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Review: 'Iron Man 3'

Now THIS is a hero movie poster.
Now THIS is a hero movie poster.
Iron Man 3 -- Official Trailer UK Marvel | HD

Robert Downey, Jr. returns yet again for "Iron Man 3" (opening May 3 throughout San Diego).

When people ask me, "How do you like (blank) movie?" or "What would you rate (blank)?" I usually consider the type of film in question and assign my subjective grade accordingly. I use this grading filtration system most with superhero movies. I feel the premise, "for a superhero movie" is mandatory. Hero movies are an odd animal and must be handled as such. When I gear up for a nerdtastic superhero flick (this applies to "Star Wars," too), I prepare myself for too many one-liners, major lack of non-white male roles, hyper-super-unrealistic action, ridonculous "science" (ridonculous is more ridiculous than ridiculous), repetitiveness, and doing the same thing more than necessary.


I find that if I anticipate these elements, they're not as distracting during the movie. I prepared accordingly for "Iron Man 3" and have come up with the following:

On a superhero film scale of "Green Lantern" to "The Dark Knight," it's an admirable 8.75, on par with "The Avengers."

Here's the scoop.

Pepper Pots (the unjustly awarded "world's most beautiful woman," Gwyneth Paltrow) returns as the head of Stark Industries. Impeccably cool Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), suffering from anxiety and something like post traumatic stress disorder from his "Avengers" avenging, delves into his hobby of super suit manufacturing for distraction. This strains his relationship with Pepper, but that doesn't matter too much.

Iron Man comic rendering of Mandarin and the modern version, played by Ben Kingsley.
Iron Man comic rendering of Mandarin and the modern version, played by Ben Kingsley.

Meanwhile, brilliant scientists akin to Stark's genius have perfected body regeneration and super-humanization. With this technology, havoc is wreaked and innocent lives are lost, all under the mysterious name of the Mandarin (a returning villain from the Iron Man comic series). An attack from this ominous enemy puts Stark's long time friend Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) in the hospital. In the wake of this event, a heated Stark challenges Mandarin, and even publicizes the Stark home address. Predictably, his home is attacked, and in half consciously fleeing the ruins, he finds himself alone in Middle of Nowhere, USA with a powerless suit.

Here he finds the best sidekick ever. Stark and the ridiculously named Harley (Ty Simpkins), a young fatherless boy, have charming and funny chemistry. Together, they crank out the most hilarious lines of the film while simultaneously unraveling the Mandarin's schemes. Harley is also Stark's greatest motivator. He inspires Stark and rekindles the hero's fire lost through frustration and anxiety. From this sudden moment of revival, the rest of the film is non stop action badassery.

Stark infiltrates the Mandarin's lair, dismantles his security team with home improvement tools (more hilarity ensues here), he saves dozens from free falling death, he saves the president, and leads the coolest possible super suit brawl against the near indestructible Mandarin super humans.

The super suits ready for action.
The super suits ready for action.

It's everything an action hero movie needs without being a big mess like what the "Transformers" series have become. Michael Bay seems to think watching transformers transform for two and a half hours is enough to keep audiences hooked. The creative use of super suit technology in the Iron Man series continues to intrigue -- it's an added element of awesome unique to this title.

Like I said, on par with "The Avengers." Check it out.

Yes, something happens at the end of the credits. No, it's not very relevant.

Companion Viewing:

"Iron Man" (2008), "The Incredible Hulk" (2008), "The Avengers" (2012), "Thor" (2011) (Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth are very pretty people), "The Man in the Iron Mask" (1998)

I left out Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Iron Man 2 (2010) on purpose.

Relevant Reading:

The Flash!

Fun armor nerdery. And some more.

One fan's take on the Avengers films.

A non-white superhero in the works. (Took long enough.)

Fellow Junkies:

There is something I want to say so badly about the end of the film, but I must refrain to avoid spoilers. It almost happened, but didn't. It would have made the story more real, surprising, and gripping. For those who have seen the film -- can you guess what it is?

What would you have changed about the film?