Movie review – Iron Man 3: Film's full metal jacket

2013-05-05 14:00

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Third time’s the charm certainly applies to Marvel’s Iron Man 3, a sequel that’s even better than its predecessors, writes Gayle Edmunds

This superhero sequel punches the lights out. It’s better than the really good first film, which is always hard to achieve.

The second film, while good, was not as well received as the first, but ratings on online movie sites for Iron Man 3 have it scoring like a Martin Scorsese.

It’s going to make a whole lot more money, with Box Office Mojo bandying about projected numbers like $1 billion (R9 billion) worldwide, two-thirds of what The Avengers made.

It already made $198 000 before it even opened in America, its biggest market. In South Africa, on Wednesday’s public holiday, it broke the box office record for takings in a single day. But enough of that.

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) is having terrible panic attacks after going through the wormhole to quash the alien invasion in The Avengers.

Who wouldn’t, after discovering there are hordes of homicidal creatures in another dimension waiting to get us, and another whole universe of technology to master?

What’s brilliant about this film is that it doesn’t try to exist in a universe where The Avengers film didn’t happen.

Instead, it’s an unofficial sequel to it and there are plenty of references to The Avengers, like: “Since that guy fell out of the sky with his hammer, subtlety doesn’t really work any more.”

This time around, Iron Man’s big, bad nemesis is The Mandarin (Bravo, Ben Kingsley!) and Stark’s reckless past fed by his narcissistic personality comes back to klap him.

His one-night encounter with sexy “botanist” Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) and his disrespectful attitude to a fanboy, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), set the impressive stage for a showdown of, well, Marvel-ous proportions.

The film seamlessly combines the comic book story lines of Mandarin and Extremis – about biologically enhanced humans – making it a humdinger.

After a series of particularly horrific bombs, War Machine (Don Cheadle) is brought in to save the day.

Iron Man is considered a little unpredictable for the job, but when another bomb badly injures Happy (Jon Favreau), Stark’s bodyguard and friend, Iron Man draws the metaphorical line in the sand. The Mandarin stomps on it by demolishing Stark’s home.

Everyone – including his beloved Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) – thinks he’s dead, but Iron Man has ended up in the tiny town of Rose Hill, where the first explosion took place. Without his suit in good order, and without access to his laboratory of toys and tools, Iron Man is back to square one as a superhero and must ask for help to get back to his iron-clad, invincible self.

There’s a lot of attention to detail in this film and there are some of the most spectacular action sequences I have seen.

The 3-D is seamlessly incorporated, eliminating that irritation of feeling stuff is just being thrown at you while you watch.

Downey Jr, as always, builds on Stark’s character, fleshing him out in subtle ways, always with plenty of wit.

Shane Black, who directed Downey Jr in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, takes over the reins from Favreau and brings a fresh perspective to an already successful franchise.

Also, the entire cast is made up of award winners. So, this is no trashy, throwaway sequel; it’s staying true to the principle of making action flicks for the thinking audience who also want a popcorn-muncher on Friday nights.

This one’s going to be invincible at the box office.

» Visit www.citypress.co.za/Entertainment to check out five cool things to look out for in Iron Man 3

Film: Iron Man 3 (Ster-Kinekor)

Director: Shane Black

Featuring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Jon Favreau and Ben Kingsley

Rating: 8/10

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