Tag Archives: Gwyneth Paltrow

Iron Man 3 ***1/2

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“Iron Man 3” marks the beginning of what Marvel Studios is referring to as Phase 2 in their cinematic universe. Their first series of films culminated in last year’s “The Avengers”, where some of their most famous super heroes banded together to defend earth from a massive invasion. I will admit that I didn’t fall in love with the first phase of films, including the first two Iron Man films. I thought they were fun movies but not exactly in the same league as say “The Dark Knight”.

“Iron Man 3” is the best of the series so far and has me really psyched for this next phase of films. Writer and director Shane Black wisely has crafted a movie that mostly stands apart from the other Marvel films. One of the issues I had with “Iron Man 2” was that it spent too much time setting up the future. This third movie focuses on putting Tony Stark to the ultimate test by pitting him against a truly diabolical adversary.

Ben Kingsley plays the Mandarin, a powerful terrorist who is unleashing havoc on all his targets. When Tony threatens him he reacts by destroying his home which unexpectedly results in Tony stranded in rural Tennessee. Not by accident I might add. The plot is complex and creative, complete with twists that nobody will see coming.

Guy Pearce joins the cast this time as Aldrich Killian, a scientist I cannot say too much about without giving away some of the surprises. Returning cast includes Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle as Pepper Potts and James Rhodes, aka, Iron Patriot.

Now as much as I like Jon Favreau, I much prefer what Shane Black has brought to this franchise. He has created a great story and merged it with some truly spectacular action sequences. The best being the moment when Iron Man must save over ten people who are falling from a crashing airplane.

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Iron Man 2 ***

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I think I am one of the few people who didn’t think that the original “Iron Man” was an amazing film. I liked it but I didn’t love it. I do however think it is better then the sequel. “Iron Man 2” is entertaining, and has a lot of elements that I liked, but it seems to be lacking a coherent story and fully developed characters.

Take for example the villain of the film, Ivan Vanko, played by Mickey Rourke. When he is on screen he is pretty cool. He has built a suit similar to Tony Stark, with certain upgrades, including electric whips that can slice through metal and concrete. My only problem is that he is not nearly in the film enough. He has a basic back story followed by a spectacular battle with Iron Man on a race track. After their confrontation though he finds himself shuffled to the back burner until the ending. Even when he shows up at the end, his battle is pretty cool but is also very brief.

The secondary villain in the film is Justin Hammer, played by Sam Rockwell in a wry comic performance. He is another millionaire inventor who has lived in the shadow of Stark his whole life. His scenes with Robert Downey Jr. strike a perfect tone. But even his evil scheme plays second fiddle in most of this picture.

So what exactly is this movie about? The story mostly follows Tony Stark in his efforts to fight off the government from taking his suit and his fight to stay alive as the reactor in his chest is slowly poisoning his blood.

Gary Shandling has a beautiful scene as a U.S. Senator during a hearing where he tries to justify the repossession of the Iron Man suit for national security.

Anyway enough negativity. The movie is a lot of fun. The action rocks and Robert Downey Jr. is terrific once again. I also loved all the setup towards the impending “Avengers” movie. I just think that this could have been so much more then it was.

Iron Man ***

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When I saw “Iron Man” back in 2008, I didn’t fully realize the world it was basically a gateway in to the entire Marvel universe. I don’t think they fully realized it either. It was the first film leading up to “The Avengers”. When I saw it back in 2008 I liked it but I just didn’t love it as much as most seemed to. Watching it years later I will say that it is much better than I remember.

As Tony Stark, Robert Downey Jr. is finally able to break in to the mainstream. He was a fantastic character actor for years but was not able to find true box office success until “Iron Man”. It took a lot of courage for director Jon Favreau and the people at Marvel to cast Downey after his rather checkered personal history. That gamble paid off huge both in terms of ticket sales and quality. Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark. He makes him his own while at the same time keeping the essence of the character.

The story is your typical super hero origin story. Stark is a the owner of a massive weapon’s manufacturer. When he is kidnapped by terrorists he develops his first suit of armour to escape. This is a large, clunky device that barely works but it serves as the basis for the suit we all know and love.

When he returns from captivity, he returns a changed man. He vows to stop making weapons, much to the dismay of Obadiah Stane played by Jeff Bridges. Bridges eventually becomes the Iron Monger, battling Stark in a much larger and more powerful suit which is the climax of the film. Bridges is perfectly maniacal as Stane.

Terrence Howard plays Stark’s best friend James Rhodes. He will eventually become the War Machine. Gwyneth Paltrow plays Pepper Potts, Tony’s loyal assistant and possible love interest.

Watching the movie now 5 years later and the film still holds up very well. The action and effects are all top notch. The characters are clearly defined and well acted. I still think that this film is not quite in the league as say “The Dark Knight”, but it is still much better than I remember.