Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Early "Iron Man 3" reviews pile up...

Iron Man 3 Early Reviews

What are they saying??

Next week, general audience will finally get to see "Iron Man 3." But thankfully, right now we all can get a little taste of whats to come. From a few websites that I enjoy reading, here are some early reviews for the highly anticipated threequel, and the start of Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase II

From Drew McWeeny of

" "I am Iron Man."

That was Tony Stark's big announcement at the end of 2008's first film in what has become one of the biggest franchises in the world, the cornerstone of an even larger franchise called The Marvel Universe, a creative gamble that has paid off in a huge way. In that moment, Stark, personified rather than played by Robert Downey Jr., not only flipped the superhero formula on its head by revealing his identity to the world but also announced himself as the owner of the character. He's now played Stark five times on film, and there is no one who would argue that in terms of the pop consciousness, Downey is Stark and vice-versa.

In "Iron Man Three," as it's written during the closing credits, Stark finds himself genuinely tested by the Mandarin, a media-savvy terrorist, and a rival businessman who is angling to take away Pepper Potts. From that simple logline, Shane Black has spun my favorite of the standalone films about the character, including the first film. I think Jon Favreaudeserves all the credit in the world for getting the entire thing off the ground, finding the right tone to play everything at, creating a credible world that has now expanded in ways that would have been unthinkable a mere five years ago.

What surprised and satisfied me most about "Iron Man Three" is just how thematically tight it is. This is a film that overtly addresses the difference between the suit and the person inside it, and not just in the case of Tony Stark. This is a world where everyone seems to have a face they present to the world and a secret face as well, and the tension between those identities is what drives the movie. Tony's simply the most pronounced version of how this plays out, and in his case, one suit isn't enough anymore. Since the events of "The Avengers," Tony has been manic about keeping himself safe and protecting Pepper Potts (Gwenyth Paltrow), and he's built several dozen new suits, constantly tweaking and modifying. He has panic attacks at any mention of what happened in New York or the wormhole he just barely survived. He is barely holding himself together, and so when a new threat shows its face, he's not ready for it.

It's almost shocking how much of a Shane Black film this is. I expected him to play around a little but within something that felt like pretty much every other Marvel movie. Instead, I recognize that this is firmly set within the Marvel universe, but the story and the voice in which it's told? Unmistakable. "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" fans in particular are going to find themselves howling at the film's framing device and at a few twists and turns in the detective elements of the story. The result of this particular creative alchemy is a film that suggests they are still just starting to figure out what to do with this character, and I sincerely hope that the final credit of the film, "Tony Stark Will Return," is not just an empty promise.
In the film's opening scenes, we flash back to New Year's Eve, 1999, when Stark was at a conference in Bern, accompanied by Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau, decked out like Vincent Vega to hilarious effect). Both Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) and Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) are introduced in this sequence, and Tony talks about how he created his own demons through his actions on that evening. I often feel like the tenuous connections between the heroes and the villains in superhero films are mere excuses to bring them together, but in this script, co-written by Black and Drew Pearce, is about cause and effect. We've seen Tony Stark grow quite a bit in these films so far, and it makes perfect sense that the old Tony created the evil that finally lands on him in this film.

The Mandarin is a hard villain to figure out for a modern movie, and one of the real triumphs of the film is the way he's been re-imagined here. He is a media-age terrorist, every word and gesture designed to send a message, and Ben Kingsley seems to relish every word he delivers in the film. It is a surprisingly rounded performance, and there are some real surprises in the way Kingsley approaches the character. Most of the film's villains are realized very well, with James Badge Dale and Stephanie Szostak both making strong impressions as former soldiers who have been modified using the Extremis technology that was developed by Killian. And while fans of the comics may recognize character names or terms like "Extremis," this is not a direct adaptation of anything you've read in the comics, so don't walk in expecting that you know every detail of what you're about to see.

