Friday, May 3, 2013

Featuring near nonstop action, this flick should be named ‘Iron Man 3 X 3’

By Steve Crum

Kudos and a solid “A” to the marketing machine for Iron Man 3. Co-star Ben Kinglsey, who plays the evil villain Mandarin, has been touting the movie and his part in it on various talk shows. What’s fun and intriguing about the film clip he shares is its clever deception. No, I will not spoil a key plot twist. Just prepare to be hoodwinked, thanks to screenwriters Drew Pearce and Shane Black. Black also directs this terrific Iron Man installment, which both exhilarates and exhausts. There’s a whole lot of good versus evil shakin’ goin’ on. Iron Man 3 rocks.

Although Jon Favreau does not direct this time, after helming the previous Iron Men, he reprises his Happy Hogan role. Hogan, if you recall, is the overprotective bodyguard of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) aka Iron Man. Favreau is is also executive producer, which befits this talented multitasker. Also returning is Gwyneth Paltrow as Stark’s vivacious assistant/secretary/girlfriend/now CEO of Stark Industries, Pepper Potts. Along for the high flying is Don Cheadle’s Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes. Rhodes is not only Stark’s buddy, he is also the Iron Patriot, our government’s red, white and blue Iron Man wannabe. 

Then there is Guy Pearce, portraying the brilliantly warped villain, Aldrich Killian. It turns out that Killian and The Mandarin have much more in common than is first apparent, which relates to the previously mentioned plot twist. Pearce, a much under-used actor in his film history, grandstands spectacularly here. Possessing superhuman strength, regenerative healing powers, and heated hands, Killian is the iron guy’s ultra-foe. 

The per se real time plot takes place in a present day America wherein frequent terrorist bombings have put our military and Commander-in Chief, President Ellis (William Sadler), on high alert. It would help if Iron Man were available, but he is pretty much retired. The government’s colorful Iron Man clone, Iron Patriot, is supposed to fill the void as he targets The Mandarin, a Fu Manchu-looking maniac who interrupts TV broadcasts to make threats, which he carries out, graphically live. 

Tony Stark seems unmoved until he is directly affected. Soap operatics aside, it is the action sequences (the oil rig finale) and plot detours (the Air Force One attack, kidnapping, and mass rescue) that make IM3 so jaw dropping awesome. Sandwiched between all the pyrotechnics and flying scenes is a great sub-story involving Stark and a youngster, Harley (Ty Simpkins). Their teamwork should really delight the younger viewers in the audience. 

By the way, moving Stark away from his self-centered, arrogant persona is a welcome character development. Unlike other Marvel heroes, Tony Stark has rarely been depicted as a sensitive guy. Then again, he obviously has issues, being subject to panic attacks.

If the grand, and I emphasize, grand finale, does not excite and soothe the savage Iron Man fan, what in the world will? It worked for me. Big time. 
GRADE on an A to F Scale: A
This trailer sets the proverbial stage for one exciting movie:

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