By Sanjeev Selvarajah
The only movie to beat Iron Man 3’s second-biggest opening weekend ever is unsurprisingly last year’s The Avengers. Marvel is doing tremendously well with Disney as custodian. As they enter into phase two, post Avengers, Disney has successfully shuffled around the creative-heads like Iron Man’s previous installment’s director Jon Favreau who takes an executive producer and actor credit in lieu of losing his position of director. With all due credit, Jon Favreau made Iron Man what it is today, but new director Shane Black adds meat on top of meat for a clever and heavy-action script.
The main henchman of Killian’s evil cabal takes a new stick of gum and tosses the wrapper right after he survives his cohort’s destruction of California’s Chinese theatre, as if to highlight a brand-new baby-fresh scent that runs parallel to his reconstituting physicality-power. This henchman is bad to the bone and his power is more in-line with the science fiction of Hulk, just as Thor is fantasy and Captain America is action.
The twist and turns of director Shane Black’s action deceptively hides the science fiction elements and nobody can say with full sincerity that Iron Man as a staple hasn’t always been a melding of science-fiction and action, knowing the origins of this Marvel Knight who builds a suit of armor to shield his wounded heart.
The script can gloss over some plot holes due to the genre as a summer-tentpole action-bonanza. For instance, why did Tony Stark wait so late to use his army of iron men; well, the apologist cites his sleepless nights adjusting with shock to the disasters he faces.
The acting is superb: Downey continues the sarcasm and cynicism of the billionaire playboy Tony Stark. In Black’s script the human side of Iron Man is front and center. Don Cheadle, similarly, enjoys a showcase of the character’s military roots when he’s not in suit as the Iron Patriot. Gwyneth Paltrow is perfect as Pepper Potts, Stark’s ladylove who undergoes a twist. The best surprise was Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin, who never loses his touch and charisma in the role, even after several viewings.
As of opening weekend, Iron Man 3 has made 175 million. The summer is full of popcorn blockbusters. And this close to the trilogy is worth the price of admission. Both versions are playing at the Arlington Capitol Theatre, the sister theatre to Davis Square’s Somerville Theatre.