(A note from J.A. Morris & RigbyMel: We don't normally post reviews of Christmas programming in October, but this was just released the other day on Blu-Ray. Plus, those who haven't seen it can add it to their "things to watch this Christmas" list.)
Released May 3, 2013.
"Here's a little Holiday greeting I've been wanting to send to the Mandarin. I just didn't know how to phrase it until now.
My name is Tony Stark and I'm not afraid of you. I know you're a coward, so I decided...that you just died, pal. I'm gonna come get the body. There's no politics here, just good old fashioned revenge."
|Stark tinkers in his lab.|
It's Christmas time, but Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) isn't feeling very merry. He's been unable to get past his near-death experience during the battle of New York (as seen in The Avengers), and it's been depriving him of sleep. He uses his sleepless nights to tinker with his Iron Man armor, constantly trying to improve it. This has created tension in his relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), who is now managing Stark's company.
|The Mandarin issues a threat to the President after taking credit for bombing an Air Base.|
|Rhodey becomes the Iron Patriot and pursues the Mandarin.|
|Aldrich Killian shows off Extremis to Pepper.|
|Stark's mansion falls into the Pacific Ocean.|
He's powerless and freezing cold and things are looking bad for Stark. But he meets a young boy named Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins) who turns out to be a budding technological genius. Stark doesn't like the idea of working with a kid, but realizes he has no choice.
Things heat up (literally AND figuratively) when Stark learns that Killian has ties to the Mandarin and they have captured Pepper. Iron Man enlists the aid of Iron Patriot in rescuing her.
But even if they are successful, the Mandarin has saved Christmas Day for his most explosive act of terror:he will blow up the President on live television.
Can Stark and Rhodey save Pepper and bring Killian and Mandarin to justice?
J.A. Morris says:
I'll admit up front that I grew up reading Marvel Comics and I've generally enjoyed the recent Marvel movies. But I don't watch them uncritically (I wasn't crazy about the Fantastic Four & Spider-Man movies). I didn't know Iron Man 3 was a "Christmas movie" until I saw it in the theater. I'm guessing the May release date caused the studio to downplay the holiday aspects.
|Stark listens to Christmas LPs in his workshop;Check out the 'Charlie Brown Christmas' soundtrack near the bottom left.|
|Happy expresses concern over Killian...while standing next to a Christmas tree!|
|Tony Stark & Maya Hansen ring in the year 2000.|
|Stark tells a young fan:"I loved you in 'A Christmas Story' by the way."|
|Stark & Rhodey fight on without their armor|
J.A. Morris' rating:
3 and a half Candy Canes
This movie is part of a proud subgenre of Christmas themed action flicks like Lethal Weapon and Die Hard. Interestingly enough, it was written and directed by Shane Black, who also wrote the screenplay for Lethal Weapon. (Spooky!) Iron Man 3 is a fun action movie in its own right and the Christmas themes filtered through a superhero lens add to the fun.
Tony Stark's recent trauma prevents him from properly getting into the holiday spirit. He acts selfishly and impulsively resulting in inappropriately over the top giant bunny gift giving to outright friend/girlfriend endangerment ...
|Pepper is surprised by an extremely large Christmas bunny in the driveway|
|Mandarin blows up the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood|
Stark is made to pay the price for his selfishness - losing his home, JARVIS, the functionality of his armor and finding himself in a bit of a fish-out-of-water situation with a Tiny Tim-esque moppet in Tennessee.
I was never particularly a fan of Iron Man in the comics, as Stark says in this movie he's sort of "just a man in a can." However, these movies and Robert Downey Jr.'s great performance in them have made me appreciate the character more. If you like your Christmas movies with a side of explosions, Iron Man 3 is ripe for holiday viewing (and newly available on Blu-Ray, DVD, streaming, etc).
3 and a half candy canes