The Real Man of Steel

   I’ve always been a huge fan of the Iron Man series. Ever since the first movie’s premiere in 2008, I’ve loved Tony Stark’s sardonic wit, Pepper Potts’ unflappable demeanor, and who could forget about those awesome suits of armor?

   So when Iron Man 2 came out in 2010, I was disappointed that the movie gave up its light-hearted charm in favor of flashy villains and a multitude of supporting characters.

   When Iron Man 3 premiered on May 3, I walked into the theatre with hesitation and lingering doubt from the underwhelming sequel.

   Any fears I had about the film were extinguished right in the beginning of the movie. Iron Man 3 is action-packed and full of humor and suspense for its almost two and half hours of runtime. The film is full of thrilling visuals and movie-goers can almost feel the Iron Man armors powering up and taking flight.

   The cast of the film is the main draw as each character, lead or supporting, added depth with their individual characteristics. Robert Downey Jr.’s acting ability is as good as ever as he fluidly goes from sarcasm and charm to traumatized and vulnerable. Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts is a refreshing take on the typical superhero girlfriend as even though she needs rescuing, she possesses an unmatched strength. Don Cheadle is Tony’s loyal friend, Colonel James Rhodes, who is also the Iron Patriot. Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian is a forgettable villain but Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin almost steals the movie with an unexpected turn.

   The supporting cast is on the top of their game as well with Rebecca Hall’s sympathetic Maya Hansen, Jon Favreau’s dopey yet lovable Happy Hogan, Ty Simpkins adorable and street-smart Harley Keener, and Paul Bettany’s endearing JARVIS.

   The movie briefly touches upon heavier social issues such as Tony’s post-traumatic stress disorder, America’s fragile diplomatic relations, and the morality of progressing science. However, make no mistake in believing that Iron Man 3 is a heavy movie full of political commentary. At its heart, Iron Man 3  is a light-hearted popcorn flick that leaves you full of adrenaline long after the credits roll.

   Despite the movie’s feel-good atmosphere, I was slightly disappointed that the movie does not fully address Tony’s anxiety attacks that resulted after his near-death experience in the Avengers. Tony’s narration in the movie mentions his conflict and resolution of inner demons but it’s easy to miss in all of the explosions.

   The movie is also void of the emotional aspect that the first film had in Tony’s transformation from playboy billionaire to inspiring superhero. However, what the movie lacks in sentiment, it makes up for in action and fun.

   Although the highly-anticipated Man of Steel comes out on June 14, Superman faces a tough opponent for superhero of the 2013 summer box office. Robert Downey Jr. and the rest of the cast’s performances might just be the kryptonite that does Superman in.