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Iron Man 3 is a bundle of contradictions. It is light and genuinely funny, yet a vein of deep cynicism acts as the movie’s spine. At times it is gleefully silly, but it indulges ideas that are merely goofy. It wants to reconcile real-world violence into larger-than-life escapism. Yet the contradictions don’t quite break the movie. Director/writer Shane Black and co-screenwriter Drew Pearce understand the mode in which they have to work, and manage to make both impulses live side by side.

Those contradictions give Iron Man 3 a weird sense of pace, and a personality that isn’t quite like any other superhero movie. This isn’t the gleeful candy-colored romp of The Avengers, and I sympathize with any audience thrown by the film’s shuffling rhythm. Shane Black writes and directs movies that walk a fine line between idiosyncratic and mainstream, and many of the director’s impulses (winking narration, in-jokes, the subversion of cliches) are on display here.

Black and Pearce struggle at times to keep all their ideas in the frame, but that struggle alone makes Iron Man 3 interesting to watch. The film’s giddy highs are quite wonderful, and its personal quirks are testament to the power Marvel Studios has accumulated. The film plays loose with characters and ideas from the comics, but in doing so presents a story that is more unique than we have any right to expect from a threequel. In fact, crossover between real and heightened worlds has defined Marvel Comics since day one, and Iron Man 3 may be more true to Marvel’s spirit than any other film.

(Note: Iron Man 3 features a couple big plot elements that shouldn’t be spoiled, and so the following review avoids discussing those elements. I’m not going to say this is 100% spoiler-free, but I’ve avoided the big points. ) Read More »

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First Brief ‘Ender’s Game’ Footage

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As trailer teases go, this first brief bit of footage from Gavin Hood‘s adaptation of Orson Scott Card‘s sci-fi novel Ender’s Game is pretty good. It shows the major cast members: Asa Butterfield as young military student Ender; Harrison Ford as his teacher Colonel Graff, and Ben Kingsley as war hero Mazer Rackham. It also gives you a look at the battle room, where Ender is trained to be a warrior in the fight against aliens who have battled Earth in the past and who represent a threat to humanity’s future.

There’s also a slightly awkward intro from Butterfield and Ford, but the footage is probably going to be the highlight for fans of the novel. Watch for the trailer on Tuesday May 7.  Read More »

First Look: Ben Kingsley in ‘Ender’s Game’

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This weekend people will be talking about Ben Kingsley, whose work in Iron Man 3 gives the film some of its most surprising and entertaining moments. (No spoilers in the comments, please.) After that, the actor will be seen in writer/director Gavin Hood’s much anticipated adaptation of Orson Scott Card‘s sci-fi novel Ender’s Game.

The first trailer for the film will be released next week, and presumably that will outline how the young boy Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) is trained at Battle School to become a possible leader in humanity’s last-ditch effort to repel alien attackers. As a pre-trailer tease, Summit has released the first look at Kingsley, who plays the half-Maori veteran commander Mazer Rackham. Read More »

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Iron Man 3 screened for press in London last night, and while reviews remain embargoed, Twitter reactions were given the OK by the studio. And so now we’ve got the first slate of responses to Shane Black‘s film featuring Robert Downey, Jr. in his fourth turn as Marvel’s armored hero.

They’re not the most measured group of reactions, and as with any collection of first-blush responses to a big film the first Twitter posts only hint at what we might find in the movie. But if you’re looking for a general “is it good or not?” answer, you might get an idea below. Read More »

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Currently, there are two camps when it comes to Iron Man 3. There’s the “Okay, Disney, we get it, stop with the footage and images” camp . These people are already sold on the film, have bought their tickets (figuratively, at least) and just want to see the full movie already. Then there’s the “Gimmie, gimmie, gimme” camp. They also have their tickets but still wants to see every little hint at what Shane Black has in store come May 3. This is for the second group.

A new featurette is online that’s about the new and expanded characters featured in the film. There are the new characters played by Ben Kingsley, Rebecca Hall, Guy Pearce and the expanded ones, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Jon Favreau. Each gets a few seconds in the sun here, much of which happens with new footage. Read More »

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Here’s a curious revelation. The fine folks at Movieline noticed that, in a new TV spot for Shane Black‘s Iron Man 3, Ben Kingsley‘s voice as the Mandarin sounds radically different than it did in the latest theatrical trailer. It’s a much more straightforward delivery, with less affectation in the reading. Surely it’s impossible to judge a movie from its trailers or TV spots, which are all edited months before the final product reaches theaters, but the change mid-marketing is curious. Listen below and let us know what you think. Read More »

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It’s been what, two weeks since the last Iron Man 3 poster was revealed? That kind of laziness simply won’t do. Fortunately, IMAX is here to save the day with a new poster featuring the whole gang. Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) and Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) clutch each other while supporting characters look on somberly, and little Iron Men fly around in the background.

All of it portends some serious drama, but most of us won’t know what exactly happens in the film for another several weeks. As part of the Marvel family, though, Joss Whedon got a little sneak peek. And according to studio head Kevin Feige, he had quite a reaction to the Iron Man 3 ending. Read about his comments and check out the new poster after the jump.

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Yet another Iron Man 3 character poster has been revealed and it’s the worst one yet. But only in terms of mental stability. Sir Ben Kingsley graces the latest Iron Man 3 poster as the villainous, criminal mastermind The Mandarin. He’s the major bad guy in the film, co-written and directed by Shane Black. Not only can you check out the new poster below, but the original art as well. Iron Man 3 opens May 3.  Read More »

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