And so it begins. The inaugural post of this blog is for a big-studio superhero movie, a genre I generally eschew. However, 12 year old boys will be 12 year old boys, and in this anything-goes spirit I took my son to “Iron Man 3” on its opening weekend.
Having read a thought provoking review in the New York Times (http://movies.nytimes.com/2013/05/03/movies/iron-man-3-with-robert-downey-jr.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0, prior to going, I was wary. “Iron Man 3,” as Manohla Dargis poimts out, aims to have it both ways – be a big budget, popcorn movie, and also exploit post September 11 terrorism-related anxieties.
The approach mostly works. “Iron Man 3” is a surprisingly well executed and engaging superhero movie. The story moves along nimbly. The special effects are, as one would expect from a film this size, sizeable. There is a nice sequence in middle America in which Tony Stark enlists the help of a fatherless boy. Since Tony Stark has the maturity level of an adolescent boy, it is refreshing to watch him pick on somebody his own size age.
Good casting distinguishes the franchise. Robert Downey Jr. has created an anti-superhero superhero. He mumbles, rants and OCD’s his way through these movies, and we love him for it. And however annoying Gwyneth Paltrow’s website, cookbook, fruit-named children and overall brand, the woman can act. She and Robert Downey Jr. have chemistry, rapport, repartee, the whole shebang. Gwyneth-haters will enjoy seeing her trussed up in a jog bra. I also like the bad guys. Guy Pierce and Ben Kingsley are fun, interesting villains.
In a nutshell, I liked Iron Man 3 far more than I thought I would. Like all superhero movies the end takes too long to resolve, but the process of getting there is surprisingly enjoyable.
Rating: *** (out of ****)