Monday, May 6, 2013

Movie with Abe: Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3
Directed by Shane Black
Released May 3, 2013

Marvel superheroes aren’t going anywhere. With the huge popularity of “The Avengers,” this brand is sure to producing films for years to come. Among those characters with their own film series, Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man, has always been the most dependable protagonist, thanks in large part to the charismatic lead performance by Robert Downey Jr. as the eccentric billionaire inventor. Armed with a new director and a new slate of villains, this third installment doesn’t quite match the excitement and overall quality of the first two films, providing a disjointed but ultimately still entertaining action experience.

Downey’s Stark has always been extremely casual and nonchalant about the fact that he has built what may well be the world’s most powerful and effective armor. Paralyzed by fits of anxiety brought on by memories of imminent death in New York during the events of “The Avengers,” this new Stark is even more carefree and indifferent to the magnitude of occurrences in his life. The film adapts a similar attitude towards what it portrays, making for an excessively light telling of this saga of Iron Man’s story. Moments of seriousness are sprinkled in, but this particular chapter doesn’t compare to the dramatic effectiveness of “Iron Man” and “Iron Man 2.”

There are some positive elements of the film, however, namely Guy Pearce’s portrayal of evil scientist Aldrich Killian, whose quest for world domination makes him a fitting successor to Mickey Rourke’s Ivan Vanko and Jeff Bridges’ Obadiah Stane. Don Cheadle also proves extremely capable of throwing himself into the film’s more thrilling scenes as Jim Rhodes, who wears the War Machine suit, now dubbed Iron Patriot. While the film lags considerably in its first act with an overemphasis on Stark’s soul-searching, it delivers when its $200 million budget kicks into high gear with two action sequences that prove thoroughly engaging and highly memorable. Though its specifics are unclear at first, the film’s story arc also turns out to be solid and inventive, weighed down by a lack of clarity and focus elsewhere for a good portion of its beginning.

This excerpt from the Iron Man mythology is hardly bad, but it just can’t quite match the impact of the series’ first two films, which took a character, who, like fellow Avenger Captain America, might not translate believably to the big screen, and made him even more compelling than ever could have been expected. When it lives up to its potential, “Iron Man 3” is thoroughly competent, but its two-plus hours are not solidly spent on building up this story, instead developing a character who has already been fleshed out enough to be a suitable protagonist. The inevitable fourth installment should trust that its audiences have already come to know its hero and skip straight to the excitement and energy that makes this iteration of Iron Man so damn cool.


No comments: