A Spoiler Free Look At Iron Man 3

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As you know from my podcast the Disney Film Project Podcast, that I’m quite a geek when it comes to anything comic books, superheroes, Star Wars, etc. Just 5 short years ago, superhero movies, while popular, were considered by general audiences to be below the bar.  Sufficient in making money for studios, few great successes, and many outright failures.  Then in 2008 everything changed, because the bar was raised when the first Iron Man movie came out.  For many years, even before the movie project was announced, fans had asked for actor Robert Downey Jr. (RDJ) to take on the role of Tony Stark.  Fans saw his own addiction to narcotics and recovery as a strong bond between him and the character whose own past includes an addiction to alcohol.  The industry listened to the fans.  The actor was completely on board.  And the movie was a huge success.

Now, almost 5 years to the day, many people are going to be heading out to their local movie theater to go see the movie Iron Man 3.  It’s hard to think that this may be one of the last times that RDJ might be playing the character though there’s a good chance that he’ll renegotiate his contract as long as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) continues to be the blockbuster success that it has been.  Which would be good news for fans like myself, the thought of anyone else playing the role is almost painful.

The first Iron Man movie was about how Tony Stark becomes Iron Man, whereas the second one was about the price of having that power, and the mortality of the man inside the armor.  Iron Man 3 carries this theme that is very common in the Iron Man comic books forward quite a bit.  Now Tony Stark isn’t just a guy in a suit of high tech armor doing his own thing, he’s a hero the world over.  He’s a survivor of the “Battle of Manhattan” from The Avengers, he’s had his shawarma, and he’s at a loss of what to do next.

And he wanders through much of this movie in the same way many other victims of war do.  Wrought with regret and anxiety for what he experienced, and how it changes his future.  He can’t sleep, he’s angry, and he’s having anxiety attacks.  And this has been going on for some time.  The only real indication we have about how much time has passed is that at the end of The Avengers, Tony dons his Mark VII (7) armor.  In Iron Man 3 he’s wearing a prototype suit of armor dubbed Mark XLII (42) – making this as little as 6 weeks later.

I’ll be honest, I loved this movie, but as you can see from everything above, I’m a bit biased.  It has a feeling about it that is just the right way to go for what is essentially a downtime piece between Avengers movies more than it is the third part of a trilogy.  It missed the mark for me on exactly one point where I thought to myself that I don’t care how riddled with crazy Tony’s head is, at this point I want to see him do *this* and he didn’t.  But there is just an amazing amount of both heart and humor that will endear people to this character even more than he was before.

It paves the way for some of my MCU predictions like the now ever popular Coulson Lives in a way that is really going to prove more interesting than such a thing was ever depicted in comic books.  But we’re talking about a series of movies that made the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier believable – a movie moment that I’d wanted to see my entire life and literally made me cry tears of joy.  That said, this movie didn’t have a moment like that for me.  But that didn’t lessen it for me – as I said, it’s a downtime piece.  And I very much enjoyed seeing Tony be more than just a man outside the armor, yet still need the armor to be the whole set piece of the character.

Be forewarned, once you see this movie you will realize that you have been played.  I won’t say how or why, but know that this movie does something that I feel that no one could have foreseen or predicted from any of the advertising material (posters, trailers, etc.).  And it’s totally awesome on so many levels.  To the point where I feel it changes movie advertising quite a bit.

As has been the case with all of the previous MCU movies, it’s important for the viewer to stay past the credits for the “bonus scene”.  This one is cute and clever and is more like a “bookend” for the movie as a whole then an “extra moment”.  The end credits are simply amazing.  They will have you leaving Iron Man 3 and wanting to go watch old television shows like Magnum P.I., Charlies Angels, and the original Hawaii Five-0.

Overall every fan of Iron Man will definitely want to rush out to see this movie as planned.  Non-fans may not like it so much, mostly because they’ll be watching for it to be a typical action/adventure movie, which it clearly is not.  If you’re somewhere in between the two, then YMMV (your mileage may vary).

In addition to doing the web design and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.  You can join him and his fellow hosts for a Live Review of Iron Man 3 on Thursday, May 9, 2013.

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