Saturday, May 4, 2013
Iron Man 3
Robert Downey, Jr.'s lines are packed with more humorous quips than ever before, and for the most part the effort works; the folks in our theater (ourselves included) laughed again and again, even as the tone of the film turned darker. The brisk pace is unrelenting for the 130 minute running time, and this inevitably means that within the same 30-second span the audience is made to laugh at loud at a joke but also wince as a terrorist murders an innocent man or as a woman is forced to submit to the torturous scientific experimentation of a madman. The opportunities for humor abound particularly when Stark finds himself in a small Teennessee mountain town, helped only by a kid named Harley (Ty Simpkins), who, of course, is an Iron Man fan.
The best performances are by villains Guy Pearce (as Aldrich Killian, the maniac businessman) and Ben Kingsley (as a terrorist known as The Mandarin, made up to look a good bit like Osama bin Laden). Mr. Downey is not challenged whatsoever, but that's OK; the role that has done more than any other to make him famous has now become larger than he is. Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), as one might have guessed from strong hints in the previews, does have a more significant part to play here. Don Cheadle returns as Colonel Rhodes, but it is still Iron Man alone who is smart enough and quick enough to ultimately defeat their mutual enemy.
One wonders how long the ongoing trend of flashier-than-ever-before comic book adaptations will continue. For roughly twelve years now, the major studios have trusted more and more in what they call "tentpole" films, meaning that they will prop up the whole business, even as smaller, more thoughtful movies made for adults grow fewer in number. These PG-13 spectacles cost upwards of $200 million to make, but with a few exceptions, largely pay off. There remain plenty more comic book characters and stories in the pipeline from Marvel (and DC, too). Iron Man 3, 2013's first summer blockbuster, is very entertaining and indicates that, so long as quality writing and production values are granted, the trend will continue for many, many years to come. There will always be bad guys, and we will always need superheroes. Tony Stark will return.
Posted by Grant