When Marvel’s The Avengers movie came out last year, with cinematic representations of some of my favorite superheroes — Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury and, of course, Iron Man — I thought it couldn’t get any better.
I was wrong. Very, very wrong.
Marvel Comics continues its winning streak with the release of the third Iron Man movie, called, oddly enough, Iron Man 3, directed by Shane Black, starring Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and Guy Pearce.
And, dudes, it. Is. Straight. Up. Awesome!
If The Avengers cranked the superhero action dial up to 11 and then broke it off (and it did. It so very much did), then Iron Man 3 managed to turn down the dial just a little. The great part, though, is that even with the superhero action dialed down, the movie continues rocking hard, with the bass turned up so it vibrates the cars two streets over, shatters windows for several blocks and makes the milk in your stomach churn to butter.
It’s a good movie, is what I’m trying to say.
Really, though, after The Avengers, there was no way to keep going up. It had to be a smaller, more personal story, if for no other reason than so we didn’t wonder why Tony Stark didn’t call in his new buddies to help get him out of a jam.
Director Black and star Downey, Jr. manage this by taking a lot of the focus off Iron Man and putting more of the emphasis on its pilot, billionaire industrialist Tony Stark. He’s rich, appallingly intelligent, dating a good and good-looking woman and he’s about to fall completely apart. He can’t sleep. He has anxiety attacks. And he’s hiding out from his best friend and soul mate, Pepper Potts.
It all goes back to the horrors he experienced over the skies of New York with his fellow Avengers. He almost died. He faced down gods, aliens and an atomic bomb. And just the thought of it is driving him crazy.
In the latest movie, Tony Stark is drawn into a terror campaign being waged by the Mandarin, who has the technical savvy to take over all airwaves and the ruthlessness to execute a man on live television just to prove a point. The Mandarin is played with chilling precision by Sir Ben Kingsley’s character. It’s a brilliant move, bringing Kingsley in for the role.
When Stark’s best friend and former bodyguard, Happy Hogan (played by Jon Favreau, the man who directed the first two films) is caught in one of the Mandarin’s teaching points (what we call an explosion), Stark flat-out challenges the Mandarin to try and stay alive with the Iron Man hunting him.
From that point on, things do not go well for Stark. Especially when a former girlfriend surfaces and says she believes her boss could be working for the Mandarin. And they’re both using an experimental formula she created called Extremis, which allows them to hack the human body, creating explosive super soldiers.
Most of the movie is taken up by Tony Stark, without his armor, trying to protect the one thing without which he cannot live: Pepper Potts. The rest of the country. . . Well, he’ll get to it. But a man has to have his priorities.
With Robert Downey, Jr., behind the most famous ‘stache in the world, I’d watch an entire movie of superspy Tony Stark running around inventing stuff. His interaction with just about everybody in the cast is nothing short of magnificent.
This dudes, is a fantastic movie. You need to go see it as quickly as possible. Heck, Hyper Lad, Zippy the College Boy and I even took She Who Must Be A Bit Skeptical About These Sorts Of Movies and she loved it.
This rates an easy 6 dudes out of five. Yeah, you read that right. It’s that good.
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