What a great hero! Confident, yet human and vulnerable, strong willed and yet shows flaws that give him depth and disposition. An ‘action man’ who does everything in his power to stop those who seek to destroy and do great harm to those around him and protect “The one thing he can’t live without”, yet he is greatly beset or distressed by the outcome of his decisions. This always seem to lead him on a wild ride adventure. A thrilling adventure with a hero who has been familiarized over half a century since making his first appearance in Issue #39 Tales of Suspense, Marvel Studios 1963. Stan Lee breathed life into Iron Man and created the character’s heart and soul and was backed up by artists, Jack Kirby and Don Heck, who worked hard to give him his unique physical characteristics we have all come to know and love.
Iron Man 3 premiered May 3rd in America after grossing over $198 million dollars opening overseas. This action packed conglomeration of special effects, firmly engaging characters, and solid story-line may pull into the lead as the top grossing film in America. But enough about the money, let’s get down to the important things.
“Did this film do well?” or simply put,
“is it good?” and “Does it hold its own against the standards of the harshest of critics?”
“Was it a good story?”
“Was it entertaining?”
(And more likely the reason you are reading this blog…) “Is this a film worth seeing in Theaters or should you wait until it comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray?”
This film is astounding visually and puts our hero, Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr. at risk in every move he makes and every turn of the story to a point where the audience is on their seats as to whether he will actually make it through the adventure this time or not. This is one of the more attractive qualities of the film and the entire film is captivating.
This brings us to the visual artwork and design, digital lighting and CGI overall, which was remarkable and almost ground breaking. I have never seen a special effects credit the size that this film had. The Avengers came close, but this took the cake as names ran by for almost a minute. And the crew size showed in the grandeur of the film’s creative art. One thing that impressed me was all the lighting detail for the effects. The team did a great job of fitting digital elements into real footage to capture the intensity and danger of the situation as if it were really happening. The Iron Man Effects team can be safely referred to as masters of explosions–Not like Transformers director Michael Bay–but Shane Black masterfully brought the team to a unique and very effective style. The most complex scene (SPOILER) is at the end, during the final battle between the Iron Man army of suits and Aldrich Killian played by Guy Pearce, when Tony bounds through a wrecked boat dock changing from suit to suit fighting forces that Aldrich leads in attempts to publicly execute the president while he is suspended in the air and wears the Iron Patriot armor. This scene required such intense detail and at high speed action that the fact that it came through without any flaws is phenomenal. The scene could have very easily ended up as a train wreck. During an earlier scene as Aldrich tests his formula for a concoction that gives a host the ability to regenerate, there is a soldier girl whose arm is very poorly composited and you can clearly tell that she was wearing a green sleeve and it was glanced over. That being said, it is the only nit pick I have of the film.
Given that the special effects were incredibly well done, the stunts were equally amazing. Though mostly computer generated stunt men as most of the stunts were too dangerous to actually use a human body, the amount of stunts actually completed by the cast turned out well. The main scene that stood out to me was the scene where Tony, stuck inconveniently in a malfunctioning suit, must save approximately 13 people from falling out of the air force 1 plane. This does not include the president as he has already been taken by the Mandarin. The stunt team was assembled of various stunt artists and skydivers and the whole scene was shot over Oak Island shore, and though they may have paid $143 dollars per day to film there, considering the effect that scene had and the edge of your seats intensity and suspense, it was well spent. In one of the great scenes of the film, Robert Downey Jr. forgets about his age as he is about to hit 50 and does the stunt for a 30-foot wire rigged jump regardless. He is used to hanging around and working with younger actors and has to remind himself that he is getting older and should probably forgo some of the stunts. This ended badly with a 6 week recovery from a busted ankle and was prolonged by his classic “Don’t Cut” policy in order to capture his improvisations that are part of what gives Tony his character, as he and Downey are one in the same.
The quality and genuine life of the characters in the Marvel world were vibrantly displayed through Robert Downey Jr. as always, but also remarkably through the rest of the cast as well. Ben Kingsley had a very versatile role as the Mandarin and played excellently just as he had in “Hugo,” as the character George Milies. This role confidences me in my beliefs that “Ender’s Game”one of my all time favorite books, will be excellently attributed with his skill and delicate character study. Gwyneth Paltrow has come a long way in her acting skills and did a great job being more portrayed as a heroine as she saves Tony’s life multiple times in the film, although she gets a come back of “I saved you first,” from her heroic partner. The transformation of Guy Pearce in this film reminds me of his remarkable transformation physically for the film “Prometheus” and I think that audiences will be excited to see what he can do next in his upcoming roles and what challenges he will take.
I firmly believe that the writing was solid to an extent, although there could have been some alterations to how things were perceived and adapted as the film doesn’t per se follow the comics that dictate the Mandarin. Though that may be, I think that the strongest part of this film was the characters and the light that shone from their personas in iconic and memorable ways throughout the plot. For example; the scenes with the young boy in Tennessee where Tony is stranded and has to figure out how to get back and save the world without any of his gadgets other than a malfunctioning suit. there are some touching moments where he realizes that he wants a family with Pepper and he wants it more than he wants fame and fortune and even the life of a superhero. This is not simply stated in dialogue, but the writers ease it into your minds through different experiences and unrelated conversations with the child. Shane Black teamed up with writer, Drew Pearce–who wrote the upcoming film “Pacific Rim” and currently works on the 3rd Sherlock Holmes film, to create the screenplay for Iron Man 3 and they worked hard to bring back the true essence of Tony Stark. Instead of having him rely heavily on the suits and creating just another block buster, they wrote him into a trying situation where he was forced to go back to the roots of his genius and create contraptions that were not far from Iron Man’s design, but different enough to give a new and refreshing touch to the mechanic behind the iron suit. There was a passion and an energy there that made me excited to see more. One addition to the story that was a positive and a negative, was the connection to New York and what happened with the Avengers. Clearly it affected him and rightly so–giving him nightmares and a tension and uneasiness that led to many of his rash decisions, but at the same time I gathered the hint that they were trying too hard to connect it to the previous film and it wasn’t working as well as they had initially conceptualized. The script was solid and very entertaining to listen to. I like films that keep me listening for the next line a character might say as the dialogue is equally important as all the lights and clockwork, and this was definitely one of those films.
I would give this film a well balanced 4 out of 5 for the quality and excellent performance as a whole. This film should not be skipped in theaters and is a definite first choice in my opinion when going to the movie theater. I was highly entertained and wrapped into the arc of the film and felt like I was right there in the action with the characters. I hope that more films like this come about in the future and look to the stars for the next film, “Thor: The Dark World”. The Marvel Studios world of the Avengers is still in the running and the world’s searching for heroes will keep them strong. Thank you for reading my review and I hope to see you in the theater soon to watch this film. Be on the look out for me next review of “Classic films of M. Night. Shamalayan: What went wrong?” as well as my…
“Trailer Review; Ender’s Game”. Both will be coming soon.
I am extremely excited for this film and have been waiting for it to come to the big screen since I read the book almost 8 years ago. One of the greatest science fiction novels by Orson Scott Card is on its way and we would be fools not to get excited about this next Science Fiction Buzz that could spring out of this film.
NOTE: In Entertainment Weekly Magazine of May 10, 2013 Issue #1258, EW talks through the plot of the film and go in depth about what this film brings to the future of Marvel Studio films.