May 3, 2013

‘Iron Man 3’ blasts into theaters

Posted in Between Us column, Entertainment, Movies at 4:36 pm by dinaheng

The last time we saw billionaire-inventor Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, he had teamed up with fellow superheroes Thor, Captain America, and the Hulk  in “Marvel’s The Avengers” to save the world from an unexpected enemy.

After sharing that limelight, the man in a robo-suit (played by Robert Downey, Jr.) returns to save the world from biologically-enhanced human supervillains in “Iron Man 3,” a task complicated by the need to deal with his own demons, as well.Dinah Eng

“Iron Man 3 is a sequel to both ‘Iron Man 2’ and ‘Avengers,’ “ says Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios and producer of “Iron Man 3.” “We wanted to acknowledge the events of ‘The Avengers’ by focusing on the fact that Tony worries he’s just a man in a can, next to these other heroes. This is about re-discovery, that even with nothing, he still has his brain.”

Indeed, the best moments in this film are the ones in which the very human Stark figures out how to get himself out of jams without his armored suit. On the trail of the bad guys, he gets stuck in a small town without his lab equipment, so does what every enterprising scientist does — he goes shopping at Home Depot, and concocts some pretty effective weaponry on the fly.

Robert Downey, Jr. stars in "Iron Man 3." Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Robert Downey, Jr. stars in “Iron Man 3.” Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Beyond the heroics of saving the world, Stark has to decide how to save his relationship with Pepper Pots (Gwyneth Paltrow), a challenge that becomes clear when she’s kidnapped by bad guy Killian (Guy Pearce), who’s working with The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). Fortunately, Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) is back to be Stark’s wingman.

The Marvel superheroes franchise has scored box office hits with every film, grossing more than $1.5 billion worldwide with last year’s “Marvel’s The Avengers.” Why do audiences love the comic book heroes so much?

“There’s a simplicity to the myths we adhere to as a society,” says Shane Black, director and screenwriter (with Drew Pearce) of the film. “Comic books don’t stop. For 75 years, you could find out what Captain America was doing by going to the next comic book. It’s comforting to have a hero who doesn’t lose his ongoing values.”

Feige notes that while superheroes inspire audiences, real life heroes are already among us.

“When you see people run toward a disaster, those are real life heroes,” he says, adding that the Marvel superheroes always have obstacles to overcome, just like the rest of us. “Our movies would be boring if our superheroes could blast through everything easily.”

Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey, Jr. star in "Iron Man 3." Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey, Jr. star in “Iron Man 3.” Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Happily, Iron Man is guaranteed to save the day, yet again, and while it feels a little odd to watch a summer blockbuster set during the Christmas holidays, it’s not going to stop moviegoers from cheering for our man Stark.

“If you’re in a movie palace, belief is suspended,” Black says. “I don’t think it matters that the movie takes place during the Christmas holidays. It’s about a man (Stark) standing in the snow on Christmas Eve. It’s a Capra movie, a journey of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ story. Ilike Christmas.”

And we love “Iron Man 3.”

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