"Overcoming Ghosts and Demons of Christmas Past"
IRON MAN 3 goes back-to-basics by delving even more into the things that make its iconic hero, Tony Stark, tick. It also provides slambang action entertainment with great villains, better character arcs for the supporting characters, and lots of heart.
The move opens with billionaire Tony Stark saying he created his own “demons” back in New year’s Eve on 1999 when he failed to listen to a young nerdy man’s business proposal. Thirteen years later, that man, named Aldrich Killian, has become a wealthy military contractor. Worse, he’s placed a new weapon at the disposal of a global terrorist called the Mandarin.
One of the Mandarin’s new human bombs puts Tony’s friend, Happy, in a coma during the Christmas holidays. Tony challenges the Mandarin to come after him personally. Tony’s own hubris, however, also endangers his girlfriend, Pepper’s, life. They barely escape the Mandarin’s all-out attack on their fancy Malibu home.
Now, Tony finds himself stranded in a small Tennessee town, with only a young boy and an unreliable Iron Man prototype to help him. Tony has to rely on his instincts and ingenuity to stop Killian and the Mandarin, including their demonic henchmen.
The story in IRON MAN 3 is very well structured. The characters are also very well developed, with all of them undergoing their own striking character arcs. Besides the exciting non-stop action, IRON MAN 3 also has lots of heart. The scenes between Tony Stark and the young boy are heartwarming. Even better, the franchise finally finds some good subplots for major supporting characters like Tony’s girlfriend Pepper, his buddy Col. Rhodes, and his friend, Happy. Of course, Robert Downey, Jr., is once again superb as the heroic Tony Stark aka Iron Man. Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce make wonderful villains as the cold-hearted Mandarin and the fiery Aldrich Killian.
Screenwriter Shane Black (LETHAL WEAPON and THE LAST ACTION HERO) gets to direct IRON MAN 3 as well as co-write the script. Interestingly, IRON MAN 3 marks about the fourth or fifth time that Black has set one of his stories around Christmas. He admitted at a recent press conference MOVIEGUIDE® attended that he was reluctant, at first, to set this new movie during Christmas, but he was convinced to do it when he found some ways to integrate the holiday into his story and script. In essence, he said, the story for IRON MAN 3 is partly a nod to Charles Dickens’ CHRISTMAS CAROL. Thus, the demonic villains in IRON MAN 3 represent the “ghosts (and demons) of Christmas Past” that come back to haunt the hero and his girlfriend.
What lessons does the hero, like Scrooge, learn through his ordeal?
Well, you’ll have to go see the movie and find out. Suffice it to say, however, that the personal demons the hero must face in IRON MAN 3 make for a wild, fun ride at the movies. That said, IRON MAN 3 does have plenty of mostly light foul language, lots of intense action violence and mayhem, and some bedroom references. Thus, caution is advised.
(BBB, CC, PPP, Cap, Ab, LLL, VV, S, N, A, DD, M) Very strong moral worldview with strong Christian and redemptive allegorical elements of recognizing the evil consequences of past bad actions, with some bad guys compared to demons and even burning from within like demons (also like the Balrog in the FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING movie), brief discussion about going to Heaven and Hell (with bad people going to Hell) in one scene with Christian crucifix symbols, positive references to Christmas as a time to spread good will rather than ill will, plus very strong patriotic view and some light pro-capitalist elements, but hero at one point says bad guy’s speeches sound to him like a “Baptist preacher”; about 17 obscenities, one GD, and nine or 10 light exclamatory profanities (e.g., OG or MG); lots of strong action violence with some scary villains includes missiles and bullets demolish house on a cliff as three people try to escape the barrage, it’s implied man explodes and obliterates bystanders while one man is severely hurt by explosion and put into a coma, intense hand-to-hand fighting, gunfights, hero uses Iron Man costumes to fight henchmen of bad guy, hero uses Iron Man costume to save 13 people thrown out of plane at a high altitude, woman held captive, President held captive, people have been injected with something that allows them to burn objects and other people like some kind of intense lava, point blank shootings and implied such shootings, people fall from heights, hero uses Iron Man costumes in battle with villain’s small army, etc; implied fornication, unmarried couple lives together and one shot shows them waking up in bed, two girls shown in bed waiting for one villain to return to them but the return is interrupted; upper male nudity and brief shots of women in nightgown attire; alcohol use; no smoking but one character mentions being a drug addict; and, envy, revenge, deceit, terrorism.
IRON MAN 3 opens with a man from Iron Man, aka Tony Stark’s, past, having become a military contractor. The contractor has placed a new human weapon at the disposal of a global terrorist called the Mandarin. One of the Mandarin’s human bombs puts Tony’s friend, Happy, in a coma during the Christmas holidays. Tony challenges the Mandarin to come after him personally. Tony’s hubris, however, endangers his girlfriend, Pepper. They barely escape the Mandarin’s all-out attack on their fancy Malibu home. Now, Tony finds himself stranded in a small Tennessee town, with only a young boy and an unreliable Iron Man prototype to help him defeat the Mandarin.
The story in IRON MAN 3 is well structured. All the main characters, including the two villains, undergo their own striking character arcs. Besides the exciting non-stop action and witty dialogue, IRON MAN 3 also has lots of heart. The hero undergoes a baptism of water and fire where he’s forced to confront the personal demons he’s created. IRON MAN 3 is a fun, wild ride, but caution is required for some of its content.