A huge lesson seems to have been learned from "Iron Man 2," and there is basically nothing in this film that feels like they're setting up any other movie. There's no shoe leather for "The Avengers 2," there's nothing that feels like a commercial leading to "Captain America 2" or "Thor 2." Instead, it is a self-contained story, intentionally isolating Stark and forcing him to solve a problem without just leaning on his armor for once. I love movies where you strip away all of a hero's tools and leave him stranded, and I love movies where you just wail on your main character and leave him dented and bloodied by the end, and this is both of those. If you've seen any of the marketing materials for the film, you've seen some footage of the attack on Tony's house, and the set-up for that is tremendous, as is the pay-off. What it does is force him underground to plan his next move, and it makes him human. He can't just strap on his latest uber-weapon and break through the ceiling of the Mandarin's house, so he's forced to become the best possible version of Tony Stark again.

Gwenyth Paltrow absolutely has her best outing yet as Pepper, and she's got some of the movie's best moments to her credit this time. My wife, as active an "Iron Man" fangirl as I can imagine, audibly gasped three times in the movie, and all three times involved Pepper. Paltrow is the one who gets to play her part aware of just how outrageous everything around her is. Pepper has never gotten used to the suits and the villains and the flying and the aliens and the warfare, and she doesn't want to get used to it. Stark recognizes that in her and desperately needs it. It's a very sweet relationship that offers up a lot of natural fuel for the drama that underlines everything else in this film.

Likewise, Don Cheadle's got some great stuff to work with this time, and he seems to have such an easy rapport with Downey. For a Downey scene to work, you have to give him someone who can punch at his weight, someone nimble. Cheadle does it well. Paltrow does it well. Favreau absolutely loves doing it. Ty Simpkins, so good in "Insidious," plays a kid who runs into Tony at his lowest point, and what could be a disgustingly syrupy relationship in the wrong hands is actually very funny and does a nice job of reminding Tony about humility. All of this is done at a gallop, though. This is by far the most action-heavy of the "Iron Man" films, and thanks to the powers of the various people modified by Extremis, it's some big comic-book high-impact action. It feels like "Terminator 2" in terms of how rough it plays things, and I'm still not sure if I'm taking my kids to see it. It gets serious, and the intensity of it is part of what makes it great. It also helps that the script ties things up in a very satisfying way, bringing the series full-circle both thematically and emotionally, complete with a last line of dialogue that seems like the only way this film could end.

As always, stay till the very very end of things, which is a pleasure in this case thanks to a vibrant, upbeat closing-credits montage that looks like it could have been the opening each week for a live-action series called "Iron Man! And Friends! (in color)". It's a little splash of awesome right there at the end. And do your best to avoid any plot details for the movie. I've told you very little here, and that's by design. You're not going to have your mind blown, but with pulp this pure, you want to enjoy the ride the way it was designed. If this is Shane Black as a blockbuster director, then bring on whatever's next, and make sure "Iron Man 4," "Iron Man 5," and "Iron Man 6" are all on his "to-do" list as well.
Read more at "

From Jimmy-O of

" IRON MAN 3 begins with Tony Stark revealing a part of his past through narration. Soon, we are witness to an explosion that is bursting from behind his many Iron Man suits so prominently displayed in his in-house workshop. Something pretty devastating is clearly happening. Yet quickly, the unlikeliest of heroes changes his mind and takes the viewer back to 1999. It is then he meets the painfully awkward and spectacled Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce, who is nearly unrecognizable). He asks Stark, and his date for the evening Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall), if they would consider being part of a think-tank of sorts for his invention to better mankind. Promising to meet Killian, Stark forgets about the strange fellow leaving this miserable soul stranded. This decision will most certainly come back to haunt him.

