Travis McClain’s review published on Letterboxd:
Back in January, I got in on a Movie Cash offer from Disney Movie Rewards. I had kinda counted on Iron Man 3 being one of the eligible movies I could use that Movie Cash to go see. I was supposed to have seen it with friends on the morning of the third, but I felt terrible and passed. Then I was going to see it at the Oldham 8 the following week by myself, but again I felt too "blah" each night and then they unexpectedly closed their doors after the last screening of the ninth. I've felt good the last few days, though my sleep has been completely jacked up. I got the spontaneous idea to catch the midnight opening of Star Trek Into Darkness and that morphed into the even more spontaneous (and ambitious) idea to catch the 7:30 Iron Man 3 prior to Trek.
The truth of the matter is, I didn't really care for either of the previous Iron Man movies. In fact, out of all the Avengers movies to date, the only solo feature I actually, really liked was The Incredible Hulk. I do, however, dig Robert Downey, Jr. in the role and, like I said - I had Movie Cash.
This easily became my favorite of the Avengers solo flicks. They did a really nice job focusing on Tony Stark as a character and developing him in ways that we haven't really seen much of in the superhero movie genre. It's nice to see him fazed by the events of The Avengers and to wonder about his place in a world with aliens and gods. It's tricky to take a character with as much bravado as Stark and try to go beneath the surface, but the film knows where to stop the explorative process and Downey is terrific.
I also liked the villains in this one. Every time I see Guy Pearce I think he's Val Kilmer and then when I realize he isn't, I'm always disappointed and wonder why it isn't Kilmer in the role. It happened a few times during this movie, though I think Pearce looks more like a guy that Pepper Potts might swoon over at first glance than Kilmer looks these days. I loved what they did with The Mandarin and Ben Kingsley. It reminded me of a two-book Star Wars tale told by Timothy Zahn, The Hand of Thrawn.
One of my friends lamented after that aforementioned viewing I missed on the third that he loved the first 2/3 of the film, but found the third act devolved into a generic Lethal Weapon finale. I see his point, but it didn't really detract from the film for me. I think part of it is that action in the first 2/3 was used so sparingly that by that point I was ready to just see some dudes beat the snot out of each other.
It does feel kind of peculiar, though, for Stark and Rhodes to go it alone to rescue the President. I mean, this is a world with all our real-life agencies - with whom Rhodes is well-connected - plus S.H.I.E.L.D. Two guys who rely on Iron Man suits going off on their own sans suits doesn't seem particularly thought-out.
All in all, though, I loved this one. Lots of fun with some surprising character development along the way. Plus, it was nice to see Stark do some old-fashioned leg work to piece together the villains' identities and scheme.
How Iron Man 3 Entered My Flickchart
Iron Man 3 > Monsters vs. Aliens --> #752
I enjoyed both of these, but Iron Man 3 was more satisfying.
Iron Man 3 > Cutlass --> #376
I'm a big fan of short films, and Cutlass is one of my faves, but I have to pick Iron Man 3 here for surprising me. I haven't cared much for most of the Avengers solo flicks so far, but I loved this one.
Iron Man 3 < Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home --> #376
These days, I find I have a greater appreciation for The Voyage Home - a film that doesn't throw the kitchen sink at us. It breathes in a way that a lot of today's main franchises don't. I appreciate that.
Iron Man 3 > Mission: Impossible II --> #282
I know I'm in the minority, but until Ghost Protocol, M:I-2 was my favorite from that franchise. Iron Man 3 is even more stylish and has more substance. It wins.
Iron Man 3 > The Batman/Superman Movie --> #235
I'm a DC guy, and I've picked The Batman/Superman Movie over some of the live action Avengers flicks, but here I have to go with Iron Man 3 for surprising me. Downey was terrific in it, showing more depth and range than previous outings.
Iron Man 3 < Ansiktet [The Magician] --> #235
Ansiktet isn't one of my top-tier Bergman films, but it's still a lot richer than is Iron Man 3. Downey gave my favorite performance yet as Stark, but Bergman wins this one handily.
Iron Man 3 > All Quiet on the Western Front --> #223
Like viewers from most of the last century, I was awed by the spectacle of All Quiet on the Western Front - more than I was by Iron Man 3, honestly - but I wasn't as invested in it as I was by Tony Stark's identity crisis.
Iron Man 3 < Drácula --> #223
OUCH. I love the old Universal Monsters, and the Spanish language Drácula is one of the best. I hate to pick against Iron Man 3, but I think I have to.
Iron Man 3 > Ferris Bueller's Day Off --> #220
I always liked Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but I never worshiped it the way a lot from my generation have. Going with Iron Man 3 for Downey's deft performance.
Iron Man 3 > Smokey and the Bandit --> #219
Smokey and the Bandit is a lot of fun and a certified classic for a reason, but I think I favor Iron Man 3. It's the first of the series to make Downey work for it beyond being his public persona on screen.
Iron Man 3 < The Jungle Book --> #218
I may pick differently in the future, but this time at least I think I favor Iron Man 3...though I really did hesitate!
Iron Man 3 entered my Flickchart at #218/1503