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Iron Man 3 - Spoiler-free review

Nathan Strum


When Iron Man 2 came out, for whatever reason, I just didn't have any interest in seeing it in the theater. Turns out, when I did watch it on Blu-ray, I liked it well enough to wish I'd gone and seen it on the big screen.


So with Iron Man 3, I decided to go see it in the theater. Some movies, you just gotta. Especially after The Avengers. And the trailers for Iron Man 3 looked pretty good.


I rarely go opening night to blockbusters, since the theaters are usually stupid-crazy-crowded. But I figured I'd go to a 12:30 AM, non-3D screening, and it probably wouldn't be too bad. After all, it's a Thursday night, and probably not everyone is used to staying up until 3 or 4 AM, like I've been doing the last week.


Which reminds me, you know the song "25 or 6 to 4"? That's what it's about. Writing a song at 25 or 26 to 4 in the morning. Who knew, right?


Where was I?


Oh, right. Last week. My work schedule went like this:


Monday - 16 hours

Tuesday - 13 hours

Wednesday - 17 hours

Thursday - 10 hours (short day!)

Friday - 14 hours

Saturday - 16 hours

And I stopped in on Sunday for an hour, just for good measure.


That all has to do with this annual fun-fest. Which I'll blog about after Wednesday.


But I digress.


Anyway, long story short, opening night, 12:30 AM, not an original idea. The place was packed. I was lucky to get a decent seat.


And I felt really, really old, too. Someone (probably high school or college age - which was 99% of the audience - don't they have school tomorrow? ) asked me if I'd collected comics "back in the good ol' days". Mercy. And he wasn't being smart-alecky either. I guess I'm just that old now.


Seriously. The 80's was 30 years ago. I collected comic books back then, and that was as long ago from now, as that was from the end of the Golden Age, fer cryin' out loud.


I'm lucky I didn't need an ear trumpet to watch the movie.


Oh right, the movie.


To cut to the chase, it wasn't as good as Iron Man, but it was better than Iron Man 2. A little. Maybe.


In some regards, it's more similar to Iron Man since a lot of the movie is about Tony Stark, rather than being necessarily about him as Iron Man (although they're one and the same, and in fact the movie does deal with that, but... you know what I mean). And given that Robert Downey, Jr., is in fine form in the film, that's a good thing. It would really be hard for them to find someone else to play Stark, if or when Downey decides to retire from the role. Much in the same way that it would be ridiculous for anyone to try replacing, say, William Shatner as Captain Kirk.


Yeah, they showed the Star Trek Into Darkness trailer. And Superman. And Wolverine. And 10 or 30 others. No Thor 2 though. Go figure. Marvel and all that.


So, the movie. Sorry. Easily distracted.


The movie starts off well with a good setup, and a villain (The Mandarin) played with

by Ben Kingsley. The problem is, the plot deals with acts of terrorism very similar to the recent attacks in Boston. Of course the movie was written, shot, and scheduled for release months ago, so it's hardly the fault of the filmmakers. It's just a coincidence that brings some very strong, very recent emotions unexpectedly back to the surface, and will likely affect how you perceive at least part of the movie. I know it did for me.


That being the case, there are still some very cool action set pieces throughout the movie, some funny moments (particularly with Downey), and lots of cool gadgetry. Some of the better scenes just involve Tony Stark, being his resourceful self. He's not just a guy in a suit. He's formidable with pretty-much anything at his disposal. But of course, the suits are cool.


I do have one major gripe about the film. Well, two. But to describe them adequately would ruin the whole "Spoiler-free" title.


So let's see if I can dance around them a little bit. I'll still use Spoiler tags, just in case. Please respond in the comments with Spoiler tags if needed, too.


The first, and most major one,

is basically a cop-out regarding one of the major characters. The build-up is there, but the payoff is zilch. The end result is unsatisfying, and seems like a cheap gimmick, and a waste of a good character. I kept expecting them to reverse out of it with a double-fake-out, but they didn't.



The second just seemed a bit too obvious.

Maybe because there are images from the film (including in the trailer) that are spoilers - where you see someone in a shot that you don't see yet in the film, but know it's coming, therefore that person has to be around for that shot to occur. 1+1=2. Maybe it was just telegraphed too much. Maybe it was just too convenient for my tastes. But it didn't seem completely satisfying to me. Up until that point, Stark had used all of his wits and technology to get out of a jam, but then they just kind of went with what I felt was a too much of a comic-booky solution.



Oh, and a few things just really didn't make any sense. But I guess if you're expecting logic from a comic book movie, then you're watching the wrong movie.

