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Iron Man 3 (****)
directed by Shane Black
written by Drew Pearce and Shane Black,
from the comic book by Los Bros Lieber (Stan and Larry), Don Heck, and Jack Kirby
Iron Man 3
Principal Cast
Robert Downey Jr. -- Tony Stark
Gwyneth Paltrow -- Pepper Potts
Don Cheadle -- Colonel James Rhodes
Guy Pearce -- Aldrich Killian
Rebecca Hall -- Maya Hansen
Jon Favreau -- Happy Hogan
Ben Kingsley -- The Mandarin
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

Iron Man 3 is a highly entertaining, unbelievably expensive film. If not great, it is at least very, very good. The Shane Black script is excellent, though my favorite Shane Black script remains not this, not the Lethal Weapon series, but The Last Action Hero. He writes about flawed heroes and puts in plenty of clever bits to keep the jaded movie-goer on his toes.

Back in the day, Iron Man was not a major Marvel superhero, not in the same class with Spider-Man or The Fantastic Four. He looked like a huge, iron toaster, and did not really become an interesting character until he started to drink. I was a letterhack in those days, and I wrote to Marvel saying that Iron Man artist Don Heck was the very best Marvel artist. Hay. I was just a kid. What did I know? But Don Heck was a good and unjustly forgotten artist, and Jack Kirby, one of the two or three greatest comic book artists of all time, was just putting in the hours at the drawing board, turning out a superhero page or four one day, and a western or monster comic the next. It was Stan Lee who still had the pizzazz to try to make comic books great. You have to have been there to know how bad comic book writing was before Stan Lee came along and, even after years of toiling in the trenches and commuting from the suburbs (where many comic book writers lied about what they did for a living), Stan was still trying to bring life to a moribund medium. It was only after the comic books began to attract attention from college kids and then the media that Kirby came back to life, and began to draw with the passion he had shown in the 40s. For me, the most amazing thing was that Stan actually answered my fan letter, writing a short comic book scenario in which, after reading what I had written, the whole Marvel bullpen except for Don Heck blow their brains out. Stan Lee was, and is, one of the nicest people in the business.

It was nice to see old comic book character Happy Hogan have a more memorable role in Iron Man 3.

I don't usually write about actors in my reviews, because I assume the acting is going to be first rate. There are more good actors than there are good writers. Even community theater, which doesn't pay anything, has no trouble finding good actors. But Robert Downey Jr. is an exception. He and Johnny Depp and a very few others bring so much to a role that they are in a class by themselves. I've read that the studio is thinking of recasting the role of Iron Man in Avengers 2 because Robert Downey Jr. wants too much money. It remains to be seen if they are really that stupid.

The lack of star power in most of the other actors who play Avengers was brought home to me when I didn't recognize the actor playing opposite Robert Downey Jr. in the credit cookie of Iron Man 3 until someone else leaving the theater clued me in.

Copyright © 2013 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon. Visit his web site at

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