Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


IRON MAN 3 (2013). Director: Shane Black.

Anthony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), whom the world knows is the hero Iron Man, issues a challenge to a terrorist known as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) and shortly after Stark's cliffside house is demolished by missiles. Another threat is posed by one Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who has developed Extremis technology that gives human beings explosive and fiery super-powers that can easily get out of control. Are Killian and the Mandarin working together? The Mandarin in this movie is nothing like the character in the comics, but the business with Extremis was taken from relatively recent Iron Man stories. Iron Man 3 is entertaining [although non-comics fans may wonder what the hell is going on] and generally fast-paced, although it can be awfully talky at times. The action scenes are pretty well-orchestrated, and the two best scenes detail the attack on Stark's house and a knock-out sequence when Iron Man rescues eleven people who have been sucked out of an airplane [surely some of them would have died from terror?]. The climax has Iron Man and Iron Patriot (Don Cheadle) -- formerly known as War Machine -- rescuing the president and having a knock-down drag-out with a super-charged Killian. Iron Man 3 has a little too much humor and comes dangerously close to camp at times. Downey gets across the movie Stark's flippancy, but not much else. Guy Pearce steals the picture as Killian, easily giving the most impressive and intense performance. Don Cheadle is miscast, but Gwyneth Paltrow is fine as Stark's girlfriend and associate Pepper, and there are notable turns by Rebecca Hall as Myra Hansen, James Badge Dale as Savin [both associates of Killian's], and Ty Simpkins as little Harley, who helps Tony midway through the picture. Ben Kingsley is also good as the movie's rather weird reinterpretation of Iron Man's arch-enemy, the Mandarin. To read more about the comic book adventures of Iron Man, see The Silver Age of Comics.

Verdict: Iron Man fans may scratch their heads but otherwise enjoy this. ***.

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