Iron Man 3 : With A Vengeance

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“I am Iron Man.” Well, not me personally. But I am familiar with the character of Tony Stark (billionaire, playboy, and philanthropist) who is in fact, Iron Man.  Marvel Studios latest addition to the cinematic universe premiered in U.S. theaters and took the box office by storm with a $175 million opening weekend.

The second sequel to 2008’s “Iron Man” that helped cement Robert Downey Jr. into the heart of geekdom, brings RDJ back after the events of last year’s all-star mash up, “The Avengers.” So how is Tony holding up after New York? Not so well, from the trailers we know the man in the can is having trouble sleeping. He is worried about how to protect the woman he loves from now limitless threat possibilities. Magic, aliens and the unknown have shaken the world, changing everything after all of these hidden secrets were forced upon the public following (or during, as a result of, etc.) the Chitauri invasion in the Avengers.

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Oddly set in the days leading up to Christmas, the story for Iron Man 3 takes Tony out of his element.  He doesn’t have any super powered heroes to rescue him. He doesn’t have S.H.I.E.L.D. to assist him with intel or firepower. It’s Tony Stark, thrown out into the world again, fending for himself. The Ten Rings, a terrorist organization that was paid to kidnap and kill Tony in the original film, has come back to the forefront. A leader known only as The Mandarin, has begun hijacking the airwaves and threatening the president. The Mandarin is attacking sites globally for some agenda leading up to a special present Christmas morning. When Tony’s personal life is effected by a bombing and friends are injured, Stark issues a threat to the terrorist. The Mandarin is quick to respond with a vicious attack that sends our hero on his mission of vengeance. Through spoiler-ific events that can be seen in the trailers, Tony is separated and isolated from his technology. Invoking themes from the first film, Tony is out of his element and forced to make do with what his strange surroundings have available. He has to deal with his inner demons and overcome them to save the day.

pearce19New comic book characters into the film franchises are Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) and Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) both from the 2005-2006 “Extremis” story arc in the comics. Drew Pearce and Shane Black who co-wrote the script have taken their own liberties with Extremis and made it their own. Usually included in every origin story is the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), who is a late game player to the trilogy. “You’ll never see me coming” as heard in the trailers by a taunting Mandarin, should be directed to the long time ink and paper fans, because they could never see the surprise twist in store.

Jon Favreau vacates the director’s chair and opts for an Executive Producer seat this time around. Shane Black, who previously worked with Downey Jr. on the film “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” steps up to direct the third adventure. The film’s flow and pace harkens back to classic action comedy from the 80’s and 90’s. Visions of “Die Hard: With A Vengeance” danced in my head as Iron Man 3 progressed;  as Iron Man 2 was ignored and everything tied back into the original film.

Captain America in “The Avengers” posed the question, “Big man in a suit of armor. Take that away, and what are you?”  From what we saw in “Iron Man 2,” I would say not that entertaining. However, the filmmakers are trying to show that there is more to Stark than the suit of armor, and unlike “2”, keeping him out of the suit doesn’t feel forced and the audience doesn’t feel denied of action. Changing the style of the film from the previous installments was exactly what the Iron Man franchise needed after last year’s game-changing Avengers.

As usual, die hard comic fans are having a difficult time dealing with the changes to core characters, but I think “Iron Man 3″ will become a shining beacon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, proving that four movies and five years into it, a character can still surprise and entertain the crowd. This was a solid sign-off until 2015’s “The Avengers 2”. let’s hope they can finally have some downtime to recharge the batteries for Phase 3.

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Written By The Erik Bryon;

OMfG Uber Geek.