Since IRON MAN 2, Stark has faced something very few mortal men could ever imagine. As part of THE AVENGERS he faced the deadly threat of an alien army and nearly fell to his death - quite literally from outer space. In the latest film from Marvel, this monumentally heroic undertaking has taken a toll on him physically and mentally. This includes a series of panic attacks and wicked nightmares. It has become so difficult that even the love of his life, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), is feeling the strain. To make matters all the more complicated, there is a deadly string of bombings going on with a dastardly devil named Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) taking credit for it. When Stark’s security go-to-guy Happy (Jon Favreau) is injured during one of the attacks, the Iron Man takes it upon himself to call out this menacing terrorist.
Stark/Iron Man is a unique hero with an edge thanks to another knockout performance by the film's star. After taking this character on for the fourth time now, Robert Downey Jr. continues to create a layered individual who is trying to deal with the awesome nature of what he has become. The references to THE AVENGERS are especially well played here without becoming a crutch or relying on the previous film. Unlike IRON MAN 2, this sequel doesn’t dwell too much inside the world of the Avengers aside from how it affected Stark. As snarky and egocentric as Stark may be, he retains much of the charm he infused into the first film and feels a bit more heroic here than he did in the second film.

The stakes are also much higher for the people in Stark’s life that he holds dear. Clearly Happy finds himself in danger, yet it is Pepper Potts who faces serious danger creating a desperation that audiences can root for. I’ve always appreciated the chemistry between Downey and Paltrow and it is in full effect here. It’s sparked with humor and charm and it makes their relationship much more interesting. She is thrust into his world more so this time around which raises the stakes and also the unpredictability of the entire film. Thankfully both of these talented actors give their all and never feel as though they are simply cashing a paycheck. And am I the only one who finds Paltrow as Potts painfully adorable?
As far as supporting cast, you can’t do much better than Guy Pearce and especially Ben Kingsley. While I won’t go into detail about the role they play in all of this, I will say that Kingsley is utterly fantastic here. He is terrifying when need be and far more layered than one would expect. The actor is so good that he nearly steals the whole damn movie, even though some viewers may not be thrilled with the direction they take the character, there is no doubt that he is absolutely brilliant. Other supporting players that stand out include James Badge Dale and William Sadler - Rebecca Hall’s not so bad either. It is also satisfying to see the very talented Don Cheadle have a little more to do than simply clean up after Mr. Stark.

When Shane Black was first announced as the new director in the series, it seemed to be an intriguing, yet questionable choice. Happily the director brings out some of the intensity that he did with some of his earlier scripts including LETHAL WEAPON and KISS KISS BANG BANG (which he directed as well). There is an urgency that builds to an especially exciting climax, one which is sure to please Marvel fans. As dramatic and dark as it can get, it never loses the humor which has become an important factor in the Marvel Universe. With Favreau’s Happy Hogan consistently requesting “passes” at the workplace or the fun dialogue between the film’s stars, there is a nice balance between the dark and the light.

For anyone who has watched the trailer, when you see Stark's mansion fall, it is just as impressive as it appears to be. Considering this is only Black’s second directorial feature, he handled the effects especially well. All the effects work is definitely on par with the rest of the Marvel films which shouldn't be too surprising at this point as they seem to know what they are doing by now. Even the Iron Man models took on a brand new life in an inventive and thrilling way. By the third film (fourth if you count THE AVENGERS) the IRON MAN formula could have easily become predictable and dull. Perhaps what this particular franchise needed was a new voice and Black is a perfect fit.

IRON MAN 3 delivers on nearly all counts. My only complaint is that it runs a little long and feels like it could have been tightened up, especially as it steers closer to its impressive climax. And if you plan on seeing it in 3D, there is nothing really special about the conversion (unnecessary), although it may be worth it simply to see it in IMAX. In the end, the humor and thrills and everything else that made the original so refreshing and unique is here and then some! The score by Bryan Tyler is befitting as well and is especially nice to hear as the credits roll as opposed to some modern rock or rap song. In every way, this latest chapter is one of the best Marvel features to date. Tony Stark’s latest adventure is an enthusiastically exciting ride that never loses its humor or its edge."

