Published on July 23rd, 2013 | by Allan Brown6
Iron Man 3 Review
Movie Review: Iron Man 3 (2013)
Director: Shane Black
Writers: Drew Pearce , Shane Black
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Ben Kingsley, Jon Favreau, Don Cheadle
Plot: When a new terrorist known only as the Mandarin destroys Tony Stark’s world, he has only one thing on his mind, “Good old fashioned revenge”.
Iron Man, despite his fame within the Marvel Comics Universe, was almost unknown in the mainstream before 2008, yet now he ranks among the most popularised superheroes in the world. The character who is solely associated with the enigmatic Robert Downey Jr in the same way 007 was with Sean Connery. The defining factor of this episode is its writer, director, Shane Black, the man who gave us “Lethal Weapon” “The Last Boy Scout” and of course “The Monster Squad” Not since Ang Lee’s ill-fated “Hulk” in 2003 has a director so stamped his personal seal on a Marvel project. This is a Shane Black adventure starring Tony Stark who occasionally becomes Iron Man and sometimes fights some people with the power of lava, but mainly dishes wisecracks and solves highly convoluted conspiracies and world threats during Christmas holidays. All in a day’s work, for a superhero.
Iron Man 3 presents the fourth outing Robert Downey Jr has taken up the mantle of Tony Stark aka Iron Man, the guy who takes to flight without the help of a cape. However, this genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist is not the same Tony Stark we remember from Iron Man 1 and 2. Some time has now passed since the escapades in New York City with his Avenger pals, and now he is a changed man, restless, battling insomnia and enduring continuous panic attacks anytime the subject is mentioned. Enter The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). In good Middle Eastern terrorist fashion this calculated menace with the rather strange non Middle Eastern accent threatens America with mayhem and carnage.
As well as Blacks take on an Al-Qaeda super villain we are presented with another character in the form of Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) ), a brilliant scientist from Stark’s carefree past some 13 years ago, who came up with Extremis, a project that aims to perfect a serum that can upgrade human DNA with rejuvenation qualities.
This, however, becomes a plot to take out Tony and terrorize the United States by creating an army of serum-infused, ex-military personnel into fiery mutants, armed with enhanced strength and rapid regeneration abilities, who can, if they feel like it, breath fire, yes just like Pete’s Dragon. These lava breathed menaces are the only other sci-fi fantasy element in this film, and seem oddly out of tune with this otherwise straight thriller.
With America on red alert, a terror threat imminent and his main squeeze Pepper Potts being taken hostage, Tony Stark along with Air Force buddy James Rhodes aka War Machine (Don Cheadle) has a new reason to suit up and be the superhero that is Iron Man.
Downey Jr plays it beautifully and commands the screen with his performance. He again radiates a charm and charisma unmatched in the Marvel movie world and his almost automatic wise cracking one-liners confirms he clearly knows the character inside out. This however means everyone else just gets crumbs. This includes the returning Don Cheadle (Flight) as Rhodes aka “Iron Patriot”, who unlike IM2 is largely sidelined in both role and action as to goes for Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).
The film manages to pull together a strong cast from Ben Kingsley to Guy Pearce and handles to create some interesting characters and a few surprising performances.
So how does this outing fair next to Starks previous outings and more importantly is it the big send of we were all promised and that he deserves?
In part, both yes and no.
The beginning is rather shaky as are the motives of both the hero (Tony Stark) and the villains to join the party. The question of why both The Mandarin and Aldrich Killian have suddenly got Iron Man in their sights as well as their intentions is hazy at best and the lackluster motives presented to the audience is lazy storytelling.
Strong comic book movies that have worked well in the past have all had one thing in common, a strong villain who oozes screen presence, character depth and beyond all else, is interesting. Sadly, Director Shane Black didn’t get the memo.
I can’t help but feel the film would have benefited from seeing Tony Stark being pushed to his limits against a foe that could challenged him on the more believable and technical level. Instead we have the lava squad that can annoyingly rejuvenate over and over again and present nothing more than one dimensional character props who offer nothing interesting or dynamic.
There are also some serious inconsistencies in this final chapter that do not seem to adhere to the laws and rules laid down in the previous ventures. These contradictions will leave fans of the series truly baffled.
The most notable irregularity is with the suit itself. It simply falls to pieces constantly and throughout the films entirety. If used as the odd gag or for a moment of slapstick Id understand but to go from the suit shielding Tony Stark from the weight of a collapsing building to the next scene were we see it fly into a steel pole and break into a hundred pieces just doesn’t make sense. The enemies also seem overpower Iron Man fairly easily and the amount of suits that are physically ripped to shreds left me wondering, when did Stark start building suits from Tupperware? Considering the types of opponents Iron Man has come up against in previous movies Iron Man 1, Iron Man 2 and Avengers Assembled includes Aliens and of course a 50’000 degree lightning bolt from Thor’s hammer, yet the villains here that is clearly stated reach temperatures of 3000 degrees yet seem to cut through Stark’s suit like butter.
And yes, although Marvels Universe has so far been presented in a lighter tone than say Nolan’s Batman trilogy, these sloppy character inconsistencies should have been addressed at the screenplay.
Black presents the concluding part of the Iron Man Trilogy as a film about Tony Stark rather than Iron Man, in the same way that Nolan’s Batman and Raimi’s Spider-Man were about Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker. For the first time in the Iron Man series we see the superhero as a man, stripped back, damaged and full of anguish, living a near hermit lifestyle. Déjà vu?
The SFX and CGI are all crisp and gleaming as you’d expected from a $200 million comic book movie. Action scenes are sparse but interesting, and none more so than the helicopter attack that destroys Starks plush cliff-side palace and the rescue of falling passengers from Air Force 1. The final container port battle featuring a fleet of radio-controlled suits taking on the Exxis massive, is an oddly uninspiring affair but works well in pulling everything together.
Watching the end credits with footage from all three films concludes that even the makers of the saga realize that this is the final Iron Man stand alone movie (at least for RDJ). But then maybe there’s one more big fight in him yet (Avengers 2?). If the Dark Knight did it and that boxer fella from Philadelphia made one last comeback then so may Stark. Time will tell.
Summary: Robert Downey Jr again brings bags of charisma and charm to the character we all love. Perhaps not the film most were expecting and maybe not as big a finale as the character deserves, but as far as blockbusters go, it is entertaining and a nice finish to the franchise.