Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Video review: "Iron Man 3"

After three outings plus an Avengers tie-in movie, Iron Man is showing his rust.

What once was a fun, zippy roller-coaster ride of a super-hero franchise has quickly devolved into a predictably dark-and-dreary phase. Much like with the last Batman movie, the man behind the mask has grown tired of wearing it, and spends much more time stewing in his personal pit of despair than battling bad guys.

Here Tony Stark is facing confidence problems in the wake of battling aliens, and suffers panic attacks. Robert Downey Jr. still has that rapscallion twinkle in his eye, but he has fewer opportunities to show off his motor-mouth charm.

 Lady love Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is demanding that he give up the whole super-hero shtick. But with a mysterious terrorist named the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) blowing up stuff all over the world, that isn’t about to happen.

New director Shane Black and screenwriter Drew Pearce opt for the buffet approach to storytelling: throw in a little bit of everything, and hope people find something they like. The result is a hot mess of action scenes, male posturing and political plots.

It’s capped off by a ridiculous finale where Stark summons all forty-odd versions of the Iron Man suit to come fight for him, remotely controlled by computer. If he could do that, why didn’t he roll with an entire platoon of automaton Iron Men wherever he went?

“Iron Man 3” isn’t a bad movie, but clearly the red-and-gold avenger has lost much of his luster.
Video features are quite good, though you’ll have to go for the Blu-ray/DVD edition to get the best stuff. The DVD version has only a making-of documentary and a featurette about shooting the Air Force One scene.

Get the combo upgrade and you add a gag reel, deleted and extended scenes, and a feature-length commentary by writer/director Black and co-screenwriter Pearce. You also get a behind-the scenes sneak peek at “Thor: The Dark World” and an all-new short film featuring S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Carter (Hayley Atwell).

Along with a new TV show, another Captain America flick and the inevitable Avengers sequel, Marvel is building a whole super-universe.



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