IRON MAN 3
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
Robert Downey Jr. as TONY STARK
Gwyneth Paltrow as PEPPER POTTS
Don Cheadle as COLONEL JAMES RHODES
Guy Pearce as ALDRICH KILLIAN
Rebecca Hall as MAYA HANSEN
Jon Favreau as HAPPY HOGAN
Ben Kingsley as THE MANDARIN
Studio: Marvel Studios
Directed by: Shane Black
BY KEVIN CARR
After “The Avengers” tore up the box office last summer, the Marvel Studios follow-up “Iron Man 3” became the highest grossing movie of 2013. Things are great for Marvel right now.
Still, die-hard comic book fans were let down a bit by “Iron Man 3,” for various reasons. I, however, was not one of them. Along with “Pacific Rim,” this was my favorite summer tent pole release of 2013. I actually liked it better than the two previous films in the series, which I will admit is a minority opinion (at least when it comes to the original “Iron Man”).
Now, the film is available on DVD, Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray. Like the other films in this string of Marvel movies (ranging from the first “Iron Man” and through “The Avengers,” with the exception of “The Incredible Hulk,” which was released by Universal), the movie looks fantastic. While there are aspects to this film, both in story and palate, that are darker than the first two installments by Jon Favreau, new director Shane Black still manages to keep things relatively light.
“Iron Man 3” brings us back to the Tony Stark character, reminding the audience that he is the man behind Iron Man. The suit is nothing without him… even when he’s not in it. Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is recovering from nearly dying during the battle of New York, as seen in “The Avengers.” When he gets caught up in an ego war of terrorists, he appears to have been killed. With his super suit damaged, Stark goes into hiding a bit to try to uncover the mystery of who the mysterious terrorist leader The Mandarin is.
Here’s where the fans of the source material get upset… the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is different. I won’t drop any spoilers for the eleven or twelve people on the planet who have not yet seen this film. Let’s just say there’s more to him than is revealed in the comic books. Still, to someone like me (or most of the population) who never read the Iron man comics in the 60s, nothing is lost.
In the end, “Iron Man 3” is the most cohesive of the three movies because it’s not trying to tell any origin story (whether it’s the direct origin seen in “Iron Man” or the S.H.I.E.L.D. origin seen in “Iron Man 2”). It gets deeper into Stark’s head and starts to reveal some real human emotions in him, which he only discovered in the first film.
Plus, it’s a great load of fun when it comes to stunts, explosions and action set pieces.
The Blu-ray isn’t terribly loaded, but what is available on the special features menu is pretty decent. Expected bonus features include an audio commentary with Black and his writing partner, a gag reel, plus a slate of deleted and extended scenes. There’s also a couple featurettes that are enjoyable and well made, including “Iron Man 3 Unmasked” and “Deconstructing the Scene: Attack on Air Force One.” There’s also the “Exclusive Behind the Scenes Look – Thor: The Dark World,” but that’s just marketing for the next Marvel movie.
The most interesting bonus feature is “Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter,” which is a mini movie about Peggy Carter (Haley Atwell from “Captain America: The First Avenger”) and her recruitment into S.H.I.E.L.D. This also serves as a nice jumping-off point for ABC’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” which premieres this fall.