The Grade Book: “Iron Man 3”

Iron Man 3

Plot: Tony Stark must face the demons of his past and a powerful foe known as The Mandarin. 

Director: Shane Black. 

Writers: Drew Pearce and Shane Black. 

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Jon Favreau, and Ben Kingsley. 

Genres: Action, Adventure, Science Fiction.

Running Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes.

MPAA Rating: PG-13.




(Lowest Grade Given to the Film: B-, Highest Grade Given to the Film: A-)

SUMMARY OF THOUGHTS: Iron Man 3 has a polarizing twist and some obvious flaws, but it features stunning action sequences, sharp humor, and a great performance by Robert Downey Jr.



  • Gabriel Alcantara (Big Gabe):

Grade: B+

Lots of fun and excitement, thrilling action sequences, grand special effects, a wonderful score, and a dumb climax. Wait, what? Yes, the climax was very silly and I wish it hadn’t gone that route, but considering how much fun the film is and how great the cast was, I can’t deny that this was a good popcorn flick. Robert Downey Jr. could do no wrong as Tony Stark and he carried this film like a pro.

  • Christian Becker:

Grade: B+

The third installment in the Iron Man franchise is a worthy and entertaining addition. However, I had such high expectations for it that, even though I really liked it, I still walked away feeling a tad disappointed. I wasn’t a fan of some of the directions they took and some of the character choices, but as a whole, this film works as a fun, light, and funny superhero flick that should satisfy fans who have stuck with Tony Stark up to this point.

  • Joe Cauwel:

Grade: B

It has all of the middle-of-the-road entertainment you have come to expect from a Marvel film. It is funny and action-packed, and the only thing you might be offended by is the Mandarin. My biggest complaint is when Iron Man is out of his suit. At that point it just becomes Stark controlling robots.

  • Cody Dollarhide:

Grade: A-

The antagonists’ character arcs were rushed, bland, and predictable, but aside from that the filmmakers nailed it. Amazing humor that got really dark for a PG-13 movie, action scenes on par with the rest of the Marval movie adaptations, and a great final character arc for Stark. Robert Downey Jr. did an amazing job with his role once again. I hope to see that Stark’s new-found maturity doesn’t damper his humor for The Avengers 2.

  • Ryan Fecskovics:

Grade: B

A decent installment that should be the last film in this trilogy. The script was alright but could have been better. The movie was fifteen minutes too long. The acting in the film was actually on par; Ben Kingsley really stood out in his supporting role. Overall, the movie was just okay.

  • Chad Gleason (MovieManCHAD):


Grade: B+

This has to be one of the most insane experiences I’ve had with a big summer blockbuster in years. For the first 20 minutes or so, I was really not feeling it and felt very disappointed. Then Tony’s House got attacked and the Iron man Acid Trip kicked in and I was on a roller coaster ride of emotions that shocked, amazed and baffled me for the rest of the film. The humor also made me wonder and then laugh uncontrollably, and that final action piece was awesome!!! Thank you movie, thank you for a real crazy, brilliantly insane movie-going experience!

  • Mike Holtz (WeWatchedAMovie):

Grade: B+

It’s an amazing film that really puts Marvel fans in a tough predicament. While I’m not a fan of what they did with the story, I can say the rest of the film is epic. See it in 3D! The action is the best yet, the comedy is on cue, and Robert Downey Jr. is still the perfect Tony Stark. I loved the movie but I’d still like to give Mr. Shane Black a piece of my mind.

  • Steven Hunt:

Grade: A-

A great start to the summer. Robert Downey Jr. is as good as ever, with Guy Pearce being just as great as Aldrich Killian. I’m very happy they went the way they did with the story. I loved how this was a story about Tony Stark rather than Iron Man, as it really allowed Shane Black to show the smarts of Stark. The kid character irritated me a bit, but the film still gets a high recommendation.

  • Nick Iacobucci:

Grade: A-

Big action, big fun, big surprises…what’s not to like? This part three surpasses its two predecessors, and in the process delivers the best intro to the summer movie season since….well since Marvel’s The Avengers from just last year!

  • John Maffeo:

Grade: B+

A solid conclusion to the enclosed Iron Man trilogy and a satisfyingly entertaining movie on its own merits. Dark moments and rapid humor blend together seamlessly and Robert Downey Jr. proves once again why he is one of the most iconic actors in the superhero genre. If this is the end for the separate Iron Man franchise for a while, I’m perfectly content. “Bring em’ to church!”

  • Scott Menzel:

Grade: A-

After the train-wreck that was Iron Man 2, I was very leery about the third entry in the franchise, but luckily its a whole new beast. Iron Man 3 will be argued by some as the best in the trilogy and disliked by others due to the fact that the film dares to be edgy with its twist. Personally, I thought the overall film was on par with the original and all the shortcomings of Iron Man 2 — including the lackluster villains and Don Cheadle’s phone-in performance — are all corrected in the third entry. Robert Downey Jr. shines as Iron Man/Tony Stark and gives a performance that is comedic, sarcastic, and dramatic. All of the new characters, including Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian and Ben Kingsley as The Mandrin, add something special to the mix. My only complaint with the film is the rushed emotion that ultimately didn’t work on me because it was surrounded by too much action. Overall, I really loved Iron Man 3 and hope that they either get Robert Downey Jr. back for the next one or leave the franchise as is.

  • Steven Merced (Geeked Out):

Grade: B+

What can I say about this film that has not already been yelled about all over the internet? First of all, I want to say that Shane Black did a fantastic job with the overall tone of the film by letting the characters grow on screen. The acting was superb throughout, with Ben Kingsley and Robert Downey Jr. leading the way. Now the film has a few flaws, but none that shall ruin the overall experience of the movie. We get amazing action scenes in parts and character development in chunks. All this being said, it is still a top five Marvel film that could have been the best of the Marvel films if the second half was as good as the first.

