Dick De Jong
September 26, 2013
Iron Man 3 wears the crown as the top grossing film in the last year (over 1.2 billion dollars worldwide). Of course, box office is not the best judge of a film - except for movie studio executives.
But a closer look at the numbers reveals that this third installment in the Iron Man franchise had staying power, meaning that the initial audience enjoyed it enough to recommend it to their friends and even go back themselves.
In other words, Iron Man 3 delivered the goods, a heady cocktail of action, humor and humanity.
Much of the credit goes to Robert Downey Jr. (the billionaire genius Tony Stark and jet-packed superhero Iron Man), and the great cast assembled to complement him, including Gwyneth Paltrow, (the ginger Pepper Pots, Tony's serious gal pal), Don Cheadle, (the bromantic Colonel James Rhodes and flying sidekick Iron Patriot), Guy Pearce, (the fire breathing Aldrich Killian with a charcoal briquette on his shoulder), and Ben Kingsley, (the ditzy actor Trevor Slattery and his alter ego, the demonic radical The Mandarin).
Though for me, what makes Iron Man 3 the best of the trilogy is Shane Black, who not only directed but also co-wrote (with Drew Pearce) the screenplay.
In 2005, Black wrote and directed the delightful Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang which starred Downey rapid-firing Black's voiceover monologues.
In Iron Man 3, Black's wry, self-deprecating humor fits Tony Stark's persona (and Downey's staccato delivery) like those pieces of armor zipping through the air and swathing Stark's skeleton.
In addition, the script reveals the playboy Stark's romantic side as he commits to Pepper, who has an opportunity to portray the warrior heroine in Extremis.
But Black and Pearce also wanted to strip away the cocky Stark's superhero exoskeleton and expose the vulnerable fragile man who can be driven to debilitating anxiety attacks by a prying street urchin, (Ty Simpkins as the juvenile smart-ass assistant Harley Keener).
It's refreshing to see that even the mighty Iron Man can be freaked out by the gods and aliens that invaded New York City in last summer's The Avengers movie.
Of course, Iron Man 3 packs enough action for any adrenaline junkie. The Blu-ray renders those explosive scenes in glorious high def images and 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, which beg for the biggest screen and the baddest audio system possible.
I am reviewing the 2D Blu-ray, but I can imagine that all those hurtling armor parts and rocketing iron men make for great 3D moments.
Not to miss an opportunity to expand The Avengers mythology Marvel Studios included a mini-episode titled Marvel One Shot: Agent Carter, which features Hayley Atwell reprising her role as Peggy Carter, Captain America's girl before he is frozen in ice.
It's 1946 and she is relegated to a desk job under the dismissive Bradley Whitford. Telling you any more would be a spoiler. Let's just say that S.H.I.E.L.D. is involved.
Marvel also included an Exclusive Behind-The-Scenes Look at Marvel's "Thor: The Dark World" for those who cannot wait to see Natalie Portman transported to Asgard.
Marvel's Iron Man 3 Unmasked provides the basic behind-the-scenes fodder. Fans should definitely sample it.
The most interesting featurette is Deconstructing The Scene: Attack On Air Force One which chronicles the "biggest practical stunt scene in any of the Iron Man films." Rather than computer-generate all of the passengers as they careen out of the disintegrating airplane, the stunt team recruited 13 real skydivers to perform the scene in an amazing bit of bravado and ingenuity.
For the wannabe screenwriters, the Audio Commentary with Drew Pearce and Shane Black is an impromptu Master's Class on how they approached this project and achieved their goals.
Studio: Marvel Entertainment and Walt Disney Studios
Director: Shane Black
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale, Jon Favreau, Ben Kingsley
Length: 130 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
7.1 DTS-HD High Resolution
5.1 Dolby Digital
French, Spanish and English SDH