The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Iron Man 3 | Robert Downey Jr., Gwenyth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Rebecca Hall | Review

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3sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is MEDIOCRE Judy Thorburn


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3lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is MEDIOCRE

Iron Man 3

The number three isn't always the charm as the third installment of the Iron Man series proves. Audiences won't be bored, but the film clearly misses the mark with its narrative flaws.  Maybe it's time to put the franchise to rest and allow Tony Stark and his alter ego to shine in the next episode of The Avengers blockbuster franchise that teams Iron Man up with several of the Marvel comics superheroes.

This go around, our protagonist Tony Stark, aka Iron Man (the always charismatic Robert Downey Jr.) finds himself thrust into taking on the responsibility of saving the world as we know it from a global terrorist known as The Mandarin (a scene stealing, Ben Kingsley, bearing more than a slight resemblance to Osama Ben Ladin) who is bombing U.S. targets and threatening to kill our President.

Adding to the equation, a former nerdy looking scientist named Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) turned  hunky technology mogul, that Tony first encountered, but then dissed, thirteen years earlier in Switzerland, reenters the picture with sinister intentions. With the help of his biochemist inventor, Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) with whom Tony had a one night fling back in Switzerland,  Aldrich has created a DNA altering serum called Extremis that has turned his ready and willing physically handicapped human guinea pigs into super strong, fiery, zombie-like mutants, but also makes some of those who get injected with it spontaneously explode.

For Tony, who shows signs of post traumatic syndrome in the aftermath of his near death experience in last summer's The Avengers, the question is whether he is up to the latest challenge. The event in New York has left a psychological toll on the billionaire techie turned superhero, Iron Man, which manifests in occasional bouts of anxiety and panic attacks.  Unable to sleep, he copes by working on the technology of his Iron Man in the basement laboratory of his cliffside Malibu mansion, where he's built and stores several Iron Man suits than can be operated remotely.  It is an obsession that has put a strain on his relationship with his live in girlfriend Pepper Potts (an underused Gwyneth Paltrow).

Yet, after his head of security at Stark Industries and best friend Happy (Jon Favreau) winds up in a coma from an explosion that destroyed Grauman's China Theatre in Hollywood, Tony invites the Mandarin to take him on. And so, shortly after, Tony's home is attacked by rockets launched from helicopters that rip his estate to pieces, sending it crashing into the ocean.  Miraculously, Tony and Pepper narrowly escape what, in the real world, would have caused their death. Although presumed dead by the media, he resurfaces across the country in Tennessee, bonds with a resourceful young boy, (Ty Simkins) and begins to rebuild his damaged high tech Iron Man suit and go after the villain responsible for death and destruction. Of course, this all leads to the obligatory, action packed finale that takes place on an oil tanker, a perfect set up featuring more violence, mayhem, and bigger, fiery explosions.

No spoilers here, but let me add that there is a twist in which smoke and mirrors come into play revealing a few characters are not all they are cracked up to be.

Iron Man 3 is directed and co-written by Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, the scripts for Lethal Weapon and The Long Kiss Goodnight), and he delivers plenty of explosive comic book action sequences that are enhanced by dazzling special effects. Most impressive is a sequence that takes you  alongside 13 passengers that have been sucked out of an airplane after an explosion rips a hole through the hull. Falling from the sky to their death, Iron Man flies to their rescue, gathering them one at a time to form a linked chain as he heads them towards safety.  Realistically captured, it creates one of the most awesome, pumped up adrenaline rides you will ever experience while seated in a movie theater.

No doubt, this sci fi adventure is an eye catching spectacle.  What's bothersome is the script which is riddled with plot holes, loose threads, inconsistencies and is, at times, illogical.  For instance, it makes no sense to mention that anyone within 3,000 feet of the explosion at Grauman's Chinese Theater was vaporized. If so, how did Happy manage to survive in one piece when he was standing close to the detonation?   And, although there are several references to the Avengers, you would think Tony would call them in for much needed assistance in fighting off the villains.  But then, that is asking for sense out of nonsense.  I could go on, but you get the idea.

The way I see it, only the most die hard action fans, that couldn't care less about cohesive storytelling will find Iron Man 3 satisfying,  The rest of us have higher expectations that weren't met.


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