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REVIEW (no spoilers): "Iron Man 3": Best of the Iron Man Series By a Mile

(NO SPOILERS that I can think of.)
Disagree entirely with the "reviews" below. IM3 is actually the BEST of the Iron Man movies. Why? Because of the uber-intelligent, fast-moving, brilliantly paced script by Shane Black and Drew Pearce, and because this movie delved far further into the psyche and emotions of Tony Stark (as definitively portrayed by Robert Downey Jr.) instead of giving us gobs of big stupid CGI iron men bashing each other, which, really, we can see in a video game any day. (Well, there's some of that iron men bashing stuff, too, but the HUMAN side of "Iron Man 3" wins the day...and that alone makes it the best of the three.

Oh, I loved the other two IMs as well, especially the sheer exhilaration of the origin story in #1 -- and who can ever match an origin story? But this one is simultaneously darker and far funnier and way less comic-booky than the other two; it plays on cerebral level worlds above the first two (well, until it gets to the climactic Stuff Blowing Up All Over the Place scene, which is also classic Shane Black, but even that has a number of twists and turns that make it always watchable.)

It IS, however, a Shane Black movie through and through, and it has an entirely different tone than the first two. Black thrives on witty verbosity, in-jokes and rapid-fire delivery; his muse is RDJ, who embodies the quintessential Shane Black troubled/vulnerable/wisecracking hero as possibly no one else alive can do (Mel Gibson once did it in "Lethal Weapon," but I don't think he's that guy any more...).

If you don't like Shane Black, if you can't parse his particular brand of sardonic wit and brainy action, you may not like this movie -- but calling it a "disappointment" is a stretch, folks. That's your opinion, and like you know what, everyone has one. But you can't judge this movie based on the first two Iron Man movies. If anything, the comparison should be to "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" and, yup, "Lethal Weapon" (two of the most perfect action scripts ever written, and both used in film schools as examples of same...). This is also a movie where you'll benefit from repeat viewings, as I have no idea how anyone could possibly grasp all the quips and asides that speed by on just one viewing (especially with rowdy opening-week audiences).

I keep going back to the focus on the humanness and vulnerability of Tony in this movie. We see his abiding love for Pepper, and hers for him, in the midst of all the verbal sparring. We see his brokenness, too -- he's a human guy who came into contact with gods, the universe and the Great Beyond in his last go-round, and he's been completely unnerved by it. He's holding himself together by a thread, but if you've seen KKBB and Lethal Weapon, you know that sometimes the unhinged hero is the most resilient of them all when it comes down to brass tacks and taking down the bad guys. In deference to those who haven't seen it yet, I won't go into the movie's giant twist, but it's a hugely entertaining doozy, and anything that gets the fanboys as riled up as that has done HAS to be terrific.

This is also a movie that has some serious darkness to it -- it embraces issues like how America (like Tony Stark) can make enemies out of potential friends, thoughtlessly and without meaning to do so. It has an adult interacting with a cute little kid in a refreshingly non-saccharine, completely subversive sequence that is probably the finest thing in the movie. (Suffice it to say I will never hear the words "we're connected" again without falling off my chair laughing.) It is, in the end, utterly Tony's story (well, quite literally) and thank God he spends most of the movie out of the stupid suits and just being a smart guy trying to figure things out. I could watch Downey for hours doing simply that.

Alas, like "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows," which was head-and-shoulders better than the first Holmes movie because of the brilliant writing and pacing, "Iron Man 3" will be over some peoples' heads, too. Too smart for the room, one might say, I'm afraid. BUT -- the critical reception has been overwhelmingly positive (oh, my gosh -- TIME magazine's Richard Corliss! The L.A. Times! Entertainment Weekly! Leonard Maltin, The Atlantic, CNN, NPR, Boston Globe, Newsday, Village Voice - the preponderance of MAJOR critics have issued rave reviews). I for one can't wait to get my hands on the actual script, because, like all Shane Black scripts, it will be a keeper.

Country USA

Re: REVIEW (no spoilers): "Iron Man 3": Best of the Iron Man Series By a Mile

DAMM well written, Mary!!!! And I couldn't agree with you more!
I just saw this wonderful movie tonight! Just got home & got on DUF!

I believe you nailed it! This movie IS totally different in it's Style! The first two were great! And they had a very similar feel. But Shane put his own brand on this one! It's totally different! And wonderful!!
I'm certainly going back later this weekend for round 2! I'm sure there were little tid-bits I missed!

I LOVED IT!!!!!!

Country Arizona, USA

Age (opt) A few more than RDJ

Re: REVIEW (no spoilers): "Iron Man 3": Best of the Iron Man Series By a Mile

Thanks Mary. I enjoyed your review and agree with it totally! I loved the movie and plan to see it again this week! thanks for sharing your ideas with us.

