Movie Review: ‘Iron Man 3’

Robert Downey Jr stars in 'Iron Man 3'
Robert Downey Jr stars in 'Iron Man 3' - Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal©Marvel Studios 2013

Reviewed by Ian Forbes

Hello there. You’re at the beginning of a review for Iron Man 3 … which I’m not sure why you’re reading because this isn’t the kind of movie affected by critics. Fanboys and fangirls have been squeeing with delight ever since the first teaser trailer hit the Internet; their attendance opening weekend was never in doubt. Even those who never read the comic have flocked to theaters like all the other Marvel comic book movies not made by 20th Century Fox (Fantastic Four, Daredevil, or Elektra anyone? *blegh*)

The thing about Iron Man 3 is that it’s really not all that different from either of its predecessors. Sure, Shane Black stepped in as co-writer/director and Jon Favreau stepped away from the director’s chair, staying on as a producer and actor. However, the same basic plot structure is there: Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is an eccentric, arrogant billionaire playboy haunted by one thing or another. His success makes others jealous and spiteful. They lash out, he takes an initial beating, he cobbles together a newer version of the high tech armor and *spoiler alert* defeats the bad guys, cue credits and wait for little bonus clip at the end of said credits.

If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen all but one of the mildly novel developments that will occur. So for the large segment of the movie-going population that wants to know EXACTLY what they’re going to get out of their $82 dollar experience, have no fear, this film isn’t some bait and switch where the trailer is an action movie but it’s really a drama, or vice versa. I don’t find that kind of movie experience exciting but that’s just where we are with the relationship between cinema and audiences right now (speaking to that point would be a rant so I’ll save it right now).

All that I will caution people about is the completely useless 3D. I’m not even sure why I wore the super special Iron Man themed 3D glasses as there was literally NOTHING that felt like it was extending off the screen. This isn’t even a case of it being bad 3D, it’s non-existent. Kudos to the filmmakers on this one, it’s the Emperor’s New Clothes of 3D. Either way you see it, it’ll be in 2D so save yourself the money and forgo the glasses.

From a filmmaking aspect, there wasn’t a lot of Shane Black to this movie. Like all Marvel movies*, the director’s stamp is not there, these are built to look like every other interrelated comic book property to ensure uniformity. It’s all perfunctorily shot and the acting is sincere though I’ve yet to actually connect to any of the characters in the films on a personal level as they all come off as actors playing the roles rather than a living embodiment of the characters. Some of that may be because I’ve actually read most of the comic books being adapted right now and living up to expectations is never easy but the effect is there nonetheless.

(*Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is really the only exception but that’s because he’s the only director in the entire set who truly understands the source material and whose style lends itself to the concept.)

Bottom line here is that Iron Man 3 doesn’t do anything wrong per se (I’m a little annoyed with the treatment of the villain known as The Mandarin but I’ve never really cared about the Iron Man universe anyway so letting go of this point isn’t hard). Audiences eagerly awaiting this installment in the series will likely come away satisfied, audiences not interested can continue ignoring this franchise and go see something worth spending some thought and money on like Mud. It’s really as simple as that.


Iron Man 3 opens in theaters on May 3, 2013 and is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief suggestive content.

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