The film so far has a 95% rating at However, not EVERYBODY is going ga-ga for this third installment. Take a look:

From Stephen Carty of

"After the huge-scale, multi-hero antics of Joss Whedon’s Avengers Assemble (or whatever the hell we were supposed to call it), Iron Man 3‘s mission statement was to take things back to basics. In theory, this was a wise and welcome idea, but in execution it’s only partially successful. For while there’s a genuine effort to rely less on the flying suit (most of the second act sees Tony isolated and out of his Iron Man gear), what we end up with is as cartoonish and outlandish as it is stripped back.
Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, you understand. It’s just that for something which aims (no pun intended) at a back-to-basics approach, Iron Man 3 is often the silliest in the series. While the first – and still best – Iron Man was relatively grounded (apart from the whole flying-suit-of-armour thing, of course), here there are explosive, self-regenerating henchmen who feel like they’ve wandered in from the set ofHeroes. In fairness, they offer a change of pace after two movies which revolved around metallic-based baddies, but these guys aren’t convincing in the slightest, while the rules for killing or hurting them are blurry to say the least.
Still, Iron Man 3 is likely to please those who like their comic book movies light and comic book-y. There are some nice throwaway touches (such as Tony leaving his Iron Man suit outside a diner like a motorbike), and Robert Downey Jr. is entertaining as always (good luck filling those red boots when he’s had enough). But while director Shane Black and co-writer Drew Pearce admirably take time to focus on Tony, his arc – as in story, not reactor – is perfunctory at best. Like most Marvel movies, the priority here is having fun, so any time we start to touch on Tony’s psychological issues things snap back quickly, as if the movie is afraid to take itself seriously – god forbid – for too long.
Set at Christmas and frequently feeling like an action-comedy from the nineties (see the buddy-kid tag-along section), it’s also very much a Shane Black film. As a replacement for John Favreau (who helmed both the triumphant first Iron Man and the surprisingly disappointing second), Black is an interesting choice. As a screenwriter, his resume is hugely impressive, having penned Lethal Weapon and Lethal Weapon 2(IE, the good ones), as well contributing an uncredited rewrite to action classic Predator. But as a director, this is only his second time in the chair and his first since Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (which, coincidentally, rebooted Downey Jr.’s career). And it shows.
In terms of action, there’s a neat compound infiltration set piece which sees Tony use improvised weaponry, and a thrilling air rescue sequence which briefly poses a moral quandary we’ve not seen a hero face before. Namely, if it’s not possible to save everyone, who do you choose? But elsewhere there’s little in the way of danger or threat, while the climactic dockyard fight is another big, unremarkable battle which explodes through the motions towards a foregone conclusion. In terms of comedy, there are some nice lines, but the constant need to puncture every half-serious moment with a tongue-in-cheek gag grows tiresome quickly.
The performances are reliable, though, even if most of the supporting cast are underused (hello Rebecca Hall). But with even Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper suiting up and kicking ass, the Iron man universe has become a place where everyone has some form of power, which leaves our hero less special as a consequence. Elsewhere, there’s a movie-changing twist which offers a bold and genuinely surprising way of side-stepping a potentially naff character, but it’s also somewhat unsatisfying. Much like the film itself
The idea of going back to basics is welcome in theory, but lacking in execution. In some ways, Iron Man 3is admirably stripped-down, but in others it’s overly outlandish, while the constant puncturing of half-serious moments is overdone."

So there you have it, mostly positive so far, with a couple critics with slight hesitations. My girlfriends birthday is the Friday "Iron Man 3" gets released nationwide, and I have already told her I am taking her to see it as apart of her birthday. So expect my take on "Iron Man 3" very soon.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, great stuff! Cannot wait for this looks like one of those movies that'll only feel like five minutes have gone by