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Iron Man 3 - Blu-ray Review

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Iron Man 3 - Movie Review

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5 stars

Writer/director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) unleashes a heavy metal assault with Iron Man 3 and I couldn’t be happier.  He might not be the man inside the suit but that doesn’t mean Black (the writer of Lethal Weapon) isn’t the true hero of the picture.  After the rough middle outing that was Iron Man 2 and the excellent The Avengers, Stark (played once again by Robert Downey Jr.) is back to doing what he does best inside Black’s dark action comedy.  Black spruces up Stark’s superhero storyline with a bit of PTSD after the events in New York and a lot of sleuthing outside of the suit.  To his and Marvel’s credit, Iron Man 3 might be the bravest (and most human) we’ve ever seen Stark.

It’s Christmas and - after publicly challenging a terrifying middle-eastern terrorist known as Mandarin (Ben Kingsley in an unforgettable role) - Stark learns the hard way about the merits in keeping one’s mouth shut.  Mandarin means business and his business – of killing people - is good.  Stark’s world is quickly destroyed by a sudden attack.  The future-tech he’s been obsessing with late at night (because he can’t sleep) is lost.  Those he holds dear – namely Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and former bodyguard Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) – are also dismantled.  Even a former girlfriend (played by Rebecca Hall) is at risk.  And Stark – due to the destruction of his clifftop swanky pad – finds himself on the road….without his tech…without his suit…and, with only his ingenuity to fall back on, he learns much about himself as a man and superhero.

Iron Man 3 embraces the idea of anonymity.  To see Stark in a situation usually reserved for a hitchhiking Dr. Bruce Banner is quite a trip.  Cue the The Lonely Man Theme, please.  It’s fitting here.  As a polished entrepreneur named Aldrich Killian (Guy Pierce) makes a name for himself and his AIM organization with a reformatted War Machine – now known as Iron Patriot (Don Cheadle returning as James Rhodes) – Stark must disappear into small town life (complete with plaid shirts and cowboy hats) and conduct actual investigative research to get behind the madness of Mandarin’s bombless explosions.  There’s something to the terrorist that seems too domestic says Stark’s hunches.

This is the most we are likely to ever see Stark outside of his suit and it completely works.  The bits of Stark in the suit (beginning and end) are heroic and bombastic and just enough to satisfy Marvel fans.  The rest, though, is all Stark.  Black and co-writer Drew Pearce have assembled a script that is laced with dark comic jabs and flat-footed gumshoe detective work as Stark comes face-to-face with his worst nightmare: himself.  Alone.  There’s no Thor; no Captain America; no Hulk; and no S.H.I.E.L.D. to save him.  He has to rely on his own intelligence and his own wit to get him safely from one risky situation to the next.  His enemies – he discovers – are everywhere and his rich man's smirk annoys the rest.

Iron Man 3 is my kind of pulp fiction.  Marvel might as well have placed a 10 cent stamp on the poster.  Even the retro closing credits play off this pulpy vibe.  In fact, it opens and closes (stay for the post credit tag scene) with Downey’s narration.  This is Black’s MO after all.  He doesn’t let the whole superhero stuff stand in the way of his detective yarn either.  He riffs on it, in fact.

The detective story is playful, intelligent, funny, and not without its faults.  Maybe the villains are one-dimensional.  Maybe it only has a couple of fantastic battle sequences (the free-falling 13-person daisy chain is a comic book triumph, by the way).  Perhaps Black and Pearce overcook the climax battle.  Who really cares?  The fact is that Marvel – since this whole Avengers initiative thing launched - has not produced a total stinker yet.  Mind you, I can’t tell you much about Iron Man 2 (there are racing cars, right?  And a whip?) but the recovery here with Iron Man 3 is timeless and certainly worth whatever money you shell out.  (Just don't pay extra to see it in 3D.  Nothing here warrants that.)

As a screenwriter (and certainly not a director) Black has his weaknesses but – for my money – those weaknesses are easily forgivable (note the 5 star review) when weighed against his charismatic and witty strengths in storytelling.  Black sticks to the whole Stark as gumshoe detective and completely nails a third and most satisfactory conclusion (dare I suggest it?) to the stand alone Iron Man movies.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Iron Man 3 - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief suggestive content.
Runtime: 130 mins.
: Shane Black
: Drew Pearce, Shane Black
Robert Downey, Jr.; Gwyneth Paltrow; Don Cheadle; Guy Pearce; Rebecca Hall
: Action | Adventure
Unleash the power behind the armor.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Ladies, children, sheep... Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher. Lesson number one: Heroes, there is no such thing."
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date: May 3, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.

Synopsis: Marvel's Iron Man 3 pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy's hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Iron Man 3 - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
5 Stars

4 stars

Blu-ray Experience
4.5 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 24, 2013
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); French: DTS-HD HR 7.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); iTunes digital copy; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region-free

The visual projection is very good with the HD quality 1080p presentation providing excellent imagery as close to theater class as any Blu-ray can.  The colors are vibrant and the blacks amazingly good.  Shadows are nice and skin tones are warm.  Contrast and sharpness are both solid.  The superiority of the sound using the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 plays theater quality dialogue and special effects clean and clear.  If you have a sound bar or upgraded sound system it has enough power to give the feel you are in the first row of a movie theater.



  • The witty commentary recorded by Shane Black and co-writer Drew Pearce is more than worth a listen.  Filled with information about the script and the filming of the movie, the commentary is more enjoyable than it has any right to be.

Special Features:

The Blu-ray Combo pack has a good measure of supplemental material, but for this popular of a title the rabid fans may be somewhat disappointed in actual content.  Being Iron Man is top dog of Marvel's Avengers; some might be expecting at least another hour of how the film was made.  You don’t really get that.  There are plenty of cut scenes, a nice gag reel, an up-close look at the effects and stunts, and a brief look at the filming of the movie.  Of interest is a short film featuring Agent Carter.  Rounding out the collection of material is an extended look at the Thor sequel coming out later this year.

  • Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter (15 min)
  • Iron Man 3 Unmasked (11 min)
  • Deconstructing the Scene: Attack on Air Force One (9 min)
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes (16 min)
  • Exclusive Look at Thor: The Dark World (2 min)
  • Gag Reel (5 min)

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