No signs of rust for Iron Man 3

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“Iron Man 3” opens today in theaters everywhere.

By Will Thomas

Staff Writer

"Iron Man 3" opens today in theaters everywhere.
“Iron Man 3” opens Friday, May 3 in theaters everywhere.

Robert Downey Jr. returns as Tony Stark in the third installment of the Iron Man franchise, officially kicking off the summer movie season. Since the events taking place in The Avengers, Stark has become an insomniac prone to anxiety attacks.

Stark spends all his time not sleeping, but down in his lab making more Iron Man suits, 42 to be exact. The United States has fallen victim to a new terrorist organization led by the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), and the military has no way of knowing when, where or how it will strike next.

Stark eventually calls out the Mandarin, who later attacks and destroys his home in Malibu along with the rest of the Iron Man armory. He is left with one suit to operate, which happens to be the least complete of his collection. The world believes he is dead, and he has to restart from scratch.

The movie switches rapidly between a dark dramatic thriller and a lighthearted action comedy. The deep moments during the movie are occasionally cut short by one of Downey’s hilarious one-liners, but they are still hilarious.

Downey gives his best performance as Stark to date. The film focuses on the mind of Stark, something that is neglected in the previous two films. Stark is not able to use the Iron Man armor to its full capacity for most of the movie, and he turns into a hilarious version of MacGyver. It is not just the resourcefulness of Stark but the struggle within that really keeps the audience invested.

Don Cheadle returns as Colonel James Rhodes, rebranding his armor from War Machine to the Iron Patriot. He and Gwyneth Paltrow are heavily overshadowed by Downey. Paltrow does not have nearly as much time on screen as expected, but she still plays her role as Pepper Potts fairly well. In every scene for Cheadle and Paltrow with Downey, the audience is just waiting for Stark to crack a joke.

The two main villains in the movie are the Mandarin and Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). One is an international terrorist, the other a businessman out for revenge. Both are completely fantastic in the movie. Kingsley strikes fear into the audience and is still able to get a laugh or two. Pearce’s character takes a predictable route, but the man really knows how to work a terror organization. The two of them are clearly the biggest challenge Iron Man has ever had to face on the big screen.

A young boy named Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins) assists Stark in recovering. It is not very often where annoying young children in movies are this entertaining. His chemistry with Downey just lights the whole theater up. Producers take an annoying small child and pit him against a bigger child. And it works tremendously.

There is a twist about halfway through the movie. And it really separates the fans of the comics from the typical moviegoer. This can be the deciding factor of whether you will love or hate this movie, so I will not spoil it for anyone. It is an interesting path that really works for the plot of the movie, but it will still irritate thousands of viewers.

The plot is fairly solid outside of some inconveniently timed technology failures. The movie is one where one really needs to be invested to enjoy it. The easiest movie to compare this with would be The Dark Knight Rises, where the hero loses everything and then has to start over. The movie is not without action. There are spectacular action sequences with an epic climax that leaves audiences winded

Iron Man 3 is easily the best of the trilogy. Is it flawless? Absolutely not. But for what it is, a superhero movie, it is a near perfect blend of action, drama and comedy. It has smart writing, great acting and breathtaking action.

Rating: A