firstname.lastname@example.org — In a time when God-like status is granted to those who can obtain the franchise tag for a film series, the true test of creative power is not falling flat when that third or later chapter is born. For every “Lord of the Rings” or “Star Wars” there is an “X-Men: Last Stand” or “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” laden with a stale taste that challenges nothing and defeats the purpose of audience investment in the future.
It is oftentimes necessary to take at least a few risks to shake things up, damning the wrath of fanboys for a chance of at least one last refreshing ride and despite how uncomfortable some were with the changes in today’s subject; it’s at least not something we saw laid out in previews. Much like in the entirely fabulous line by the main villain in the trailer, many of us must admit it was a route we didn’t see coming. “Iron Man 3” undoubtedly continues Hollywood’s dismissal of purist fans’ wishes, but upon full reflection it is a brilliant salute to the cliché that something may not always be what it appears on the surface.
Set not long after the series of events in “The Avengers,” Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has struggled a bit to find peace both on a personal level as well as through his relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) since saving the world as Iron Man. Complicating the whole inner crisis mess is yet another set of decisions not made so wisely in his past as well as the emergence of a new terrorist known as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley).
In a way perfectly befitting murphy’s law, all of this clusterfudge comes crashing down at once with the destruction of his home, the hospitalization of close friend/former body guard Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) and a suspicious reappearance of an old acquaintance named Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). Though not quite an alien invasion this time around, protecting what he cares for is no less difficult as this hero must find more than armor on the outside to come out on top this time. Ironically requiring a near Sherlock Holmes approach to make it through all of the plot twists, one is never given a chance to get bored as each revelation or action sequence keeps each audience member invested until the end.
It’s a tough call whether or not the overall effort will be enough to push this through as the first hero flick to not be ignored out of serious Academy consideration. On the one hand, there’s not quite as many scenes where you feel compelled to cheer or fist pump as when all the heroes were kicking Loki’s butt, though the compelling storytelling involving a much more emotional attachment and usual arrogant humor of Stark certainly makes up for just about any flaws.
Perhaps one of these days even Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine/Iron Patriot (Don Cheadle) will be treated with a little more respect for someone who is supposed to be Stark’s close friend, but again only seems just convenient enough to enter the fray to help mop up the scene leftovers. Once it was all over though I did have quite a bit of fun and recommend it for those open minded enough to loosen grips on any comic or other material that previously tied the character down. I’d say it’s all worth staying tuned in until at least “Avengers 2” with a final verdict of three and three fourths out of five Stan Lees.
Movie viewing experience courtesy of the Royal Twin Theater of Pauls Valley.