Iron Man 3, in many ways, had to go back to the drawing board as it is the first of the Marvel films to follow The Avengers. The biggest change is that Jon Favreau isn’t directing, and that appears to be a smart move. However, what impressed me the most is the beefed up role of Pepper Potts played by Oscar winner Paltrow. The Marvel films have never given the females the spotlight they deserve, and this seems like a huge step in the right direction. Keeping with the ideology and rules of a trilogy, the script goes back into the past to reveal something we didn’t previously know. Iron Man 3 also does a good job of being a true standalone story.

​We find Tony Stark anxiety-ridden following the events in New York, secluding himself in his creative lab while working on his latest Mark 43 that can attach itself to him piece by piece. A terrorist named The Mandarin (Kingsley) continually attacks and kills prime US targets while Potts (Paltrow) is visited by a friend from her past (Pierce) and Stark one from his (Hall). Fed up by the assault on the nation, Stark announces his home address to the media and invites The Mandarin to come forward, which proves to be a big mistake that will risk everything and challenge Stark’s muscle and creativity.

The Iron Man 3 script makes very conscious efforts to not only show us something we haven’t seen in the previous two films plus The Avengers, but also change the expectations for all the comic book films. It doesn’t succeed completely, but the ambition is in the right place and I want to give some of that credit to writer/director Shane Black (KissKiss, Bang Bang). The decision to not only keep Paltrow’s Potts involved throughout the plot but making her an integral part to the climax wasn’t only smart, but brave and truly welcomed by the audience.

 ​The visual effects, as usual, are something to marvel at, but at this point we expect and assume them to be of a certain quality. Downey’s ever welcome crass and off color comedy routine is the real star of this movie and not the iron clad suit or heroics. Perhaps the films real low point is the skydiving barrel of monkeys routine that ironically feels like the story's most unrealistic and absurd exercise. The high point is the attack on Stark’s Malibu mansion, again with Potts lending a hand unlike she has done before.

 Final Thought – Paltrow’s Potts and new director reinvigorate Iron Man the third time around.

 Grade B

By: Dustin Chase

Dr. Donna Copeland’s


 Iron Man 3 takes an interesting turn in the series by making the hero more vulnerable than he has been in previous films, thanks to the writer/director Shane Black and his co-writer Drew Pearce.  However, Robert Downey, Jr., is just as eye-catching an Iron Man as previously, rolling with the punches, tumbles, and frustrations when the machinery doesn’t work properly or simply breaks down.  Additional elements in this version bring some lightness and humor, especially by introducing young Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins), who, at a low point will assist Tony Scott in getting his suits working again, and by the Ben Kingsley character, as he feigns innocence by being an “ac-tor.”  

 The cinematography (John Toll), production design (Bill Brzeski), and special effects are really at the heart of the production, to the extent that they become a character; they are as often the focus as the story itself.  Director Shane Black is to be congratulated for synthesizing so well all the elements in the film.  The number of people listed in the credit is astounding, which is a measure of how much “raw material” went into the picture.  

 It was different—and fun—to have other heroes working alongside the Iron Man in tense moments, like Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) delivering some final blows, Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) taking out a few of the mean guys, along with Harley Keener’s assistance.  Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) is appropriately chilling and makes your skin crawl in his personification of wickedness.

 Iron Man 3 is something of a spoof of action movies and super heroes, and does a fine job in achieving a balance between that and keeping the audience in suspense, while still delivering what people expect from an Iron Man film.  If the viewer can stay throughout the seemingly endless credits, there is a final scene, which is worth the wait.    Grade:  A