING CAN’T WHY IS HE SO PERFECT AND GORGEOUS AND GOOD AT LITERALLY EVERYTHING THE MAN CAN SING, ACT, DANCE, AND MAKE PEOPLE OF ALL WALKS OF LIFE AND SEXUALITY SWOON LIKE WHO EVEN IS GEORGE CLOONEY GIVE ME ROBERT ANY DAY WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO LIKE THE ONLY PERSON THAT MAKES ME ANGRIER AT THEIR PERFECTION IS BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH UGH UGH UGHHHHHHHH WHYYYYYY.

Thank you very much for your patience. And now, to get on with it:

So. Jon Favreau takes off the director’s hat he’s donned for the first two installments of Robert Downey Jr.’s autobiography Iron Man and passes it along to Shane Black, probably best known for the Lethal Weapon series and my personal favorite of his: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005). Fans of the same movie will recognize a lot of snappy dialogue in IR3 (yes, I am too lazy to spell out the title. Shut up; it’s finals week) that’s in a very similar vein to KKBB. While I found the funnier dialogue to be a welcome addition to the film, much of the criticism toward the film was about the dialogue. Plenty of people felt that it distracted from the heart of the film and that it turned IR3 into a comedy rather than a superhero film. This is a valid criticisms because the film is chock-full of one-liners. But I felt that they were especially present during RDJ’s scenes with Harley (Ty Simpkins) and helped build their relationship in the film.

Ty Simpkins, by the way, blew my freaking mind. You may have recognized him as Dalton from Insidious (2010), or if you’re like me, you totally didn’t because that kid is a powerhouse now. He totally carried his own against the perpetually snarky Tony Stark and was the perfect mixture of funny, annoying and adorable. A Stark in miniature, if you will. For once, a child in an action movie wasn’t used solely for emotional manipulation, but as a fairly round character in his own right.

The character development in this installment was pretty stellar, too. Pepper Potts is a strong female character and without giving too much away plot-wise, REEEEEAAAALLY holds her own at the end of the climax. Some people wrote it off as a deus ex machina, but I enjoyed it. Go see it to know what the hell I’m on about. But Pepper aside, what was really remarkable to me was that Tony admitted right from the beginning of the movie that he has panic attacks. Do you understand how rare that is?? Movies with male protagonists with issues spend 75% of the movie trying to hide or ignore their psychological problem(s) until it blows up in their faces during the climax and they have to overcome it to end the movie properly. Not this time. Tony acknowledges his panic attacks and…doesn’t really deal with it too much aside from telling Harley to fuck off occasionally, but the fact that he admitted it is a huge step in changing the way future characters in future films deal with things of that nature.

In this installment, we are introduced to the latest villain: the Mandarin. Again, can’t give too much away, but if you’ve seen The Incredibles (2008) (I haven’t, but saw enough GIFs on Tumblr outlining the similarities), then you’ll know what’s up. Ben Kingsley’s performance had me rolling. And while Guy Pearce always impresses me in everything that he’s in, the trivia on IMDb states that Jude Law was considered for the role.

STOP RIGHT THERE – TIME FOR SOME SHERLOCK HOLMES FANRAGE: DO YOU EVEN REMOTELY FATHOM HOW FUCKING PERFECT THAT HERO/VILLAIN MATCHUP THAT WOULD BE. ALL THOSE CROSSOVER FANFICTIONS FALLING THROUGH THE CRUST OF THE EARTH – THAT’S THE SOUND YOU’RE HEARING RIGHT NOW. IRONLOCK MANHOLMES VERSUS DR. JOHNRICH WATSIAN. UGH, YOU’RE TEARING ME APAHT, IRON MAN.

Ahem. Anyway.

I’m not so good at reviewing superhero movies because they’re based off of comic books that I don’t read. I can’t comment on how well they transcend different mediums. However, maybe that’s advantageous because I can comment on the nature of the film without making a comparison to the original source material. I dunno, maaaan.

I saw the film in LieMAX 3D (sorry not sorry, White Marsh AMC, I call it as I see it), and…eh. I had a headache before going in, so that did nothing to improve things. I think they’re getting their shit together where 3D is concerned because it’s looking better, but the extra expense still isn’t justified.

All in all, Iron Man 3 is a rockin’ good time with lots of laughs, lots of action, and lots of still not knowing where Robert ends and Tony begins. Sooooo totally okay with that.

Final Verdict: A


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