Craig's Movie Breakdown: "Iron Man 3"


Craig's Movie Breakdown: "Iron Man 3"

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Three things to know before the movie:
1. Congratulations Disney! The Mouse House bought Marvel comics for 4 Billion dollars in 2009, leading to a huge mess in the Hollywood world because many of those Marvel characters already have movie deals with Fox (X-Men) and Columbia (Spider-Man) among others. But Disney and Paramount seem to have closed the gap and more are expected to. This will be the second Marvel film Disney will release (after huge box office draw “The Avengers”) and already “Iron Man 3” is golden at the foreign box office, earning a reported $195.3 million.

2. Shane Black replaces Jon Favreau in the directors chair. He’s a talented guy who wrote the first “Lethal Weapon” movie as well as the funny, entertaining, but extremely underrated “Last Action Hero”for Arnold Schwarzenegger. His first directing job was the funny crime thriller“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”, which also starred Robert Downey Jr. and won several critics choice awards.

3. Robert Downey Jr. has been the subject of much speculation over the past couple months. His contract with Marvel will be up soon, he’s getting more expensive, he wants to take a break in order to take on some other acting roles, “The Avengers 2” may be his last run as Tony Stark. Director Shane Black thinks Downey will be back for an “Iron Man 4” while co-star Gwyneth Paltrow thinks that the series could just be over. But this quote from Downey makes one think that as long as the character still has some excitement left, he’ll come back in the future. (Screenrant) “I put so much onus on Iron Man 3. Iron Man 3 was supposed to answer all the questions for the audience, cure all of my uncomfortable moments in the past with playing this character, and get in every idea that fell by the wayside in the last three movies. And then we shot the movie and I still feel there’s a couple other things we’ve gotta do.” Marvel has a strong library of characters. They’ll be fine until Downey decides when he wants to come back.


What more could a super hero fan ask for than a guy like Robert Downey Jr.? He has so effortlessly controlled the screen for four films with a combination of wit and charisma. You just wish the rest of the movies could always be as great, but as is, only the first one really managed to cross into that territory with near flawless attention to character as well as action sequences.

I wonder why though? The comic books these movies are based on are stories, they have character arcs, they go edgy and dark, they manage to both entertain as well as immerse you in a characters dilemma. But in Shane Black’s “Iron Man 3”, it seems to work less on emotion than on the talents of Downey and the pretty fun overall pace. The result is a movie that’s better than the second, but no where near the first.

Downey’s third go round as Tony Stark finds the mechanical genius continuing to tinker with his many suits; now they have the ability to move without a human host. This serves as a distraction for Tony, who has been struggling with PTSD ever since a hole opened up in the sky and he and the rest of the Avengers had to do battle with all types of dimensional creatures in NYC. In a scene early on, it gets so bad for Tony that he scares his girlfriend and assistant Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow, her and Downey not nearly as endearing as they once were) half to death. But this is as serious as the filmmakers wish to take it. There are just a few more attacks (unfortunately played for laughs) but then the storyline is done away with, the life-changing effects never really felt.

Instead the obstacles are mostly just human as Tony, seemingly more James Bond than super hero this time around as his suit is mostly powered down, is forced to go on the run to investigate bombings with no real bombs. A terrorist known as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) appears in video-taped messages threatening to attack America and the president. He seems to be a cold-blooded figure who sounds a bit like Richard Nixon and looks like Rasputin. Kingsley plays the role well, especially in the second half where he goes full-on eccentric but without giving too much away, i'll just say he gets unfortunately minimized as a villain. Another villain is Killian (Guy Pearce, bland), who we first see as a long blonde-haired, severely disabled, and homely looking nerd in flashback before he suddenly looks like a character out of “Miami Vice” the rest of the time. He’s an advanced mechanics guy who has managed to create his own race of regenerating super soldiers with an overheating side effect.

Downey is less the reluctant, cynical anti-hero now but he can still get a snarky laugh very easily and he’s managed to humanize this character well. The action set pieces and special effects are also something to see, especially a spell-binding missile attack on Stark’s mountain-top estate.

The finale goes with a big, expensive-looking action set-piece on an oil rig but by that time the movie has already established a jokey, inoffensive vibe. Nothing seems terribly intense because the edges have been sanded down and the outcome never in doubt. It’s amusing though, especially considering Tony’s military pal Rhodey (Don Cheadle), who is now the man inside the government-funded robotic suit horribly named the Iron Patriot, is on hand for some ribbing.

“Iron Man 3” isn’t so much a bad movie as one that wants to entertain an audience rather than sweep them up in compelling characters. Given how well the first movie managed to do so, this is a disappointment. Few movies manage to get away with committing such an act, but few movies have an ace in the hole like Robert Downey Jr.

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