Country Oregon

Re: REVIEW (no spoilers): "Iron Man 3": Best of the Iron Man Series By a Mile

Thanks for the insights. I was a bit drained when I left the showing last evening -- the pacing was so brisk that I felt overwhelmed by the action scenes. I like a film with "rests" between the "let's blow-a-bunch-of-stuff-up" sequences so I have time to process what I just saw. Shane Black's direction was so relentless, I felt like I was getting visually hammered.
That said, I loved how they shook up Tony (literally), and of course, the way Robert played all of that angst, anxiety and stress was terrific. And now that I've had 24 hours to process, I'm remembering all of the really great scenes between the stellar cast. Loved Rebecca Hall's Maya Hansen - great work with very limited screen time. Guy Pearce was fantastically twisted; Ben Kingsley...what can I say without a a whole bunch of spoilers except that he was marvelous. I thought Don Cheadle got cheated - they talked about the buddy-movie style in many interviews prior to release, and then gave us very little of that. And what they did with Gwyneth's Pepper Potts was shocking - I read DC Comics growing up, so wasn't clued in to the Extremis and Iron Legion story lines, nor aware of how Pepper became a "super" in her own right in the comic books. Ty Simpkins was perfect. The "heart" of the film was in Tony's stay with Harley, with T so vulnerable and this annoying but sweet kid pushing all of his buttons. Good stuff!
Anyway, I plan to see"IM3" again tomorrow. Still trying to wrap my head around the film's conclusion (and hoping it won't be the last time we see Robert as Tony).
I suspect at least some of the negative ratings are due to irate comic book fans (we know how protective they are about favorite characters and staying true to the original comix stories). The Mandarin is a favorite villain, and many reviewers have been all over how they rewrote (took too many liberties with) his storyline. And you know how movie fans expect each sequel to ramp up from the previous film. It would be so difficult to top the success of "The Avengers" given that the creative team was different (although I saw a thanks to Joss Whedon in the final credits, so wonder if he had his fingers in a few scenes?).
I'm just grateful they gave Robert such a good script to play with. Now we get to repeat-view so we can gather all of his quirky and spot-on line readings and hilarious facial expressions. Can't wait for the DVD...

Country USA

Re: REVIEW (no spoilers): "Iron Man 3": Best of the Iron Man Series By a Mile

Mary P.

If you don't like Shane Black, if you can't parse his particular brand of sardonic wit and brainy action, you may not like this movie -- but calling it a "disappointment" is a stretch, folks. That's your opinion, and like you know what, everyone has one. But you can't judge this movie based on the first two Iron Man movies.

I do agree with most of what you write, but the above quote bugged me a little. Isn't that exactly the point, that everything anyone feels about this movie is THEIR opinion? There's just no "right" or "wrong". And yes, everyone has one. Just as of course you can only ever be disappointed if you expected something in the first place. But of course people will expect some things and compare the movie to the other Iron Man movies rather than to KKBB, as it is, after all, a sequel. And that's ok, as much as it is ok that they're playing with certain expectations and breaking some of them. Wouldn't it be boring otherwise? ;)

Thing is, I loved the movie! Really! And I will see it again, a third time. And maybe even a fourth. And I usually don't do that. But I also don't feel that I am not allowed to say that I may have welcomed some AC/DC somewhere, for example ;)

I do, however, agree with the "maybe too smart", as a lot of people seem to be bothered with the Mandarin plot, which I totally don't understand. I mean, the purpose was not to make a 1:1 movie adaption of the comics and I think the way they dealt with the Mandarin is absolutely brilliant and very smart. I am actually a little hurt by the way the critical reviews developed during the last week, the movie was well over 90% until then on rotten tomatoes and it's currently at 79. And I think it deserves a lot better than that! While I may sound like the devils advocate here, the things I "criticize" are seriously absolutely minor and I feel that it should have scored way above 90%... I guess the last word isn't yet spoken, but I doubt it'll make it up to 90 again...

The only other thing I find important I want to mention here: Wholly pointed out to me that Shane Black said somewhere that they cut about 75 minutes out of the movie! And obviously without knowing what they're about, I could very well imagine that they would make the movie feel a little less rushed. I do very much hope that there will be some sort of DVD/blu ray release that includes most of this, that would be pure awesome!

Ok, let's face it, all in all it comes down to "the movie should have been longer". I absolutely loved it, I agree that it needs repeated viewings to get even better and I can't wait to go to see it again :)

Country UK

Age (opt) 29

Re: REVIEW (no spoilers): "Iron Man 3": Best of the Iron Man Series By a Mile

I saw the film again on Sunday, and loved it so much more. The plot was so complex the first time, I think I was just struggling to keep up. On the second viewing, I was able to focus in on the actors, great scenes and Robert's wonderful development of Tony from an fast-quipping, adorable walking ego to an actual grownup (without losing the quips and adorable). Definitely recommend going to see it again. Box office has been great, but all of us fans should strive to recommend it to friends, because of the weirdness of the second-round critics. When you're a big target, you have to learn to expect some low blows...
Some of the critics are being harsh (in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings) about the funny script mixing with the terror theme.. i.e, Hollywood once again "not taking the world we live in seriously." (Um... not really that kind of movie. Go see "Zero Dark Thirty" if you want serious.)
I suspect this film will grow in esteem as we gain more distance from the events of April in Boston. And likewise re the Blu-Ray/DVD Extra footage; can't wait to see what did not make the final cut. Heading out tomorrow for another showing...

Country USA

Re: REVIEW (no spoilers): "Iron Man 3": Best of the Iron Man Series By a Mile

So **** True Mary......"an acute observation" i can say

It is truly the best Iron Man i have ever seen. I have already saw it thrice and every time i am liking it more...the script is actually brilliantly written..a true Shane Black style which made me like it more...narrative, to see more of TONY STARK rather than his suit bashing up bad guys.

And the huge twist was like hilarious...even Jarvis seemed to be more humanly rather than just a programming, not like comic book at all...and that made it most special about it all
The press van part specially made me fall of the seat laughing
Pepper Potts(Gwyneth) was simply awesome and so was Rhodeys part "WARMACHINEROCKS" seriously

But all in all ROBERT really nailed it....A true IRON MAN FINALE!

Country India

Age (opt) 31