By Matt Fleming and Jarrod Jones. This is the ANTI-MONITOR podcast, where you can take away our house, all our tricks and toys, but there’s one thing you can’t take away — we are Iron Man. This week marks the beginning of ANTI-MONITOR’s ‘Civil War’ celebration, where we pit Ol’ Shellhead and the Star-Spangled Avenger against each other in a title battle for Best Sequel! Before the boys go ahead and call it for ‘The Winter Soldier’ next week, they revisited ‘Iron Man 3’, a film that has aged surprisingly well — even with all that villainous tomfoolery. The fight, as they say, is on!

As always be wary for any spoilers throughout, and please enjoy.


ANTI-MONITOR: MATT — I can still remember a time when there was no Marvel Cinematic Universe. And then, a chance — taken on a character that many folks just never got into. But Robert Downey Jr. somehow made Iron Man a household name. Fast forward past a forgettable second entry, and you get Iron Man 3: a culmination of years of planning and happy accidents within the Marvel film paradigm. The films that followed the first entry became subtext for what a standalone Iron Man can be once all the pieces were set, and the big picture became magnified and glorious because of it.

Everyone knows that the “MacGuffin” treatment of The Mandarin was a hard sell at first, but pulling back one can truly appreciate the proverbial forest and trees. Iron Man 3 delivers an exciting post-Avengers film (the first, in fact) that separated itself from the greater picture without being boring. Director Shane Black navigated the entire thing well while the entire cast nailed every element of performance. Sir Ben Kingsley’s trickery turns out to be an effective turn against the grain, and once given a second pass, Iron Man 3 turns out to be a pretty good time.

ANTI-MONITOR: JARROD — Yeah. I was one of those blowhards who actively hated on Iron Man 3 when it was released. It’s been three short years since, but it feels like a lifetime ago: how could it be, I pondered aloud (and often), that a Shane Black-driven Marvel vehicle could careen so wildly away from my expectations? Turns out I had a valuable lesson coming to me, and Iron Man 3 was my hard-assed teacher.

Watching it again for the first time since it came out, I learned that — shock of shocks — my own personal expectations were tainting my general enjoyment of these superhero films. That, after all this time, I was patently wrong — the infamous Mandarin switcheroo was indeed a brilliant conceit. And it was. If I were to find fault with Iron Man 3, it wasn’t with the Mandarin — and there came some comfort in knowing I could at least stop dwelling on the superficial. Besides, Ben Kingsley was still awesome in the movie. What’s more, Iron Man 3 was an awesome movie all around. I could pick holes in it if I wanted to, but with all this fun to be had, what would be the point?

CONSENSUS: There was much ado about its villainous bait-and-switch the week of its release, but upon reflection Iron Man 3 is one of Marvel Studios’ finest (and smartest) sequels.   7.5 out of 10

Make sure to subscribe to the Anti-Monitor Podcast on iTunes!