  • Kevin Morrison:

Grade: B+

A worthy sequel to the Iron Man movies! The internal conflict with Tony Stark is executed brilliantly, but there are problems — such as the external conflict with a few underdeveloped characters, which does get in the way. But it’s worth it for the good stuff. It’s a very well-made film and beats the second, but the first is still my favorite.

  • William Bond Nunn:

Grade: A-

If it wasn’t for the villains being completely under-developed, this would’ve been an A+ for me. I had a lot of fun with this movie. Robert Downy Jr was incredible as Tony Stark, the action was great, and most of the movie is hilarious. Great start for the summer of 2013 and for Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 2.

  • Alex Perez:

Grade: B+

While its definitely not on the same level of greatness as the first Iron Man, as it does suffer  a really stupid plot twist and slightly uneven pacing, Iron Man 3 is still FAR better than Iron Man 2. It also features a top-notch leading performance from Robert Downey Jr., fantastic direction from Shane Black, the funniest humor out of the entire trilogy, and some kick-ass action scenes — as well as showing us a side of Tony Stark that we’ve never really seen before.

  • Austin Putnam:

Grade: B+

Even though I wasn’t a fan of the twist, Iron Man 3 does a great job doing what it’s supposed to do: kicking off the summer movie season with a great comic book film. Much better than Iron Man 2, but not as good as the first one.

  • Daniel Rester:

Grade: B-

Let’s get this straight: I don’t love this movie not because of the big plot twist (which is both annoying and amusing), but because of the myriad other problems that it has that no one else seems to be mentioning. The script employs an easy “kid-character-meeting-for-character-development” tactic, has half-assed ideas linking to The Avengers, has plot holes and underdeveloped characters (especially Rebecca Hall’s), provides questionable character motives (Guy Pearce’s whole plan seems ridiculous), and features a rushed wrap-up for the conclusion. The henchmen to the bad guys are also beyond bland, and the editing, music, and cinematography are mostly standard-issue for these sort of films by now. However, this film does feature a great cast (with the always-entertaining Robert Downey Jr.), a stunning aerial sequence, sharp dialogue, and stronger character development for Tony Stark. I can recommend it as an enjoyable summer film because of such things, but I can’t jump on the bandwagon of loving it because of its many flaws.

  • Jose Romero:

Grade: B

Iron Man 3 is a very complicated movie for me to rate since I was upset with what they did with the Mandarin. Being a huge comic book fan and someone who loves the mythology behind certain characters, the twist really was very unsettling for me, but with that said the movie is very fun to watch. I feel that Shane Black did a great job “ending the series.” This to me is The Dark Knight Rises of the three Iron Man films, since we see the character having to use his smarts instead of his suit. I also like how they show him struggling with this personal conflict of ‘Is it the suit that makes him Iron Man or his persona?’ That internal conflict made his character that much more complex. His story arc ends in a nice way that sets the pace for the rest of the films in Marvels Phase 2.

  • Christian Ruvalcaba:

Grade: B-

Although there is really only one thing that will turn people away in such a big way, the movie makes up this “incident” with great storytelling, great action scenes, fantastic performances all around, and even a humorous tone that fits well with the movie. Though it doesn’t surpass the first Iron Man or the successful The Avengers, Iron Man 3 kicks off the summer with a bang.

  • Dean Searle:

Grade: A-

Without a doubt, this is an entertaining and well-developed movie. There may be more Tony Stark than Iron Man, but unlike The Dark Knight Rises there is reason for it and the film doesn’t suffer. The film takes a different tone than its predecessors, with more comedy and comic bookality (that’s now a phrase). Because of this, it can take a little while to get into Iron Man 3, but once you do, it is a worthy start to Marvel Phase 2. The main villain was great although the Extremis plot does seem a little silly — but is dealt with in a way that kept me on board (mostly). A few changes to the lore will divide viewers. I for one loved it, although I  would have been happy with the original material. Although the action is bigger and more ambitious, this third installment overall doesn’t top the first Iron Man. It does come close though, and easily beats the second.

  • Callum Slater:

Grade: A-

A surprising, exhilarating, and hilarious followup to The Avengers and the best Iron Man movie yet — filled with excellent visuals, great performances, and sharp writing from director Shane Black. Only a few things are underdeveloped and rushed and of course the twist everyone is talking about is a mixed bag — as I understand why people hate it, but it’s still a great scene. Overall, this is one of the best Marvel movies, if not the best next to The Avengers.

  • Brandt Sohn:

Grade: A-

Robert Downey Jr. is at his best in this incredible finale in the Iron Man trilogy, which more than makes up for the previous entry. Shane Black’s writing shines with well-timed jokes that fire in rapid succession, but still allows for some emotional moments to shine through. The script doesn’t always take the time to explain its plot, which makes for some confusing moments for character motivations, but the positives far outweigh the negatives in this exciting blockbuster. Welcome back, Iron Man!

  • Delon Villanueva:

Grade: B

A good superhero sequel that takes some big risks that work slightly more than half of the time. Shane Black has a great presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although his sharp, witty humor doesn’t feel consistent with the film’s themes, Black still gives a welcomed new look to Iron Man. There’s also that very controversial twist that I’m still not 100% sure how I feel about it. Without spoiling, it’s a bit of a disappointment, considering the potential of where the film could have gone, but it works well with the narrative. It’s better than the second movie, but not even close to the first.

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