Iron Man 3 Review: One of the Best Superhero Movies Ever

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Iron Man 3 is one of the best superhero movies ever.

It succeeds in places The Avengers failed.

It has stuff for the casual explosion-hungry moviegoer. It has stuff for the passionate comic book fan. It has stuff for the cynical film aficionado. It satisfies all three without sacrificing much, and while still reserving the ability to surprise.

Iron Man 3 IMAX Poster

The Avengers was a great film because it codified the “Superhero franchise” as a thing. And it was action-packed, doubtless.

But ultimately, The Avengers was two giant fight scenes strung together via mostly-assumed background information.

Iron Man 3 isn’t that. It has the heart of the first Iron Man film (more, even) as well as the stylized comic book tropes - your evil scheming corporate masterminds, your superhuman abilities - necessary for a superhero film to be successful.

But above all, Iron Man 3 has a cohesive plot with very few plot holes, something that is supremely appreciated these days. It reserves the fight scenes for when they matter.

Most blockbuster action movies recklessly jump from set piece to set piece, from explosion to plotless explosion, with no regard for tying any of it to the emotional investment the audience makes just by walking into the theater.

Iron Man 3 doesn’t.

Robert Downey, Jr. turns in the fun, inoffensively sardonic performance we’ve all come to expect from him, with some welcome sincerity thrown into the mix.

When Tony Stark is targeted by a new terrorist mastermind, he decides to provoke him into battle. The plan backfires, however, when his personal world, including Pepper Potts (played by Gwyneth Paltrow, with increased screen time), is viciously attacked.

Expectation is shirked at this point, however, when Stark’s “go-and-get-‘em” moment takes a detour into pensive road movie territory.

This is where Iron Man 3 really stands out. It plays with the idea of Stark as a technological genius, as an exhausted but stubbornly determined stalwart, as a reluctant role model.

Ty Simpkins gives one of the best child-actor performances in years as Harley, a kid Stark meets along the way. By the end of the film, you’ll desperately want some kind of Joseph Gordon-Levitt at the end of The Dark Knight Rises moment with Harley.

Ben Kingsley Iron Man 3

And when Stark finally reaches his target, he learns a thing or two about identity in the context of his superhero world.

Where the film falters most is its feeble attempt at addressing the craziness of The Avengers in the context of a very “realistic” (in superhero terms) movie. Stark, clearly shaken by the events of that film, does little more to address it than confessing to Pepper something along the lines of, “How crazy was that?”

That’s because Iron Man 3 feels real. All of its comic-bookish elements are rooted in the terrestrial: technology, innovation, science. Even Guy Pearce, who gives the most cartoonishly comic-booky performance of the film as a pathetic nerd-turned-confident millionaire, has some foundation in reality.

The film takes place in a post-9/11 world where terror is a real thing, with real political implications.

It investigates the iconography of good and evil, and the sometimes-confusing nature of the symbolic fight between them, with a very memorable performance from Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin.

And besides all that, Iron Man 3 is hilarious--it’s by far the funniest Superhero movie in recent memory. It’s fun as hell. It keeps your eyes glued to the screen, and has you leaving the theater in awe. It’s in the running right up there with The Dark Knight for Best Superhero Movie Ever.

If this is what the rest of Marvel Phase 2 will be like, then we’re in for a treat.

RATING: 4.5/5


Great review but, the constant comparisons to Nolan's Dark Knight catastrophes almost makes me want to wait for the DVD. Every time you mention the Dark Knight with praise, I wonder if this is just another fanboy review... because only a fanboy or someone with zero objectivity likes Nolan's Batman movies. So, If you have such high regard for the TDK, than I wonder if IM3 is actually a good movie... or is it just a, "OMG it's an Iron Man movie so it's great!" fanboy reaction.


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Check out my review of Iron Man 3:


Check out my in-depth review of Iron Man 3:

Christopher antilope

I would really, REALLY, love to say that you have no clue what you're talking about, but that wouldn't be too nice. However, on behalf of all the comic book lovers who watched this film, we would agree that it is most certainly not "right up there with The Dark Knight for Best Superhero Movie Ever," but rather one of the worst. There were, indeed, plot holes (how did he steal the Eric Savin's van/vehicle, and magically turn it into an AUDI?). Worst of all was the Mandarin, who, actually, wasn't even the Mandarin at all, but the worst "portrayal" of a villain ever. I've been angry at this film for the past 20 hours due to the complete lack of story and homage to the comics. If you want to portray a comic book character properly, bring that EXACT comic book character to life! Nobody would want to see the Joker portrayed by an Asian female who's intent is to stuff teddy bears with sweet tarts, right? Overall message: don't fuck up what you've already got in front of you on the comic book pages.

@ Christopher Antilope

mate i don't think a change of car is that much of a plot hole. also the dark knight rises didnt follow the knighfall storyline, it just used some elements to fashion a story, in the same way iron man 3 did. it just seems like you want to dislike this film, so have created ways to justify that.

