The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) – Review

2 Stars

The Three Musketeers reunite again. Although, this time under dire circumstances, in the moderately entertaining, but lightweight retelling of the legendary French tale. Handsome production values and a capable cast make the most out of the material, but the film gets bogged down in its over-length and slow pacing. DiCaprio’s rising stardom was the direct result of this film becoming a box-office hit, which says more for the young actor’s drawing power than the virtues of this picture. Braveheart scribe Randall Wallace gets his opportunity to direct resulting in a film which is competent but unspectacular.

The former musketeer Athos (John Malkovich) swears vengeance after despotic King Louis XIV (Leonardo DiCaprio) causes the death of his son. Summoning his old comrades Porthos (Gérard Depardieu) and Aramis (Jeremy Irons), he hatches a plan to liberate a shackled prisoner rumored to be the king’s twin brother, and then install him on the throne. But the three musketeers must also contend with their old friend D’Artagnan (Gabriel Byrne), who has remained in the king’s service.

The Man in the Iron Mask premiered in theaters in the wake of DiCaprio’s star-making turn in Titanic, a film which this battled for pole position at the box-office, and it’s more memorable as a time capsule than as a satisfying film. The defining Musketeer movie of my generation is the 1993 Disney flick. Perhaps, purists are put-off by that last statement, but at least that film had a sense of style and fun. This 1998 retelling of the historical novel is a slow-moving, good-looking, and arduous experience to get through.

Director: Randall Wallace
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich

One thought on “The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) – Review

  • May 10, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    I could not disagree more with this review of the Man In The Iron Mask. I found it to be very entertaining and not slow paced at all. We all have out opinions and a critic is not going to change what I think is good and what I think is not good because at the end of the day it is his/her’s opinion and nothing more which does not trump mine. After all, it is my money that will be spent at the box office so my opinion is the only one that matters to me. I enjoyed the movie and have watched it many times and not for Leo, but for all of the cast, the music and production. I have all watched every version of this story and this one is my favorite. I recommend the movie.


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