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2013's biggest blockbuster doesn't earn its 3D stripes, but Iron Man 3 is still one of the best high-def editions of the year....
Buena Vista / 130 Minutes / 2013 / Rated PG-13 / Street Date: September 24, 2013
This is what blockbusters look like in 2013, for better and for worse. Iron Man 3 galvanized an international audience upon its release this summer – both comic book nerds and non-geeks who just enjoy any chance they get to see Robert Downey, Jr. in action were able to enter a multiplex, grab some popcorn, and enter a loud, throbbing funhouse world with this latest Marvel actioner.
And as the newest addition to the Marvel pantheon, the most fulfilling aspect of Iron Man 3 is that it delivers everything it promises. Superhero films these days are mired in backstory complication, but for every leaden sequence here that is painfully over-serious and unnecessarily specific, we get action scenes that rupture with exceptional big-money inertia. In wonderful summer-picture fashion, you can nap through the talking scenes in Iron Man 3 and still get off on its mega-CGI parts.
Any story at hand here is pretty incidental, and that’s the way Marvel movies like it. Tony Stark (Downey) is still trying to come to terms with the mania that the first two installments of his franchise have left him grappling with, and the appearance of a mysterious bad guy named The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) threatens to make things even worse for the billionaire. There are familiar faces, new enemies, fast cars, nifty space-age devices – basically everything you could hope for in an Iron Man movie.
There’s a limit to Iron Man 3’s basic appeal, to be sure, but for viewers who know what they’re getting themselves into with a Marvel blockbuster, this is of little importance. There is no structural finesse or storytelling bravado on display here, but Downey is as loose and playful as ever, and once the movie railroads into its final twenty minutes, it’s hard not to succumb to the movie’s thundering action napalm. In five years, Iron Man 3 will likely be completely obsolete, but for now it’s perhaps the signature blockbuster of 2013.