"Oh and hey Jarvis, by the way, do this." Tabula rasa, and all that.



There were some aspects of the film I felt were a little predictable, some of that certainly owing to the trailers that are out there. Also, I felt that some of the editing was poor, resulting in scenes where I wasn't quite sure exactly what happened, or how something happened, or why. I'm sure on a second or third viewing I'd get it. But a good editor will make sure the audience gets it the first time through. (Again - maybe I'm just old.)


All in all though, the movie was a good action romp. Good acting. Good effects. The audience liked it well enough, although I can't say they were cheering wildly or anything like that. Maybe it was the late hour. Still, overall it was a good popcorn flick.


What really makes the film work, as with the previous two (and let's face it, a large part of The Avengers) is Robert Downey, Jr. He shines in the film. He brings a really likable quality to Tony Stark, neuroses and all, and he's surrounded by a good (and at times exceptional) supporting cast. Particularly with a precocious kid (Ty Simpkins) that Tony Stark befriends.


So I'll give Iron Man 3 a 7.8/10.


Hmm... I guess that's a lower score than I gave Iron Man 2. Well, maybe this will hold up better when it gets re-run on TV. It certainly hasn't hurt Iron Man 2 any.


And yes... stay through the end credits.

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I saw this yesterday as part of an Iron Man Marathon at the Alamo Drafthouse. This included Iron Man 1, Iron Man 2, Avengers (3D) and Iron Man 3 (3D). After seeing the first three movies I have to say that Iron Man 3 was a bit of a disappointment. I think the technology of the suits has gotten a bit out of control, although the final scene with the army of suits was pretty cool. I have no idea how close any of the technology is to the comics. The movie's nemesis was weak and uninspiring. Robert Downey, Jr. was great in his role, although I may be growing tired of one one-liner after another.


I'm not a big fan of the RealD 3D presentation. To me it's a distraction, since it just doesn't seem natural at all. And anything moving at high speed (which you can expect quite a bit of in an Iron Man movie) is often a blurry mess.


After the movie was over, nobody clapped or cheered or anything like that. Which I would have expected in a theater full of people willing to sit through four movies in a row, that is, if the movie was worth cheering over. Interestingly, though, everyone sat through the entire credits, knowing there'd likely be something at the end. Of course, there was, and it was definitely worth waiting for.



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I haven't actively followed the comics for years, but I looked up Iron Man's armor a little while ago and the tech there is way beyond the movie. Apparently in the comic books, the armor is now hidden away inside his bones and then it sort of folds out from his insides, which is what the Extremis technology referred to in the movie originally was. To me, that's just silly - even for a comic book (and that's saying something). So I'm glad they didn't go that route in the movie (and hope they don't in subsequent films).


Anyway, yeah, I'd agree it was a bit of a disappointment. Good, but not great. Avengers is a particularly hard act to follow. And I didn't bother with 3D for exactly the reasons you described. 3D works okay for some movies (Wreck-It Ralph, Tron Legacy), but I'd rather see 2D any day.

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I just read through that article--amazing how many variants there have been with the Iron Man armor. I see some elements from those armors used in the movie--in particular, the modular armor (which I think is a bit ridiculous), and the telepresence armor. The reason I find the modular armor a bit crazy is that each individual module would need to have its own power source, its own means of propulsion and vectoring, sensors, and a computer system to control all these systems.


Interesting about the Extremis armor, I do wonder if we'll see more of that in the future, especially because of Pepper. I do like how they show the progression of the suits between the movies (including The Avengers), but I wonder how far they'll go.


I didn't have a choice as far as the 3D goes for Avengers and IM3, at least for the Iron Marathon. There an audible groan in the audience when they stated the last two movies would be in 3D (this was known in advance, but it was still amusing).



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I think one of the suits (the bulky one that bashes through the shipping containers) may have been a nod to the Hulkbuster suit. Don't know though. But that would make for a pretty awesome movie fight.

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Yeah, that bulky suit was interesting--I wouldn't be surprised if it was a nod to the Hulkbuster suit. Maybe Iron Man will make an appearance in the next (or some future) Hulk movie.


Oh, since you mentioned trailers, the ONLY trailer we saw before Iron Man 3 was for Thor 2. I enjoyed the first movie (and just picked it up on Blu-Ray recently), so I'm looking forward to this one.



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We saw just about every other trailer - but none really got the audience worked up. I expected better response, but maybe by then everyone just wanted the movie to start.

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Movies today are for people who were born in the 1990s. If you are older than that, give people a break and keep your old man smell at home. Just sit there in your easy chair and wait for death as you watch reruns of M*A*S*H and Mork & Mindy.

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