Summer movie season did not start off with a bang this past weekend, but it wasn’t a whimper either.
"Iron Man 3," Marvel’s latest comic book movie and "threequel," may not be the best follow-up to last summer’s blockbuster hit “The Avengers,” but it still delivers a decent dose of action movie goodness that will satisfy most movie goers.
“Iron Man 3” continues the story of billionaire, playboy, philanthropist Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, after the events of last summer’s “The Avengers.”
In this new film, Stark must fight a new menace known as The Mandarin, a Middle Eastern terrorist bent on destroying the U.S. and is determined to bring him to justice, but he may be playing into the scheme of a yet greater threat.
“Iron Man 3” has a lot of good stuff in it, despite its flaws.
It takes more risks than the previous films in terms of putting characters in unfamiliar situations and trusting that the audience will care enough about them that they don’t mind sitting through a lot of odd scenes before they ultimately pay off.
After the last film, the franchise needed a dose of new, and director Shane Black has some success with implementing the “Extremis” story arc from the comic books.
Guy Pearce plays the best villain of the three films thus far but it wasn’t difficult considering the other two (Jeff Bridges’ Iron Monger from the first film and Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash from the second) weren’t on the screen for more than five minutes.
Pearce has real screen presence in the film and it was enjoyable to watch him be the bad guy.
Robert Downey Jr., of course, continues to play Tony Stark well and the film is best when he is on screen.
Unfortunately, the two biggest problems with this film can be spelled out into two, four letter words: “pace” and “tone.”
For the first two thirds of this film the pace is all over the place.
There’s action to break up moments of exposition and some nice fight scenes that keep the movie rolling along, but the editing is done so poorly at times that the films experience lots of short highs followed by long lows that will make viewers lose focus and bored out of their minds.
It doesn’t help that Downey spends most of his time outside the Iron Man suit but the suit itself in the film is rather underwhelming (you’ll have to watch to find out.)
It ends up being a Tony Stark overload and not enough Iron Man at times, which were problems I had with the other two films but more so in this one.
The tone is also very frustrating and confusing throughout the story.
This can be once again attributed to the poor editing as the film seems to have a hard time making up its mind on whether it wants to be a dark film for the adults or a family friendly comedy for the kids.
It reminded me of the “Star Wars” prequels when Qui Gon Jinn’s death scene was followed immediately by bizarre “comedic” scenes with Jar Jar Binks.
Scenes like these are frequent throughout “Iron Man 3” and it’s very confusing.
You have funny scenes involving the cast of characters, followed by scenes of suicide bombings and terrorism, then back to the comedy sequences.
The film suffers from trying to please too many people at once when it should have focused on one or the other.
The story’s plot is muddled a lot by these two things and it’s confusing to say the least.
As good as Pearce was, his villain’s motivations were never quite clear other than a vague attempt at world domination and vengeance.
And for all of Downey Jr.’s charm, his jokes seem old after three films, plus “The Avengers,” his character doesn’t seem to grow much in this film, even when dealing with anxiety issues.
With all this said, however, there is still a lot to enjoy about Iron Man’s latest film.
The last third of the film makes up for the drudge of the first two and the finale pays off pretty well for the viewers who managed to stay awake through early parts of the movie.
This film could have been much greater with some better writing and editing but it’s still worth a watch if you are a fan of super hero films.
It’s not worth more than a matinee viewing but, nonetheless, “Iron Man 3” is a decent start to the summer movie season.