‘Iron Man 3' (Blu-ray)
The third film in the “Iron Man” trilogy deals with the fallout from “Marvel's The Avengers,” as Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) comes to terms with that and other issues in his past.
The film starts on New Year's Eve 1999, as a pre-Iron Man Tony Stark blows off nerdy scientist Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) in order to put the moves on botanist Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall). Stark is egotistical and dismissive but doesn't see any reason this is a problem. But 14 years later, Killian makes a visit to Stark Enterprises to pitch a new technology called Extremis to Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Extremis can alter the internal systems of any organism, which Pepper finds to be an ethical shortcut.
Stark gets pulled into world affairs when a bombing injures Stark security chief Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau). A terrorist called the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) claims credit, and Stark ally James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) is given a star-spangled armor called Iron Patriot to track down the villain. But that's not enough for Stark, who calls out the Mandarin on national TV. This doesn't end up being the smartest of moves, and by mid-movie, Stark is defeated, abandoned, and without his suit of armor.
Without his protective shell, both literally and metaphorically, Stark must figure out the mysteries of the Mandarin and Extremis, while dealing with the effects of the events of the past year. One unlikely ally is Harley (Ty Keener), a boy in Tennessee with a talent for tech and a precocious attitude.
Potts, meanwhile, shows some pep as more than Stark's girlfriend, but as a powerful character in her own right.
Shane Black directs, and provides a bit of buddy-cop fun between Rhodes and Stark in a film that has an '80s action feel inside a modern superhero wrapper.
The film's best extra is the Marvel one-shot short film “Agent Carter.” This stars Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) from “Captain America: The First Avenger” in a postwar intelligence position. Great writing and acting make this a fun romp, and reports are the strength of the one-shot have Marvel and company considering an “Agent Carter” TV series.
Other extras include deleted and extended scenes, an audio commentary with co-writers Drew Pearce and Shane Black, and a preview of the upcoming Marvel film “Thor: The Dark World.”
— Matthew Price