Iron Man 3.
Here’s the thing. I am a giant Marvel fan and I have to admit my expectations were huge. After The Avengers, how could Iron Man’s next solo adventure be that big? Luckily, director Shane Black didn’t try to make it bigger. He went for a more emotional and traumatizing adventure for Tony, resulting in a much more intimate experience.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) hasn’t been the same since the invasion in New York City. He can’t sleep at night, so he spends his nights working on new suits, resulting in the Mark 42, which is able to fly across vast distances and latch itself to Tony, in addition to being completely remote-controlled. When an old friend of Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) shows up named Aldritch Killian (Guy Pearce), things start to take a turn for the worse. Mix in the Mandarin, the leader of a terrorist organization played by Ben Kingsley, you’ve got the perfect setup for chaos.
As always, Robert Downey Jr. carries this movie. The moments of complete narcissism are balanced here with moments of complete breakdown, as he copes with being human. Guy Pearce was a standout villain and had much more of a role than the trailers would lead you to believe. And Ben Kingsley was absolutely captivating as the Mandarin, though I have some concerns with what they chose to do with that character, which I’ll get to.
In terms of action, you won’t be disappointed. There are multiple huge set pieces which are amazing, including a plane explosion which resulted in a round of applause from the theater when it was finally done. However, these huge action scenes aren’t as cool as some of the more subtle action scenes, including one where Tony, without a suit, infiltrates a mansion using only household items that he’s crafted into weapons. It’s a clever and unique scene but really showed off that Tony is, above all, a genius.
And then there’s the new factor that the Iron Man suits can be remote-controlled, which is shown in the trailers so I don’t really see it as a spoiler. This results in some crazy action scenes but gives us a whole new layer of what Iron Man is capable of.
What doesn’t work?
Now, I’m not head over heels in love with this movie. There are some definite and glaring mistakes here.
In terms of plot, there are gigantic questions. I won’t spoil anything, but if you watch the movie and look back, it’s hard not to wonder “Why didn’t he do that earlier?” He struggles the entire movie and it seems like there was a clear answer that would’ve solved everything almost immediately.
Also they made some choices with the Mandarin that will make every Marvel fan shudder. He had some much potential but there’s a turn at one point that unravels everything I had hoped for that character. It reminds me of the twist with Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, where they managed to undo everything amazing about a villain with one twist.
I appreciate that director Shane Black tried to have his own style instead of inheriting Jon Favreau’s style from the first two. It was a bit jarring though, as the beginning of the film didn’t draw me in like the intros to the first two. Maybe it’s because Iron Man is in a very different place this time around. It was just a tough transition for me.
This movie is incredibly entertaining. The fight scenes are incredible and the story is easy to follow, though easy to pick apart if you think too much about it. But sit back and enjoy and Tony Stark will make sure you have a good time. This is no The Avengers, but is a definite step-up from Iron Man 2. Worth seeing in theaters.
There is a scene after the credits, as usual.