5 Things You Need to Know: Iron Man 3

When I see a movie in theaters, I will write the five things you need to know about it.

5 Things You Need to Know About… 

IRON MAN 3

  1. Iron Man 3 accomplishes what it set out to do: to provide escapist, somewhat smart, summer action entertainment in the style and scope of the modern Marvel brand (see: Iron Man 1, The Avengers, Thor) and box office behemoth.  Robert Downey Jr. remains his ever enjoyable pithy deliverer of witty hubris, his toy collection and personal AI butler, Jarvis (Paul Bettany’s best work since A Beautiful Mind), is even more on (and really over) the cutting edge, and the action sequence direction has been seamlessly passed on to the more than capable hands of Shane Black who knows a thing or two about writing action movies (Jon Favreau was given the opportunity to exclusively focus on his acting chops as Happy, the one man wrecking ball of Tony Stark’s human security detail).  Although the box office ceiling may have no bounds (WOW!), the quality of movie ceiling is an enjoyable two hours of entertainment that will provide a worthwhile distraction that lasts only as long as the lights are dim in the theater.

  2. Sure, there may be some continuity benefit to having seen Iron Man 1 and Iron Man 2 and last summer’s The Avengers, but the serialized storytelling stakes are just not that high (I honestly barely remember any of the previous films or think they are necessary to understand a bigger Tony Stark character study).  Your Iron Man 3 experience will not be lessoned if this is your first movie from the Marvel film factory.

  3. If you have seen promos or trailers for Iron Man 3 (I admittedly mostly tuned them out each time they come up this past winter and fall), it would have been hard to miss the ethnically ambiguous main villain, the Mandarin, played by Sir Ben Kingsley.  I was skeptical of how this highly ornamented, time period confused, and seemingly lesser than bad guy would work.  Not only is Ben Kingsley my favorite part of Iron Man 3, his character may be my favorite and most unexpected creation in a Marvel Universe movie since all that was 2003’s exceptional X 2 (Iron Man comic book fans are apparently not as pleased with this Mandarin depiction that strays quite far from the source material).  This unorthodox version of the Mandarin made Iron Man 3 that much more fun.  On a semi-related note: I love how Robert Downey Jr. and Ben Kingsley bonded over their mutual admiration for Sir Richard Attenborough.  I also love how Sir Richard Attenborough has come up in the last two “5 Things You Need to Know” and the year is 2013.

  4. There is a post-credit scene at the end of the movie that, after a much too long closing credit/end titles sequence, is not worth staying for.  Whatever fleeting momentum the movie provides is lost by the time you get to see Tony Stark one more time.  For those of you who see this post-credit scene as an essential component of the Marvel movie experience, this scene is clever and even a bit comical, but does nothing to further connect Iron Man 3 to the greater Marvel universe.

  5. Despite record-breaking domestic and international box office returns, Iron Man 3 is not a pop culture moment, a cinematic touchstone, or even a “I have to see in theaters in order to hear what all the fuss is about” summer blockbuster.  Iron Man 3 is unapologetically an enjoyable escapist movie sequel that keeps you entertained and satisfied.  I have seen it, I had some fun, and now, like most other Marvel universe movies, I will soon forget about it.

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