Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Iron Man 3 in Theaters Now

I've heard mixed reviews, but you know, I really loved Iron Man 3. I love superhero origin stories foremost, but next to that, I like to see my superheroes suffer and stumble in the dark and still come out triumphant. I can't relate to them when they are flying about saving the world. But I can relate to them when they are doubting and hurting, confused, alone. I'm not a masochist, really! Sure, I like to see that raw edge, yet at the same time, that grittiness means nothing if it's not followed by victory, or at least hope. Iron Man 3 nicely balances its depiction of raw humanity, groaning against the earth, with a triumphant goodness that makes you want to pump your fist in the air.

In Iron Man's origin story, I liked him well enough. He was funny and cool. I didn't like his morals much, but he started to change. In Iron Man 3, I love him. He's still rough around the edges, but Pepper Potts has centered him. He doesn't chase other women or act like a rich, spoiled brat (well...okay, less so than before, at least). He and Pepper have a great love story (though a little modern for my tastes--there's been no mention of marriage). He still aggravates her and makes mistakes, but in the end, she's the most important thing in the world to him. And he's learned to apologize...sort of. Pepper, on her part, is a hugely forgiving woman. She knew what she was in for when she became Tony's woman, and she can handle him because she's her own woman, too. She can wear the suit and kick butt. She's not a complainer. She's a doer. And she can roll with Tony's sense of humor. If you didn't like Pepper before this movie, I don't know how you can't after it. She's totally sweet and totally tough. She doesn't get a ton of screen time, but she uses it well.

Of course, I'm talking about the actors as much as the fictional characters. To me, Iron Man is Robert Downey Jr., and Pepper Potts is Gwyneth Paltrow. I can't picture anyone else in those roles. Robert Downey Jr. brings such a crazy energy to his character. His lines are fast-paced, sort of mumbly, hysterically funny, and so well-timed. His interaction with his machines (Jarvis) and the suits is believable (within the world) and humorous, especially when putting on his newest creation involves a high-speed, piece-by-piece, body-bruising, groin-punching, airborne suiting up. Great physical comedy, which I love!

The story of Iron Man 3 works for me, but Tony Stark's personal journey through his anxieties and distractions to what really matters: being the hero and keeping Pepper safe, is what struck all the right chords. I'm not at all familiar with the Iron Man of the comic books, so if this story diverges from that or not (which I know now that it does) doesn't matter at all to me. I enjoyed the plot and the villains and the twists. I enjoyed seeing the heart underneath Iron Man's bravado exterior. The kid Tony interacts with is a brilliant touch for humanizing the Iron Man.

And I absolutely loved the short little punchline at the end of the credits. I don't want to spoil it for you. It's a little different than the usual fare you might expect. It's not really a preview of movies to come. But it's funny, so be sure to stick around for the last laugh.

Iron Man 3 is rated PG-13, mostly for action and violence. (I did not find it appropriate for the four-year-old girl sitting in my row.) Most middle school kids should be fine. Incidentally, I had a lot of great previews in front of my showing of Iron Man 3. Marvel has its own corner of the movie market, and they are doing brilliantly, though DC's new Superman was also previewed. Superheroes are definitely in.

Iron Man 3 just came out this past weekend, and if you've been on the same Marvel bandwagon as the rest of us, support some little town's local theater (Cheaper tickets! Everything said, $10 is still an awful lot to pay for the big screen.) and see it now!

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