In the ever growing world of comics in movies comes the DVD and third installment to the film that helped start it all, “Iron Man.” Hard to believe it’s only been five years since we first saw Robert Downey Jr. in that red suit, but here we are some $2.4 billion dollars later. That’s ridiculous, but a truth for the series that helped anchor the Marvel Cinematic Universe; a series that in my opinion just produced the best out of the bunch.
Picking up sometime after the dramatic events in “The Avengers,” we find a sleep deprived Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) tinkering in his shop on the latest and greatest Iron Man suit. Meanwhile, a new threat has surfaced from a source known only as ‘The Mandarin.’ And when that threat reaches Stark’s head of security, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) one night, Stark decides he has had enough; winds up issuing a statement and unfortunately brings the fight to his house. Next thing he knew, heavily armed choppers were outside gunning his house down sending Stark to the bottom of the ocean. Luckily, Stark had planned a trip through his AI assistant JARVIS before the attack and shortly thereafter, he was transported to a small Tennessee town. He uncovers this town witnessed an explosion at the hands of a veteran soldier who had injected ‘Extremis’ to help grow back a lost limb. Only when this ‘Extremis’ was rejected, it caused an explosion, one that Stark quickly realized was not entirely an accident. So, he kept looking into this so-called ‘Extremis’ virus to hopefully uncover something that made sense. Only what he found was not what he expected leading to a conclusion that not only ‘plays’ to current events around the world, but will have you smiling from ear to ear.
Make no mistake about it, without Robert Downey Jr., this series would not have reached a third installment and not earned anywhere close to the aforementioned $2.4 billion dollars. That’s amazing when you figure how down and out Downey Jr. was at one point in time. So, give him credit for truly resurrecting himself and becoming this mega star in this cinematic universe that does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon. And he is just so good in this role, almost like he was meant to play it. Maybe that’s all too obvious at this point, but it’s not as if Downey Jr. can take a day off with this character, so good for him for keeping it fresh and this enjoyable for all this time. With that said, he had some help in this one keeping up the laughs and energy. And leading that charge was probably Ben Kingsley, who played ‘The Mandarin.’ At first, a bit annoying, but he grows on you proving even Kingsley can shock you at his age. Same could be said for Jon Favreau, who I didn’t expect to even see, but enjoyed every second of him, reminding us of his talent as an actor. However, the surprise to this cast was none other than Guy Pearce, who played Aldrich Killian. What a performance from a guy we frankly never see as much as we should, but one I thoroughly enjoyed opposite Robert Downey Jr.
It takes a certain eye to succeed in this ever growing cinematic universe, so when I found out Jon Favreau was not going to come back to direct “Iron Man 3,” I took notice. I mean, given what he was able to do with the first two, not seeing him back for this third installment did not sit well. Even Robert Downy Jr. admitted, “Bringing in Shane Black to write and direct “Iron Man 3” to me is basically the only transition from Favreau to a ‘next thing’ that Favreau, the audience, Marvel and I could ever actually sign off on.” If that doesn’t speak volumes about the credibility and trust in writer/director Shane Black, I don’t know what does. And the best part is Black actually backed it up with some crafty directing to go along with the humor, which was a whole lot better than expected. Nothing seemed overdone and the action sequences fell right in line with what we have been accustomed to within this series. Plus, it tied back into “The Avengers’ very neatly, which I think is important as we move forward with Phase 2 within this universe. And maybe one day, after it’s all said and done, people will be able to sit down and watch all of these films in order.
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