Iron Man 3
– for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief suggestive content.
Director: Shane Black
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Rebecca Hall
Running Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Theatrical Release Date: May 3, 2013
Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3 pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man? (from MovieWeb.com)
It’s been three years since Iron Man 2 released, and with the success of last year’s mega cinematic merger The Avengers, Iron Man 3 is the first Marvel film to carry the torch since. This story takes place shortly after the events of The Avengers, with Stark being haunted by his near-death experience in New York and the revelation of aliens and “gods” (the latter being Loki and Thor) through the events in that film. But as Stark is learning, his past “demons” are catching up with him, and it would appear that there’s a new threat in the world, named The Mandarin, that’s swiftly becoming personal. When a friend is injured, Stark calls out The Mandarin and the fight is brought right to his doorstep… literally.
A movie like The Avengers is a tough act to follow; Marvel knows this and it’s pretty evident while watching Iron Man 3 that they felt the need to try to top themselves. While that’s understandable to want to attempt such a feat, it’s dangerous territory to tread because it sets things up to potentially lean toward overkill. However, three movies into the Iron Man saga (with some talk from Downey, Jr. about possibly hanging up the iron suit), Iron Man 3 has the feel of a grand finale and a starting over point. All is put on the line this time around, and the ante is upped considerably. So the things that worked best about the first Iron Man movie are tossed into a pot with elements from Iron Man 2 and The Avengers, all adding up to some pretty gigantic set pieces and a climax in the film that is as equally over-the-top as it is exhilarating. It’s one of those movies that would be all too easy to nitpick, but when you realize you left the cinema satisfied and smiling, you know it’d be counterproductive to do so.
Iron Man 3 does a lot to take the movie series in a different direction. Both Iron Man and Iron Man 2 featured villains that were grounded in reality and were particularly personal to Tony Stark. This time around, it’s a mix of personal with a broader view, and things get much more scientifically based. As one might even expect, this is much more along the lines of a comic book brought to life on the big screen. You can expect outrageous technology and more sci-fi stylized action this time around. While it is far more fantastical than the previous Iron Man installments, it’s in line with the fact that Tony’s having trouble dealing with a bigger world than he imagined, and so, with that, it follows Avengers quite fittingly.
The reactions to what unfolds in Iron Man 3 have been very strongly mixed between fans and critics. Most of that is due to the film’s treatments of the villains featured. While I can’t say I have any previous knowledge of any of these such villains–and therefore, no emotional attachments to their comic book origins–I’m fine with the way they’re handled here. However, I fully understand those who have a beef with the way things play out here. Like most comic books-to-film, Iron Man 3 does not stick too closely to its source material. As such, it makes for some interesting surprises in the movie, but is likely to upset any diehard fans expecting something more faithful to the source. Some are imagining grand possibilities presented by the villainous forces here, but the movie will terminate those expectations instead of nurture them.
Regardless, I enjoyed the story for what it is. Stark is far out of his element, which, at times is reminiscent of his origin story from the first film and serves as a bit of a rebirth of Iron Man in a similar fashion (if you’ve seen the trailer, you can get an idea of what I mean). During his journey, Stark finds himself alone, teaming with an unlikely new friend, meeting a fanboy who helps him technologically, and is sorely separated from his suit tech. Iron Man 3 does its best to steer clear of retreading itself too much, and it does so quite well. With the villains this time around, Ben Kingsley is excellent (I have to choose my adjectives ambiguously here), while an actor I’ve long enjoyed watching, Guy Pearce, is a nice addition to the cast here. You can tell Pearce had a lot of fun in the role of Aldrich Killian, and it was great to see him share the screen with Downey’s Stark. Director Shane Black (who directs only his second time here, reteaming with Robert Downey, Jr. after his directorial debut with 2005’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) takes over the franchise from Jon Favreau, who directed the first two films and stars as Happy Hogan, and he does a great job in steering the film in a different direction. However, at the same time, it’s a bittersweet approach as Black wipes the board clean of Favreau’s foundations, leaving the future of Iron Man completely unpredictable. Iron Man 3 feels like the end of a trilogy (even if you kind of need Avengers in there for continuity’s sake), and that in and of itself can be slightly alarming for fans. Finally, the film’s finale is just a little over-the-top at times, throwing in just about everything but the kitchen sink, but it’s on par with an exciting comic book arc finale and effectively wraps up this series of films. Also, I just have to mention one completely unexpected element of the movie — Christmas! Bizarrely enough, the entire film takes place around Christmastime, and it’s frequently referenced. It’ll actually make a nice addition to the annual Christmas movie catalog even though it’s not directly a “Christmas movie.”
When it comes to content, Iron Man 3 is as rough as the previous films, if not slightly more so. The language is still mixed, with several unnecessary uses of blasphemy included, and there’s some minor sexual innuendo or implications. The violence is pretty strong with lots of destruction as well as news of a terrorist nature. A character is executed on live television, for example, and due to a biological advancement in some of the characters, they take on a fiery, molten quality and explode on occasion, even vaporizing a crowd of people at one point. Tony gets bloodied up pretty badly while other characters are shot to death suddenly. It’s definitely not one for the little kids, just like the previous films.
