Iron Man

I saw Iron Man 3 over the weekend. I like a good superhero movie, especially on the first weekend in May, because it’s close to my birthday and gets me into a frivolous party mood. Good guy battles bad guy, things look bleak and then, kapow! good triumphs and we all go out to dinner.

Used to be, we took the kids along to see Iron Man or Spider Man or X-Men or any of the super powered sequels that followed. This year, though, the young people are old and they blew us off, so we were a bunch of boomers hitting the late matinee; one of our crew had a bad attitude (why do we have to see another crappy blow things up movie?) so we had to promise him cocktails.

But it wasn’t a crappy movie – it was entertaining, well made, downright fun. Robert Downey Jr. inhabits Tony Stark like an alter ego, and in this outing he spends a lot of time outside the suit, which is a plus. The plot is pretty simple – very bad guy terrorist is attacking America with seeming invincibility. Seems he’s figured out how to weaponize human beings by altering their DNA so they can heat up like branding irons. Stark publicly provokes the dude and gives up his home address (Come get me where I live!) although that can’t be much of a secret since Stark’s house teeters over a Malibu hillside and it’s big enough to be seen from space. Never mind, the bad guys arrive with explosives and soon Tony’s on the run and love-of-his-life Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is kidnapped and now he’s really mad. He ends up searching for clues in Tennessee; the Iron Man suit loses its juice during the trip, so he hooks up with a perspicacious kid named Harley (a charming, funny Ty Simpkins) who has a garage full of useful tools and electronic parts. Harley has a wise cracking wit that parries nicely with Starks’ sharp edged charm, and their short partnership is one of the best parts of the film.

But never fear, action fans, the movie wraps up with the usual crescendo of explosions and fight scenes, and the Iron Man suit demonstrating a nifty new ability to fly onto Tony Stark’s body in pieces, turning him into his alter ego in steps. Kind of a fun development when the old boy is in mid battle.

The summer movie slate is full of films like this. Many (most, really) aren’t worth the price of admission, but this Iron Man – definitely worthwhile. Playing everywhere in 3D and 2D and probably IMAX, until Star Trek shows up and takes over screens. B+