Iron Man 3

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Special effects trump substance in this addition to the blockbuster screen franchise adapted from a series of Marvel comics dating back to 1963. As the titular superhero's billionaire alter ego (Robert Downey Jr.) battles a mysterious, bin Laden-like terrorist (Ben Kingsley), their conflict endangers his now live-in girlfriend (Gwyneth Paltrow). The range of moral and immoral uses to which advanced technology can be turned are briefly explored through the characters of two promising scientists gone bad (Guy Pearce and Rebecca Hall) and through the protagonist's newly developed anxiety attacks, which leave him questioning his reliance on gadgetry. But such serious considerations are muscled out of view, under co-writer Shane Black's direction, by serial gunplay and explosions.

Watch out for: Much action violence with some gore, cohabitation, an off-screen nonmarital sexual encounter, at least one use of profanity, occasional crude and crass language.

Rated: A-III, adults; MPAA: PG-13, parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2013