Iron Man 3

Posted on May 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm

B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout and brief suggestive content
Profanity: A few bad words including a crude insult to a child that is slang for private parts
Alcohol/ Drugs: Drinking, scene in a bar
Violence/ Scariness: Extensive comic-book-style action violence with a few graphic images, terrorism, guns, explosions, characters in peril, references to suicide
Diversity Issues: Diverse characters
Date Released to Theaters: May 3, 2013
Date Released to DVD: September 23, 2013
Amazon.com ASIN: B00CL0J99K

ironman3

Good for Marvel/Disney in keeping the title simple.  No fancy Roman numerals, no colon, so extra words about the return of this or the revenge of that.  But if there was a second title for this third in the “Iron Man” series, it could be “The Rise of Tony Stark.”  The first two films were about the man who describes himself as “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist,” (and also says, “I am volatile, self-obsessed, and don’t play well with others”) literally losing his heart and becoming something between a robot and a rocket ship.  In this one, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) loses almost everything else and begins to find himself.

Jon Favreau, who directed the first two films, turns over the reins to screenwriter-turned-director Shane Black, who showed a sensibility ideal for bringing out the best in Downey in the breakthrough film, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.”  And Downey’s best is as good as it gets.  Black, who co-wrote the film, has a darker humor and a more twisted take on the story, and it works very well, even bringing in Favreau for a small but important part as Happy Hogan, Stark’s loyal head of security, a tough guy with a soft spot for “Downton Abbey.”  Don Cheadle returns as Colonel Rhodes, whose iron suit persona has been re-branded from War Machine to the more family-friendly Iron Patriot.  And the repartee with Pepper Potts (Gwenyth Paltrow) is dry as a martini, knowing, sexy, and harking back to the sublime banter of “The Thin Man.”

It begins with a flashback to New Year’s Eve 1999, where we see the old Tony, careless in both respects.  He does not care about what happens to other people and he does not care what happens to him.  He leaves a note for a woman with whom he shared a one-night stand: “You know who I am.”  But even he does not know who he is.  He barely notices anyone else, which turns out to be a major mistake personally, professionally, and in terms of setting off some very bad consequences for the future of the planet.

By the time he figures that out, he will be more vulnerable than he has ever been before.  He has allowed himself to open his arc reactor-fueled heart to Pepper, so he has much more to lose.  And he is struggling to recover from the trauma of the fight against Loki (“The Avengers”), so it will be harder for him to respond.  He does not sleep.  He barely notices what is going on around him.  He just works furiously to perfect his iron man suit, his only companion in the lab the artificial intelligence butler/sidekick Jarvis (impeccably dry delivery voiced by Paul Bettany).  “I’ve also prepared a safety briefing for you to entirely ignore,” Jarvis says briskly.

Outside, it is December and Christmas celebrations are everywhere.  But a villain who calls himself The Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley, clearly having a blast) is causing damage and unrest.  “Some people call me a terrorist,” he says to the world.  “I consider myself a teacher.”  He explains that he is acting in the tradition of a notorious American attack on an Indian settlement when they knew the warriors would not be there, killing the unprotected women and children.

Happy is critically injured in an attack, and it is too much for Tony, who implusively gives out his home address and dares The Mandarin to come after him.  Invitation accepted — target destroyed.  Everything he has worked on is gone.  So is every place he feels safe.  To keep Pepper safe, he goes underground, allowing the world to think he is dead.  But that removes him from his money, his home, his power, his equipment, and his iron flying suits.  He has to fight The Mandarin — and a more powerful enemy he does not even know about — with some supplies from the local hardware store and a little girl’s Dora the Explorer (limited edition) digital watch.

There’s a lot to process.  I haven’t even gotten to the giant stuffed bunny, the beauty pageant, the secret experiments, and the attack on Air Force One.  And, of course, the stunts and special effects.

The plot is a bit cluttered, though it helps that the detours include unexpected help from “Happy Endings'” Adam Pally and a mechanically-minded latchkey kid (Ty Simpkins).  Not so much the cameos from Bill Maher and Joan Rivers, which feel tired and superfluous. The stunts are fine.  The script has some clever lines and some cleverer digs at messaging and brand strategy.  What matters, though, is Downey’s total commitment to playing Stark as a flawed, complex, but greatly gifted character.

Parents should know that this film has non-stop comic-book-style violence including terrorism, with chases, explosions, and shooting, intense but only briefly graphic, some strong language, some alcohol, some sexual references, potty humor, and references to suicide.

Family discussion: How do Tony’s actions in 1999 set the movie’s events in motion? How do we see both the heroes and villains think about the importance of public relations? How can desperation be a gift?

If you like this, try: “The Avengers” and the first two “Iron Man” movies

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3D Action/Adventure Comic book/Comic Strip/Graphic Novel DVD/Blu-Ray Pick of the Week Fantasy Science-Fiction Series/Sequel Superhero

Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day — A New Live Action Feature Film

Posted on May 2, 2013 at 3:59 pm

One of our family’s favorite books is the classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, with illustrations by Ray Cruz.  We all identify with poor Alexander, who has gum in his hair, loses his marble down the bathtub drain, lima beans for dinner, a trip to the dentist, and the wrong shoes and pajamas.  There have been two nice movie shorts, one live-action, one animated, with songs by “Annie’s” Charles Strouse.  Now, a feature film is in the works from Disney, reportedly with Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner as Alexander’s parents and Lisa Cholodenko co-writing the script.  That all sounds very promising!

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Based on a book

Giveaway! Iron Man 3 Temporary Tattoos!

Posted on May 2, 2013 at 8:00 am

iron man 3 tattooWant to show your Iron Man 3 love with a temporary tattoo?  Then send me an email!  I have a bunch to give away and will keep mailing them out to anyone who writes in until they are all gone.  Just the thing to wear when you see the movie.  Email me at moviemom@moviemom.com with Iron Man in the subject line and DON’T FORGET YOUR ADDRESS!  (US addresses only, sorry.)  Good luck!

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Contests and Giveaways

Tony Musical Nominees: All Based on Movies!

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 3:54 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ-n5LdEdRY

You may not be able to make it to New York to see the nominees for this year’s Tony Award for best musical, but you can look at what inspired them — all four of this year’s nominees are based on movies. Kinky Boots is based on the true story of a British shoe factory that was about to close until it developed a nw specialty — fancy footwear for cross-dressers.  Bring It On is based on the story of the high school cheerleader who finds out that her team’s routines have been stolen. Matilda, based on the book by Roald Dahl, is about a little girl who triumphs over awful parents and a tyrant of a school principal. And A Christmas Story is based on the holiday season classic, inspired by the memoirs of Jean Shepherd.

 

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Awards

Have a Tweet Chat with Wolverine

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 8:00 am

Fans are getting the special opportunity to ask Hugh Jackman questions about the highly anticipated film “The Wolverine.” Check out the Twitter pages for Hugh Jackman and The Wolverine on Thursday, May 2ndat 12:00 pm ET to see Hugh answer your questions via video!  You can start tweeting your questions now with #TheWolverine #AskHugh and comment on Facebook at  for the chance to have them presented.

The Wolverine opens in theaters July 26, 2013.

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