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New film focuses on man behind the iron mask
by Paul Gonzales
May 10, 2013 | 759 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE – “Iron Man 3” is the first of what Marvel is calling Phase II of their superhero franchises, which will continue later this year with “Thor 2: The Dark World” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” next year leading into “Avengers 2” in 2015.

But “Iron Man 3” has the distinction of being the first out of the gate following the aftermath of “The Avengers.” And let’s just say Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark isn’t dealing with it well.

He’s a broken man. He can’t sleep. Instead he’s been tinkering away in his lab day and night building tons of new Iron Man suits, each decked out with new technology and/or armor.

He no longer runs Stark Industries, having handed the company to his ex-secretary, now lover, Gweneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts, so he’s restless and nerve wracked.

Turns out the near destruction of New York City in “The Avengers” left deep emotional scars.

And that’s what we see for three-quarters of the movie. And though he suffers from insomnia and panic attacks, and the film treats those symptoms seriously enough, the movie is basically a comedy.

There’s more laughs, jokes and hijinks in this movie than the first two combined.

There’s a megalomaniacal terrorist named The Mandarin, played with melodramatic zeal by Ben Kinglsey, who’s hellbent on America’s destruction.

There’s death and terrorism which make the threat seem all too real and relevant to our times as he brings the terror to our shores.

And Tony Stark believes that if he can take on aliens from another world he can surely take on The Mandarin, so he threatens him on live TV.

Not a good idea.

We don’t get much Iron Man throughout this film. What we do get is a lot of Tony Stark dealing with being Iron Man as he faces the dilemma of figuring out if the man makes the suit or the suit makes the man.

I’ve seen better acting by Downy Jr. in lesser films, and he seems to be tiring of the role. It’s also been rumored that “The Avengers 2” may be his last outing as titular metal hero. Only time will tell on that front.

He plays more of caricature of a broken man than an actual one, but he’s Iron Man, so we buy it and move along.

Kingsley is superb as always as the blood-thirsty terrorist, but there’s a surprise in store that pops up later on in the film. I won’t spoil it here, but it proves Kingsley’s acting prowess and ability to disappear into his roles.

And then Guy Pearce shows up as Aldrich Killian, whom Stark wronged back during his swingin’ bachelor days and is back for a little revenge.

Pearce is great as usual, and it’s always fun to see him chew up the scenery in a big blockbuster such as this.

“Iron Man 3” has been called the best of the franchise so far, but I disagree. It’s good. Maybe a bit better than the second, but it’s mostly because of the climax which basically makes up for the lack of Iron Man throughout the movie in the last 30 minutes.

The movie’s fun, but as I mentioned earlier, it’s far more comedic than any other entry. And that’s fine, but it becomes distracting early on. The movie’s always had comedy sprinkled throughout, but this one teeters on the edge of being a full-on comedy.

Even the music of the film gets a little jokey at times. For example, during the climax of the film it gets really dramatic to the point of parody.

The effects are a little less on par with the others. When Iron Man is seen in total iron garb, he’s not Downey Jr. in a costume, he’s a complete CG character. Now, most moviegoers probably won’t notice it, but the trained eye will surely pick it up.

The director of this one, Shane Black, is best known for “Lethal Weapon 2” and the Downey Jr. starring “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” and really shines during the big blowout at the end. But, during the majority of the film, he’s seemingly on autopilot.

Overall, the movie is a good “Iron Man” movie. At this point, there may not be much more you can do with the character besides pairing him up with other muscle bound heroes.

The movie is sure to anger Marvel Comic purists, but I think at this point the “Iron Man” movie fans outnumber the Iron Man comic readers, so the majority wins.

It’s no better or worse than any of the other entries, but it’s always great when Iron Man returns to theaters.

Even if it’s just to make sure Tony Stark survives to be seen in “The Avengers 2.”

“Iron Man 3” is playing at Rio 6 Cinemas, 806 E. Houston St. in Beeville, in both 2D and 3D.

Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.
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