Family watches out for family, so I invited my younger cousin Andrew to chime in on Iron Man 3.

Why? Well, mostly because I’m tired of writing about Marvel @$#%, but also because the kid seems to have an opinion. Whether I agree or disagree is irrelevant, but, as a movie nerd, what I can’t accept is a viewer with no opinion at all. Sure, those people exist (hell, movies like Iron Man 3 are targeted exactly towards people like that), but I don’t have to like them.

What was I saying? Oh. Right. Andrew…

If his review is anything like our Thanksgiving movie debates, I’m sure he’s bound to piss someone off. Enjoy.

Iron Man 3
Directed by Shane Black
Starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Ben Kingsley

4 out of 5 Arnolds
Ghosts from Tony Stark’s detestable past resurface in Iron Man 3. This time the once shallow hero has to contend with three key players. Initially, scientist Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) and scorned fanboy Aldrich Killian (Guy Pierce) are his main opposition. However, the story doesn’t really get rolling until the much advertised villain hits the scene: The Mandarin.

Played by Ben Kingsley with maximum effect, The Mandarin is a brilliant creation and the best  I have seen in a superhero film in years. On the one hand, he is the icon of evil, playing the role of a menacing supervillain phenomenally. On the other hand, he serves as a profound commentary on the American culture’s xenophobia. It’s an extremely meta take on the Nolan-esque “super-terrorist,” popularized by Heath Ledger in 2008’s The Dark Knight.

If this is the standard that Marvel is setting for “Phase 2”,
I cannot wait to see what they bring to the table next.

Action A No No or Action A Go Go? Action A Go Go!
Iron Man 3 is filled to the brim with engaging action and gut-busting humor. Director Shane Black’s presence is strongly felt, as the story plays out in a manner very similar to his patented buddy cop style from two decades prior. The fact that Black wrote Lethal Weapon will come as no surprise after seeing this movie, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.

Robert Downey, Jr. gives what is by far his best performance as Tony Stark, completely selling Black’s script, which, surprisingly enough, serves as a perfect finale to the Iron Man series. I didn’t expect to say that after seeing this, but I honestly don’t want an “Iron Man 4” to be made. Never before have I seen a franchise voluntarily wrap itself up so neatly and with dignity intact.

Iron Man 3 is the best thing Marvel Studios has ever done on film. It analyzes and deconstructs the superhero movie but  never loses its identity as a member of the genre. The script is ferociously sharp with a dark sense of humor, making it refreshingly different than the other two “Iron Man” films that precede it.

-Andrew Allen