When was the last time you saw the third installment of a superhero movie and came away loving it? I'll give you a minute. Superman III? No. Spiderman 3? Nuh uh. X-men 3? Actually, I kinda liked that one but most people didn't. And let's not even get into the old Bat Man movies. Of course, the third Nolan Bat Man from last year wasn't half bad, but that was the exception.
But then the super powerful Iron Man took on the heartless Three monster last weekend. Could he prevail where so many others failed miserably? The answer is a resounding 'yes'.
Kudos to Robert Downey Jr. who has managed to keep not three, but four film versions of Tony Stark fresh and entertaining. For instance, as much fun as we had with Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates movies, after the first film, we pretty much had seen everything Jack had to offer. Not so with Tony. His quick wit, one-liners, and comedic arrogance are still surprising and funny.
One thing that the Iron Man franchise is doing right is giving Tony's character some personal challenge he needs to overcome in each movie. In this case, it's PTSD from his experience fighting the aliens in Avengers. Where a lot of other movies by the third installment have nowhere left for the character to go except to go thump on bad guys, these films keep us cheering for our hero's self-improvement.
What really impressed me was how surprising the story twists were. I won't say anything here because I don't want to spoil them. Suffice it to say, the trailers don't prepare you. The trailers were awesome and got me salivating like a vampire in a blood bank, but they expertly left out key details that would have let us know what was really going on in the story and who the villain really was.
I still haven't decided if I like this movie better than the first, though I will say it is better than the second. If this one becomes my favorite of the Iron Man movies, though, it will be because of Harley. I won't say anything else for those who haven't seen it, but Tony's interaction with Harley added a new charm.
Is the movie kid safe? Mostly. The violence does get pretty intense in places, though it's still of the 'comic book' variety. I don't remember anything that made me cringe. There was some mild swearing. Supposedly there were some harsher words but I didn't notice them. There were also a few scantily clad scenes with a little innuendo. If you are at all uncertain about your kids seeing it unfiltered, I suggest you go see it first. I give this movie two big toes up.