Overall, Iron Man 3 is an exciting comic book flick that doesn’t surpass the wonderfully crafted first entry, but it amps things up entertainment-wise. Those who were disappointed with Iron Man 2 are likely to enjoy this one a lot more. It’s fun, visually delectable, and quite funny all at the same time. We did happen to see it in 3D, and I wouldn’t say it added anything to the experience. Personally, I find the 3D effect to be somewhat distracting in a lot of scenes, making it even more difficult to tell what’s going on at times. Only a few scenes looked really cool with the 3D effect, but overall, your eyes either adjust to the look over time, making it seem not really 3D at all, or it just isn’t really all that noticeable enough for most of the movie. Iron Man 3 is the beginning of the next phase of Marvel’s series of movies (Thor: The Dark World is coming later this year!), and I’m excited to see where it all goes next… (And be sure to stay for a short little scene after the credits for a brief cameo from one of the Avengers. It’s not “important” by any means, but it’s a cool and amusing one for fans of the Marvel series).
– John DiBiase, (reviewed: 5/3/13)
Parental Guide: Content Summary
Sex/Nudity: Tony and Maya sit on a bed and they talk about spending the night together. Happy closes the doors on them and nods knowingly to Stark. We see that Tony has left in the morning and we see her in her underwear from behind only (briefly) sitting at a desk; We see Pepper and Tony in bed together sleeping; We see girls in bikinis at the villain’s place; We briefly see a beauty pageant with quite a few women in small swimsuits; We see two women in a bed under the covers and a man return from the bathroom. He makes a comment about them not being “real” (perhaps insinuating implants?) to Stark; There’s verbal reference to the one night stand that Tony had with Maya years ago; We see many views of Pepper in just a black sports bra; We see what may be prostitutes at the villain’s headquarters. In one instance, one is drunk and lying on a sofa (clothed in a busty outfit); A comment is made about Tony not remembering anyone unless they have a “big rack”; Some flashback scenes throughout the three movies show flashes of scenes with girls in bikinis and such at a party.
Vulgarity/Language: At least 1 “g*dd*mn,” 1 “J*sus,” 1 “p*ssy” (nonsexual), 2 “d*ck” (nonsexual), 2 “a” words, 1 “S.O.B,” 4 “d*mn,” 2 “cr*p,” 1 “sucks,” 5 “h*ll,” at least 7 derivatives of “G-d”
Alcohol/Drugs: Rhodes and Stark have beers in a bar; Tony meets a person in a bar; Tony gets a bottle of wine out of a chilled wine rack; A woman is completely drunk at the villain’s HQ.
Blood/Gore: We see Tony injecting something into his arm and we see some bloody dressings in his mouth (from his arm, he’s just holding them in his mouth). We then see him wipe away several bloody dots on his arm; Tony has a bloody lip; We briefly see Tony removing what looked like shrapnel from his arm, but it’s shown at an angle that’s not graphic and it’s very brief; A woman has a bloody cut on her forehead; Tony has blood on the bridge of his nose for much of the film and then lots of blood around his eye for many scenes; A man is seen lying on the ground after an explosion covered in bloody cuts and scrapes. We later see this person in a hospital bed with a bruised and battered face; We see some people who are either amputees or have lost limbs (not graphic); A person’s face lights up and turns orange before they explode. We see this again with another character later in some archival footage; Some characters who have been chemically altered have translucent orange skin and appear molten. Sometimes characters appear dead and then come alive or heal; Iron Man blows a hole through one such mutant man’s chest. It’s not focused on and we briefly see some charred, molten effects around their chest; Tony has additional bloody scrapes and such on his body throughout the climax of the film; Iron Man slices off a man’s arm and we see the fiery, molten limb on the ground and the fiery stump as it grows back; During the movie, some people are shot in various scenes and we briefly see a flash of red dots/wounds on them from where they’re hit; We hear about a piece of shrapnel being removed from a person and we see the shard in a pair of tweezers with some blood on it.
Violence: (Some possible spoilers ahead!) Lots of intense action violence. A plant explodes, charring up a wall in a room; We hear and see reports throughout the film about a terrorist. We see images of him and others firing guns and, in one instance, setting a hanging dummy on fire; A man’s face fills with light and then his body explodes, vaporizing a room full of people and putting a survivor in a coma; Tony’s mansion is attacked with rockets and crashes down into the water below. The scene is intense with lots of destruction. Tony busts down a door to a garage; A woman tears up a bar and fights Tony, with quite a bit of destruction. She’s joined by another man who also threatens Tony and a kid who’s helping him. The scene ends where an explosion propels her into power lines (we see her laying on top of the lines). A little later, a man collapses a water tower onto Tony and then threatens the kid. He escapes and Tony shoots him with his Iron Man hand blaster; The Mandarin threatens to execute a man on live TV. He then fires a gun (we don’t see it hit the victim) and the man is presumed dead; A man’s neck is snapped; We see footage of characters injecting themselves with a serum that makes them a mutant of sorts. One example shows a woman missing an arm having it grow back; A villain infiltrates a plane and enters a conference room, shooting and killing almost everyone inside. A hole is blown in the side of the plane and thirteen people fall out, while Iron Man tries to save them as they fall mid-air; A woman is shot in the chest suddenly and dies; Tony is tied up as a hostage; Tony gets part of his tech back and starts shooting at/fighting his captors, killing some of them; A mutant’s arm is sliced off and we see the stub look fiery as it grows back and the molten dismembered limb melts through the floor; A character presumably falls to their death, but we find out later that they’re okay; The climactic battle is huge involving multiple Iron Man suits fighting the mutants. Tony and Rhodes fight and evade many of the mutants; A character explodes and is presumed dead, but then we see them in a fiery state before being hit by another character and then blown up; And other comic book action violence.