Before the Camera:
Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Marvel's The Avengers)
Guy Pearce (Memento)
Don Cheadle (Boogie Nights)
Rebecca Hall (The Prestige)
Jon Favreau (Iron Man 2)
William Sadler (Die Hard 2)
Miguel Ferrer (Stephen King's The Night Flier)
James Badge Dale (The Departed)
Stephanie Szostak (Dinner for Schmucks)
Dale Dickey (TV's My Name is Earl)
Ty Simpkins (Insidious)
Ben Kingsley (Gandhi)
Listen up for:
Paul Bettany (Iron Man)
The Voice of Jarvis
Behind the Camera:
Directed by Shane Black
Produced by Kevin Feige, Stan Lee, Jon Favreau, Louis D'Esposito, and 7 other assorted Associate, Executive, and Co-Producers
Written by Drew Pearce and Shane Black
Iron Man created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck, and Jack Kirby
With Marvel’s Cinematic Avengers Initiative Phase One completed – that’s the group of films that started with Iron Man in 2008 and culminated in The Avengers in 2012 – Phase Two kicks off with the Armored Avenger’s third solo movie.
After the events in New York City at the climax of The Avengers – Tony Stark finds himself plagued with self doubt and unable to sleep. As he occupies himself tinkering in his lab on any number of things, his relationships and life begin to slide downhill. Then things take a turn for the terroristic when an A-1 nutjob calling himself the Mandarin (Kingsley) starts hijacking America’s airwaves to brag about his bombless explosive attacks on America – bombless because there’s no evidence of a bomb casing or explosive residue. Tony realizes there’s a connection between the Mandarin and a think tank called Advanced Idea Mechanics run by a twitchy genius named Aldrich Killian (Pearce). Aldrich sought out Tony’s help thirteen years ago, but the eternal party boy didn’t jump on board back then, and left Killian standing on a rooftop alone.
Stark continues to work out the bugs in his latest set of Iron Man armor, and uncovers evidence of a super soldier program called Extremis – and it seems Extremis is extremely dangerous – both to its recipients, and to those around them. Old pal James Rhodes (Cheadle) is busy protecting the US President (Sadler) in his newly rebranded War Machine armor – now painted up red white and blue and called Iron Patriot – and none of his Avenger pals are available to assist, leaving Tony all alone to stop the Mandarin’s mad machinations.
|Freddy Krueger, Michael Jackson...and now Tony Stark.|
After thoroughly enjoying the first Iron Man movie and all of the other solo hero films leading up to The Avengers, I found Iron Man 2 to be the weakest of the Avengers Initiative Phase One films. It just had sophomore slump written all over it. Consequently I wondered if IM3 would continue to go downhill, or would it pick up from the marvelous Avengers movie and keep the franchise flying high?
Well, before the movie even rolled a camera it became more interesting to me – because they decided to film it right in my backyard! (Mostly). They took over the entirety of Screen Gems Studios here in Wilmington NC and built all the amazing sets (and instituted a level of internal security that was never seen before at the studio that Dino built. In fact, those new security protocols might warrant a whole separate post.) They also shot in Raleigh NC and Miami Florida as well as a couple other spots in NC.
There were some fun stories of Robert Downey Jr interacting with the local crew in his inimitable manner; and it was funny when the production company attempted to camouflage the shoot by calling the production “Caged Heat” on paperwork and signage posted around town. That was the worst kept secret in the history of mankind as far as I could tell.
But I digress.
I chose to skip the 3-D and the IMAX 3-D versions, as the third dimension was an upconvert that didn’t add much according to some friends who saw it that way – and we don’t actually have IMAX here – we have IMAX Lite. Or LIEMAX – as it’s a 2 or 3 story screen that is distressingly close to the seating in the theater – nowhere near the 6 story awesomeness that I really want to experience one of these days.
But I digress.
Iron Man 3 turned out to be a terrific summer entertainment – fast moving, action packed, funny, and brimming with great visual effects. In his fifth film playing Tony Stark - (counting that cameo in The Incredible Hulk) – Robert Downey Jr proves worth every penny Marvel pays him. He is still fully committed to the role – and he seems to have effortless chemistry with anyone who shares the screen with him. Thankfully several of those co-stars are Iron Man vets now – with Pepper Potts ( Paltrow), James Rhodes (Cheadle), and Happy Hogan (Favreau) all returning. All three get some nice moments along the way, especially Cheadle, whose heroics as Iron Patriot could warrant an Iron Man-less spin-off film as far as I’m concerned. All of the actors strike the right notes in their roles – with Kingsley a surprisingly effective Mandarin – considering the character is a fairly dated non-PC Fu Manchu riff in the comics – and Pearce standing out as a socially inept science nerd whose AIM group provides a nice “wink” moment for those well versed in Marvel comics lore.
There’s obviously a lot of CGI in the movie – and it’s mostly very effective, though I have quibbles that some (all?) of the scenes of Stark in the armor have the suit digitally added (note when he touches Pepper’s lapels that his hands don’t seem quite “there.”) I also had an issue with a sequence in the movie called the “barrel of monkeys” scene. I don’t want to give anything away – but it involves Iron Man working to save several people in a very brief span of time. Well, that scene had a major chunk shot downtown here on the Cape Fear river, with stuntpeople flying all over the river thanks to cranes and wire rigs. I got to see a little of this being shot – and it looked amazing. Weirdly, when those moments actually came in the movie – the height it was happening at had been reduced (?) and they entire final few shots now looked completely CGI – which is really sad since there were actual stunts happening with people taking some long drops into the river during the shooting, and all of that has been negated into another digital scene.
See what I mean?
Still, those are some small quibbles in an entertainingly big and over-the-top superhero movie anchored by RDJ and his joie de vivre. If you’ve enjoyed the other movies in this franchise – I think you’ll enjoy this one too. And do I even need to tell you to stick around through all of the credits for a little extra bit at the very end?
Let's Get Out of Here ?
Very roughly around the hour and a half mark, Don Cheadle thinks he and William Sadler should head for quieter ground.
Eye Candy ?
Rebecca Hall! You just got the call! Now give us your all!
Buddha Man's Capsule Review
|Buddha Man says " Iron Man 3 has the mettle to prove no one|
has gotten rusty making these movies!"
Thank you Buddha me lad. Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here.