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Movie Review: "Iron Man 3"

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Theatrical Release: 5/3/2013

Theatrical Release: 5/3/2013


Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is Iron Man. This fact is known the world over, but he is not enough to single-handedly dismantle all terrorist organizations on a global scale. Terrorists are still out there, and after a terrorist attack puts someone Tony cares about in jeopardy, he sets out on a mission to put an end to the organization responsible. However, in setting his sights on them, the leaders of that organization set their sights on him as well.

Meanwhile, Tony's past once again catches up with him. A scientist named Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) is messing with dangerous science that he has not yet mastered, and an old associate named Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) reaches out to Tony for help. Tony has embraced his role as Iron Man, but he certainly has his hands full. On top of everything, he has been suffering from PTSD since Loki and the Chitauri's attack on New York City, providing yet another obstacle for Tony.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Tony Stark & Iron Man (+10pts)

The Actor (-3pts)

The Mystery & A.I.M. (+5pts)

Maya Hansen (-3pts)

Harley Keener & Aldrich Killian (+4pts)

Pepper Potts (-2pts)


Pro: Tony Stark & Iron Man (+10pts)

Tony Stark and Iron Man were once again strengths of this movie, which is a good thing given he was the titular character. In the first movie, Tony had the story arc of a man becoming a hero. In the second movie, Tony had the story arc of a hero living with his identity being known the public, and dealing with the ramifications of that. In this movie, the filmmakers took Tony's story even further.

Tony once again had to deal with the ramifications of his identity being known to the public, and it put the people he cared about in danger. He was also simultaneously dealing with PTSD, as a result of the alien attack on New York. Tony has become a hero, and he has saved the planet, but it has come at a cost, and it was interesting to see him dealing with that. Then putting the interesting character story aside, there was plenty of Iron Man action in this movie to keep me happily entertained. It was neat to see Tony's suits being used in different ways, and I enjoyed seeing how Tony dealt with certain situations while not having a fully operational suit at his disposal. This movie had some obvious problems, but Tony Stark and Iron Man were certainly not among them.


Con: The Actor (-3pts)

Some have hated on this movie pretty hard for this issue, and I do not entirely agree with that sentiment. I actually liked the misdirect here, because it felt like it broke free from the superhero story formula. What I did not like was the character logic that came with the twist. I did not buy that the antagonist of the movie would have hired an actor to do what they wanted the actor to do. It did not make a whole lot of sense, seeing as how they could have just left the role entirely anonymous, and it would have been just as effective. Some think this issue ruined the movie, and I think that is quite frankly ridiculous. It created a logic based plot hole, but I did not think the movie was ruined as a result of that.

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Pro: The Mystery & A.I.M. (+5pts)

To avoid spoilers, I will keep this kind of vague, but there was a terrorist attack that occurred, which got Tony hooked into solving a mystery. He needed to find out who was responsible, he needed to find out why, and he needed to put a stop to it. It was interesting seeing Tony taking on the role of investigator, as it added another layer to the type of hero Tony was. He was not someone who simply flew around in a suit beating down villains.

Tony was a problem solver, and I enjoyed seeing that side of the character being explored in this movie. I also liked the group known as A.I.M., as it presented Tony with an adversary that was not simply a bad guy in a suit—like we had already seen in the last two movies. This was a whole organization, which gave the movie a conspiracy vibe, and the science that organization was working on forced Tony to go up against enhanced antagonists. It also did not hurt that their abilities were different than what we have seen in previous movies, so it meant Tony had to think outside the box in order to deal with them.


Con: Maya Hansen (-3pts)

At first, I was totally on board with this character. She was an old associate of Tony's, her expertise tied in pretty directly with the problem Tony was facing, and her past with Tony helped setup the main antagonist of the movie. This made her feel relevant to the story, while also making the antagonist feel like more than just a random new villain to come Tony's way. What I did not like about the character, however, was the direction the filmmakers ended up taking her story. It felt like the filmmakers were delivering twists for the sake of delivering twists, rather than delivering ones that made sense.


Pro: Harley Keener & Aldrich Killian (+4pts)

Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins) was a boy Tony met along his journey. He was a young inventor, and he met Tony while Tony was at his lowest point in this story. Tony had no working suit, and he was essentially stranded in Harley's town when the two met. I loved the banter between these two characters, and I thought Harley and his relationship with Tony was one of the highlights of the movie.

Then there was Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who was a scientist who had been bullied and overlooked his whole life. He had been personally wronged by Tony, and he spent his career improving his idea and hoping to get back at Tony for what happened years earlier. In Iron Man 2, we had Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) whose family had been wronged by the Stark family. In this movie, Aldrich Killian had a similar beef, but his issue was with Tony himself, as opposed to the Stark family as a whole. You will also somewhat sympathize with Aldrich Killian, which made his story feel tragic, and it made the final confrontation between the two characters feel heated—pun very much intended.


Con: Pepper Potts (-2pts)

It seemed like the filmmakers did not really know what to do with Pepper Potts in this movie. She was in the story, sure, but it seemed like the filmmakers tried to get Tony as far away from her as possible. The story was then all about Tony trying to get back to her and trying to redeem himself for getting himself—and Pepper—into trouble in the first place. In other words, she was indirectly a big part of this story, but she did not really contribute much to it herself. Then there was the thing at the end, which felt like the filmmakers' way of trying to make up for that. It was a silly moment that had serious implications, only for a narrated montage sequence to swoop in at the end of the movie and undo it.

Grading Scale






























Grade: B+ (86pts)

This is one of the Marvel movies that gets a lot of hate, and I do not think that hate is entirely justified. The actor thing effectively subverted expectations, and it took the movie in an unexpected direction, but it did not make much sense in terms of character logic, so I definitely agree with those who say it was one of this movie's issues. I also thought the filmmakers started off strong with the introduction of Maya Hansen, but I was not a fan of where they eventually took her story. Then there was Pepper Potts, who seemed somewhat out-of-place. She was indirectly important to the story, as she was who Tony was trying to get back to and protect, but she did not do much herself.

The movie certainly had its problems, and while I agree with many of the issues people had with the movie, I disagree with the severity of those issues, as there was still plenty to like about Iron Man 3. Tony's story was interesting, as he was forced to take a hard look at who he was without the suit, as well as what was truly important to him. Iron Man was as entertaining as ever, as the filmmakers delivered plenty of unique suits and entertaining action sequences. I also liked Harley Keener's dynamic with Tony, and I enjoyed Aldrich Killian, as he was a villain with a sympathetic story and was more unique than just another Iron Man villain in a variant of an Iron Man suit. I also liked the mystery element of this story, as it set the movie apart from the two movies that came before it. The movie definitely had some problems, but it was still a good movie.

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