@ Rapid Mike

get that stick out of your ass and stop whining, for every plot hole in im3 i can name 2 more in dark knight, it was a great movie an possibly one of the best up there with batman begins (which is better than the dark knight)

Christopher antilope
@ ItCameFromPlanetEarth

Alright, I just pulled it out. Wasn't too hard to do. Anyways, let's get back to reviewing the film and stop attacking the person rather than the point. There were an incredible amount of plot holes in The Dark Knight Rises. Believe me, I was pretty upset about that too, unfortunately. Look, when I watch movies, I go for many reasons: to enjoy myself, and to think critically, because that's what I've been taught to do in this day and age. As for Iron Man 3, it still depresses me, a week later, of how everything was carried out. I've thought a lot about it. From what it looks like, nobody really had to watch it since it had nothing to do with The Avengers storyline (other than Tony Stark having a panic attack whenever someone mentioned "New York," "Aliens," or "Wormhole"). Sure, I analyzed it real critically. But look at it this way, if you were making a movie based on something true, would you want to keep it as faithful to what you're basing it on as possible? I mean, come on; look at how Shane Black portrayed the characters (wrongly). Starting from bad to worse, Eric Savin was not an Extremis user, he was a villain named Coldblood. James Rhodes was never Iron Patriot; that was Norman Osborn a.k.a. The Green Goblin. Pepper Potts had no affiliation with Extremis or Aldrich Killian whatsoever in the comics. Speaking of Killian, I'm more than happy to point out that in the first few pages of the Extremis plot, he kills himself. End of Killian. He is has no contact with Extremis (he simply sold it to terrorists). He had no association with the Ten Rings. And he sure-as-hell was not The Mandarin. Worst of all: The Mandarin. Nobody has to be a comic book junkie to figure out that The Mandarin character was done so wrong. They took Iron Man's arch nemesis and portrayed him as wrong as possible. I don't need to tell you that not only was The Mandarin a supervillain, but he had powers thanks to his rings and was not controlled by anybody. This film, believe it or not was the Marvel version of The Dark Knight Rises...don't believe me, here: so you're telling me that in the movie, Bruce, I mean Tony, has to fight off Bane, I mean Mandarin, while a secret villain, Talia Al...I mean, Aldrich Killian, attacks from within? That's weird. But if I know one thing about the film, its this: An English actor playing a terrorist with a weird voice who wants to teach the billionaire superhero a lesson in a very public and violent way, almost always spells disaster for The Dark Knight Ris...I mean, Iron Man 3. Thank God for John Blake and Catwom...I mean, thank God Pepper and Rhodes! Yeah, pretty close. Now, I'm going to let you sink in ALL of the information that I've given you. I'd love to hear back from you so we can continue this mature discussion started by yours truly. Cheers!


It was amazing... So breath taking! You can also see its official trailer (in low budget) following this link


Buddy cop team of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover ... Umm, I mean, RDJ and Don Chedle save Rene Russo ... err... Gweneth Paltrow! and rescue the President of the US from the evil terrorist. Ummmmm. Holy [expletive]!!! If Shane Black wanted to make another Lethal Weapon, then why didn't he?! Did I seriously just see that [expletive]? Am I living in the Twilight Zone? This was a gag, right? When does the real movie come out? ...


I was not disappointed but rather in transition in having to change my perspective considering the director of the movie was not Jon Favreau. I did enjoy Iron Man 3 for the insight it provided into Tony Starks psyche. I was taken back because of my expectations of the previous Iron man movies. The plot was interesting but not all aspects were evolved, lots of innuendos were needed by the viewer to enjoy the plot. My view was that the story line followed more of the comic book story line and was true to events but the story line of the previous Iron Man movies was not fluid. I support the greatness intended of this third transition of Iron Man movies. I am curious where the next chapter will develop...will they go back or go forward...


I am a big fan of Iron man and this movie was a major disappointment. I left the theatre not only disappointed but angry. Basically Ironman gets his butt kicked all through the movie. In Avengers Ironman was badass, but in this movie he barely survives each engagement he is in. He has to be saved numerous times and the ironman suits get trashed left and right. Also Stark threatens a world class terrorist and then waits around his home wearing a suit. Then we find out that suit isn't "battle ready." So why would he be wearing it around the house expecting a fight? The ending, following the only real fight scene, is also a major let down. Stark needs to remain true to his character and not get whipped by Pepper. That character changed way to much for one movie. She has to save ironman, more than once, later becomes super-human and back again all in one movie. Way too much.
The only thing that met expectation was the acting. The special effects were also very good.
Overall the story did NOT work, and if your a real Ironman fan, do yourself a favor and never see this movie.

@ G

I'm still trying to figure out why everyone keeps saying in The Avengers this happened and in The Avengers that happened? This is post Avengers a lot has happened since then, and he's dealing with a lot personally and pyshically since the first two Iron Man films & Avengers. What would be going through your mind at this point of almost dying several times, evil minded poeple attacking you out of revenge, spite, and everything else you can think of, and having to protect the one you love, your best friend, and basically the entire planet! I think people read way too much into this film and because the style has changed from good, silly, fun to somewhat dark, real, and just a different formula altogether from the first two films and The Avengers, it's awful and disappointing!?! I think it's a great fresh take on the character and you get to see Tony evolve rather than keep the same formula as the previous adaptations.

@ Knoxville

What a dissapointment. It should be naed "Iroman the pussy" I as a fan of ironman got out of the theatre.
He gets his butt destroyed many times and seems to be useless. The acting was great, but the movie is a waste.Seems like the new director has no idea what Ironman is about. Ionman 1 is the best, they went from Great to Bad. What is wrong with this guy? Go and watch it, but get ready to come out of the movie angry or at least dessapointed.


As long as it is not boring, I would watch it.

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