Movie Review – Iron Man 3

Robert Downey Jr returns as Tony Stark in Iron Man 3…. and I couldn’t be happier to see him. Iron Man 3 is the perfect kick-off to the summer movie season (http://wp.me/p3pq8p-W). It has thrills, it has chills….it has…dolla dolla bills!! The film has broken international box office records and has conquered the North American weekend box office.

This installment follows the events of the Avengers, and focuses the aftermath of those events on Tony Stark. As Tony tries to come to terms with the events in New York, a new villain named The Mandarin emerges, threatening Iron Man and the entire world.


I loved this movie. I am a little biased. I tend to favour superhero movies, and I happen to be a big fan of Robert Downey Jr (RDJ). That being said, its not a perfect movie…. but it is a damn good time.

The success of Iron Man in 2008 kicked off the Marvel Studios onslaught of superhero fare. A key part of that success is tied to the casting of RDJ as Tony Stark. RDJ was made to play Tony Stark. He’s entertaining, charismatic, and provides a great balance of angst and humour. He is the emotional core of the film. I doubt that the Iron Man series would be as well loved as it is without RDJ as the lead.

Iron Man 3 is an action spectacle. There are quite a few action sequences that are incredible, seamless and quite fun to watch.

Shane Black (Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) directed and co-wrote the film, providing a great villain and an interesting balance of humour and action. This was by far one of the funniest installments in the Marvel Universe, but also proved to be one of the darkest in terms of its subject matter, including terrorism and PTSD.  A lot of the film focuses on Tony’s identity without his Iron Man suits. The Iron Man persona is almost like an addiction for Tony, and throughout the film he’s trying to find the balance between himself and his alter ego.  It’s a great thing to watch, and one of the best things about the film.

The cast is excellent. Sir Ben Kingsley’s talent is put to brilliant use as the ominous villain The Mandarin. He elevates the film’s suspense and adds a very much-needed dark and serious tone to the Iron Man series.  I would give away spoilers for the film if I went on, but he is one of the best parts of entire film. Don Cheadle actually stepped up in this installment, playing more than just a glorified side kick, with great banter and great action scenes.

I ‘d like to give some credit to Pepper Potts, Tony’s long-suffering assistant and girlfriend. She is one of the best written female characters in the Marvel movie franchise, and as played by Gwyneth Paltrow, is a strong, smart and resilient woman, and in Iron Man 3…she kicks some serious ass.

Thats a lot of the good…… now for some of the bad….without getting into spoiler territory, James Badge Dale and Rebecca Hall were both necessary in their respective roles, but were serviceable at best. The pacing of the film was also a bit off, with a slow beginning and a very fast wrap up to the story. Guy Pearce’s character, Aldrich Killian could have been a terrific business and romantic rival to Tony Stark, but instead he’s cheesy and underdeveloped.

The biggest issue I had with the film was the very flimsy motive that the villains had for their “plan of world domination”. Some of the plot points were a bit forced, and there were quite a few plot holes left at the end of the film. There was just so much going on…and sometimes, the action strayed into Michael Bay territory (I had no idea what was happening….LOUD NOISES).

Overall, the film was a great escape, a perfect summer movie. It seemed very “final” to me, as if its the last installment of Iron Man’s standalone adventures. I really hope not. The popularity of the franchise is a testament to how good these movies are.  I’m looking forward to seeing more of Tony Stark and Iron Man in The Avengers 2.

Iron Man 3  (http://marvel.com/ironman3)
Iron Man 3 (http://marvel.com/ironman3)

 

SPOILER TERRITORY…. read no further if you haven’t seen the film…

I warned you….

  …

Iron Man 3 plays like a swan song, like Tony Stark’s last outing as a superhero. While, we know this isn’t the case, RDJ is slated to appear in the next Avengers film, the final scenes of the movie have a tone of finality that was sad to see.

The Mandarin is to Iron Man, as the Joker is to Batman. He is the arch nemesis of the series, and as played by Ben Kingsley in the first half of the film, with his ominous voice and elaborate costume, is an absolutely terrifying villain. I think its because it seems so real. The video messages created by the Mandarin are frightening. In the age of homeland security and 9/11, the kind of terrorism that the Mandarin prophesizes is realistic and scary. The big reveal mid-way through the movie is probably my favourite part of the entire film. I loved his transition from the Mandarin to Trevor… the stoner-actor hired to play The Mandarin.  It was an unexpected twist. Ben Kingsley really pulled out all the stops in his performance.

Killian’s army of heat-seeking super soldiers was interesting, but not fully explored. There was just so much going on, and it got to be a little over the top with the fire breathing. All of the “bad guys” turned on a dime. Maya, the genius  botanist who came up with the “Extremis” formula seems to have a moral issue with what she’s doing, but she still kidnaps Pepper, injects soldiers with the serum (from which many explode), and it takes one little speech from Tony Stark to make her stop…. forget all the hundreds of lives lost. We don’t know enough about her to feel bad or really hate her. The same goes for Killian. The flashback at the beginning of the movie almost sets up a personal vendetta against Tony Stark….but not quite. The reason for him becoming The Mandarin doesn’t make any sense. Running both sides of the war of terror? Why inject Pepper with the Extremis serum? Shouldn’t they have held her hostage instead of potentially blowing her up? And why does Rhodey’s suit always get hacked? Wouldn’t they have learned their lesson from Iron Man 2? Where are the Avengers during all of this? Plot problems.

Iron Man 3 covers a lot of material, almost too much. I really enjoyed the take on Tony Stark in this film.  Fighting terrorists, aliens and paparazzi on a daily basis would have resounding effects on anybody. Superheroes are no different.  As Tony suffers from PTSD and severe panic attacks, he dives further into his work, “tinkering” and creating dozens of Iron Man suits. His dependence on the suits plays really well.  When Tony ends up in Tennessee and meets Harley (the precocious genius kid), the addition of the typical kid-helping-hero trope should have come off as cliché, but Tony’s mean-spirited treatment of the kid is funny and it works really well.

The final battle ends with the destruction of every Iron Man suit in Tony’s arsenal. This is where the feeling of finality comes into play. Tony battles with his identity with and without the suit for the entire film. In the end, with or without the suit, Tony is Iron Man.

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2 thoughts on “Movie Review – Iron Man 3

  1. Nice work.. Definitely agree on how awesome the movie was… Also agree that one needs to overlook/ ignore a bunch of inconsistencies and just say F yea!!!

    I laughed loudest when i read about Rhodey’s suit getting compromised again.. I wondered that when Pepper needed a retina scan to check her voicemail in Tony’s mask…

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