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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

May 12, 2013

Iron Man 3 Review: Disappointing With So Many Talky Scenes That Can Be Edited Out

‘IRON MAN 3’ is quite disappointing for us. It’s definitely affected by Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) participation in “The Avengers”. He used to go solo, but “The Avengers” subjected him to the indignity of sharing the limelight with a bigger congregation of other superheroes. No wonder he’s shown having anxiety attacks in “Iron Man 3”. But sad to say, that bit of plot mechanics showing him like he’s going to have a nervous breakdown didn’t really go anywhere and only bogged the story down.

There are just too many scenes in “Iron Man 3” where the characters just talk and talk and they could have all been trimmed down to make the pacing quicker. A big chunk of the film even shows Stark running around the Midwest for some flimsy reasons.

The villain this time is Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), a terrorist who sends videos to the media like Bin Laden and Al Qaeda and stages some bombings. But he turns out to be just a front (this is meant to be funny) and the real bad guy is Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), a scientist rejected by Stark before and has now created an army of super soldiers who seem unbeatable after undergoing his re-growth and repair experiments.

Stark is at first lackadaisical about the whole thing, until the scriptwriters think of a very new plot ploy never before used in action flicks: his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is kidnapped by the villains. So now, it becomes personal and Stark has to rescue her.

There are some exciting action set pieces, foremost of which is the attack on Stark’s plush cliffside mansion bombarded by helicopters until it collapses into the sea. Then there’s the kidnapping of the U.S. President (William Sadler) where staff members falling from Air Force One are saved by the skydiving Stark while they’re plummeting down to a sure death. The climactic finale showing the President and Pepper being rescued in a giant oil rig is spectacular, what with a fleet of Iron Men coming to the rescue and staged like a video game with so many explosions. You’d just wonder, though: why didn’t Stark use the services of his reserved Iron Men before when he was going through a series of setbacks? There’s also a subplot about a boy, Harley (Ty Simpkins), who helps him when he gets stranded in Tennessee. Their bonding is meant to tug at the heartstrings. Ho-hum...

The funniest thing in the movie for us is when Jon Favreau (director of “Iron Man 1 and 2”) is now reduced to doing a supporting role as Stark’s bodyguard who gets injured in a bombing and stays in the hospital. We really laughed when he’s shown watching “Downton Abbey”, the hit British series we love to follow.

The franchise’s chief asset remains to be Downey. He remains to be the wisecracking smooth-talking character that he is, always showing off his devilish charm whether he’s playing Stark or Sherlock Holmes.