This comic book movie is a marvel

By Gina Scialabba

The Guardsman

I’ll preface this review with a disclaimer: I am a HUGE comic book fan. From reruns of the 1960’s “Batman and Robin” series to the modern day “Man of Steel,” set for release this summer, I’m giddy with excitement at the idea of superheroes, superpowers and good triumphing over evil.

Having said that, I’ll attempt to be as neutral as possible… but I make no promises.

Iron Man 3 is one of the coolest comic book movies ever made. Just when I thought the Marvel Cinematic Universe (yes, that’s the branding) couldn’t get any better, they bring us this action-packed, plot driven, can’t-take-your eyes off the screen summer blockbuster.

I loved Thor. Loved Hulk. Loved The Avengers. But Iron Man enraptures me.

There are many praiseworthy aspects of this film: plot, script and directing are top-notch.

Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) directs flawlessly. It’s certainly an “action movie,” but the action sequences aren’t long and drawn out. They are short and calculated.

When a movie, such as “Transformers,” is heavy on the “wow” special effects and short on dialogue, it becomes overbearing and hollow. I stop caring what is happening on screen and start looking at my watch.

Iron Man 3 has none of these problems. I was riveted from the opening credits.

It’s Robert Downey Jr. who really steals the show. He is brilliant, funny, and downright likeable as Tony Stark. His performance delivers the character like never before, providing multifaceted feelings and humor all wrapped up in our tormented hero.

No other actor could fill his shoes. He is Iron Man. Period.

And our hero is in for the fight of his life against one of the most eclectic and sinister villains to date: the evil “Mandarin,” a cross between Genghis Khan and Osama bin Laden.

The Mandarin vs. Iron Man feud has a long backstory in the Marvel world, but you needn’t know it to appreciate Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of the former.

The Mandarin wants to rule the world, and he’ll resort to brutal acts of terrorism to do so. His casualties include women and children.

He is stealthy and might just be unstoppable. Might. There’s a plot twist here, but I won’t ruin it.

Tony Stark is definitely the superhero for the task, but he is afflicted with a very humanizing condition: post-traumatic stress disorder, a remnant from his last major battle in The Avengers film when he saved New York City from extraterrestrial beings. Hey, even superheroes need a little therapy.

I also loved Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Tony Stark’s love interest.  She has a much bigger role than the previous two installments. And she has rock hard abs she displays toward the end of the movie.

This is the third and final installment of the Iron man trilogy, but certainly not the last we will see of the Marvel heroes. Thor: The Dark World releases on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, and Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014. It concludes with The Avengers 2 on May 1, 2015.

But for now, grab those 3-D glasses and watch Iron Man save the world one more time.

Sidebar Info:

If you go…

Running Time: 130 Minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure/SC-FI

US Release Date: May 3, 2013

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Directed by Shane Black

Based on the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee

Stars:

Robert Downey Jr.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Don Cheadle

Ben Kingsley

Guy Pearce

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