Whimsy, one-liners, breath-taking action sequences: Iron Man 3

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Summer movie season 2013 has launched with a bang (and clang) of endearingly smart-aleck-y Robert Downey, Jr. encased in his (now) trademark Iron Man armor.

Iron Man 3 is a genetically engineered hit from the Mouse House of Ideas, those wunderkinds at Marvel/Disney.

It is a smart, fun, glib theme park ride of a movie with absolutely no shame about entertaining eager-to-be-pleased moviegoers across the land/globe. And it is a worthy follow-up to last summer’s crackerjack Avengers.

After the bloated, dumb, and incomprehensible Iron Man 2 (a monumental letdown from the first film), this “threequel” is a fine, if at times derivative, return to form.

All the principals sparkle, from Downey, Jr. (of course) to Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle and Jon Favreau. The script revels in its rat-a-tat dialogue, like some postmodern hybrid of The Thin Man, The Front Page, and TV’s Big Bang Theory. Paltrow and Downey make a delightful couple, which is saying something, since otherwise I always find Paltrow as interesting as drying paint.

But what really makes this one sing is the addition of three great Brit/Aussie thespians Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, and Rebecca Hall…who show their American counterparts how it’s done. Bringing Masterpiece Theatre gravitas and Goon Show cheek to the party, these three inject the proceedings with a lovely zip. I don’t want to spoil the third act twist, but Kingsley has great fun with a role that veers wildly from spooky to silly, somehow channeling Gregory Peck, Osama Bin Laden, Russell Brand, and Sacha Baron Cohen. Yup, you read that sentence correctly.

And the ever-wonderful Pearce gives us a real actor’s take on the same megalomaniacal schtick Sam Rockwell ran into the ground in the last film, but convincingly and compellingly … and with much better hair.

Whether director/screenwriter Shane Black intended Iron Man 3 to be a bit of a polemic on the self-perpetuating circus industry that the self-proclaimed “War on Terror” has become, the film has a very interesting take on the power and money to be had by keeping all of us living in fear…of everything. Unlike Christopher Nolan’s somber, somber, somber take on a similar theme in last summer’s Dark Knight Rises, Black sneaks said message into his popcorn-chomping audience’s brains through whimsy, one-liners, and breath-taking action sequences. Well done!

15 thoughts on “Whimsy, one-liners, breath-taking action sequences: Iron Man 3

  1. Just saw it today and truly enjoyed it – glad that Robert Downey, Jr. still brings his A game to this franchise. I also really like the music they choose for these films: I got reacquainted with Suicidal Tendencies “Institutionalized” in the first one and loved the Christmas music – even in April, it still had that groove.

  2. wowser, i am proud to know you…the best reviewer ever! sir ben appeared on the colbert show this week…rather testy interview but they parted friends i guess? ;D this sounds like i actually may like this movie…i loved the first one!

    • thanks, Susie! yeah, I have a feeling Sir Ben in real life is a bit of a prima donna. this was one of the first times I completely enjoyed him onscreen. I do think you’ll like this one – it isn’t as good as the first but a worthwhile sequel. a bit overlong at times and with some silly moments, but I liked it

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