Movie Review: Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3

Directed by Shane Black
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Ben Kingsley, Jon Favreau, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, James Badge Dale and Ashley Hamilton.

The first Iron Man movie was when I realised I loved comic book films. I wasn’t reading comics at that point, so it was a bit of an epiphany. Five years later, I’ve now immersed myself in the world of comics. So to say I was excited about Iron Man 3 might be a little bit of an understatement.

The official summary from Marvel says:

Marvel Studios’ “Iron Man 3″ pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

That doesn’t really give us much to go on. And certainly doesn’t do justice to the movie.

*possible spoilers, click at your own risk*

After The Avengers, Tony Stark is left to deal with nearly dying in New York, as well as his expanded role in the universe. He pulls away from Pepper Potts, has anxiety attacks, and stops sleeping, choosing to tinker with new armor designs instead. When the Mandarin, a terrorist focusing on the United States, appears, and Happy Hogan, the Stark Industries security chief, is injured, Tony Stark issues a televised threat. The result is an attack on and destruction of his home, and Tony himself is presumed dead, while stuck in rural Tennessee with an Iron Man suit without enough power to return home. He teams up with a young boy, and discovers that the terrorist’s explosions are being used as a cover up for a flaw in an experimental regenerative treatment for crippling injuries, called Extremis.

Then there is some action, adventure, drama, and more explosions, before the film’s conclusion. (I’m trying to not to give too much away!)

Robert Downey Jr is brilliant as Tony Stark; quirky, acerbic, confident, but still completely likable, well as likable as a “genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist” can be. In this film, the superhero is stripped down to the person. Take away the suit, the gadgets, the bravado, and answer this question. Is the person that’s left still a hero? Tony Stark spends a lot of time out of the Iron Man armour in the movie, but I feel that that decision gives Tony Stark, rather than Iron Man, a chance to shine. And with that focus, we get to see more of the complexity of Tony Stark, beneath the ego and suit.

The supporting cast is strong as well. Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts is competent and independent, and I certainly wouldn’t want to get on her bad side. Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian is slimy, and charismatic and uncomfortable, just as he should be, and Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin is fantastic, though I won’t say much more than that. (Spoilers!)

The biggest problem with the film comes with the plot. The villain’s motive makes no sense. The audience needs to accept that he wants power because Power! and not think much beyond that. Iron Patriot felt unnecessary, or maybe just an undeveloped plot point. The inconsistencies in the ability to fight off the Extremis powered bad guys drove me nuts. And the end if the film just felt rushed.

Maybe it’s because I still don’t have a lot of background in the Iron Man comics, but what didn’t bother me were the changes from the original canon. I know some details, but certainly not all of them. And that let me enjoy the film as a film, not as an adaptation.

It wasn’t a perfect movie, but it was a truly enjoyable one. Would I see it again? In a heartbeat.

Rating: 8.5/10

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