Back in 2008 Marvel released the first movie for its cinematic endeavor, Iron Man. It was followed that June by the widely underappreciated, The Incredible Hulk. Iron Man, however, showed that Marvel was serious and it gave us our first glimpse of the world they had created. Two years later it was followed by the cleverly titled, Iron Man 2, an inferior successor, but not as bad as most people chalk it up to be and definitely not as bad as some other sequels out there. Last year we finally got to see all of these heroes team up in The Avengers. The Avengers was a massive undertaking and a large gamble, one that paid off financially and critically. Now is the time for Iron Man 3. Robert Downey Jr.’s last time (as of now) as the titular character.
When RDJ first put on that metal helmet of his he successfully elevated essentially a B-list superhero into superstar status. Iron Man broke a lot of rules; Tony Stark was older, he was womanizer, cocky, and spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the first one, he doesn’t keep his identity a secret. Even though Marvel isn’t trying to make a Nolanesque universe here, all of these stories are somewhat believable. I’m willing to buy that aliens invaded New York because the stories were told as humanly as possible (On the other hand I refuse to believe Ryan Reynolds defeated a giant fart cloud with a ring pop). Having said all that, it can get tiresome if Tony is going to keep fighting guys who make their own robotic suits. Unfortunately, you can’t just have him fight a normal human bad guy as he could knock their head off with one punch. I’m not familiar with Iron Man characters at all so I’m not sure where these guys fit in, but Iron Man 3 introduces a kind of super soldier that can regenerate and have super human abilities, even in the suit Tony has trouble defeating them.
Taking over for Jon Favreau this time around is Shane Black. You might know him as the writer of Lethal Weapon, Last Action Hero, and the weird joke teller from Predator. What I most associate him with, though, is Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. If you haven’t seen that then I recommend you stop reading this and go watch it, I’ll wait…you back? It’s good, right? Right off the bat you’ll notice similarities to this one. Tony even starts with a narration in the middle of the story. I knew Shane could write since he delivered some of our most beloved movies of all time, but I wasn’t sure he could handle such a large undertaking, his only other directing gig was the aforementioned Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which also stars Downey Jr. But if Jon Favreau and Marc Webb taught us anything it’s that indie directors can successfully make the jump. Black continues that trend with Iron Man 3. The script is filled with whip crack one-liners and the dialogue flows organically. Out of the three it’s is the most well written and definitely the funniest. Personally, I would like to see Black do some more movies in the tune of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Black did an excellent job with this one, but he’s got to work on his action scenes a little more, they felt disjointed and filled with uncontrolled chaos.
Robert Downey Jr. is on fire as always and this time around he’s really put through the gauntlet as almost every player gets in a verbal sparring match with him that tests his limits and brings out the best in him. I loved to hate Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin, I’d go into more detail, but I don’t want to spoil it. I just loved everyone in this and their interactions, if this is indeed the last time we’ll see them together it will be sad to see them go, but at least they went out on a high note.
I did have a few complaints about the overall story. I never really got an overall sense of why the bad guys were doing what they were doing. Maybe I missed something, but it wasn’t clear to me. There is one twist too that I won’t spoil here, but when it happened I felt cheated. Maybe fans of the comic can elaborate once they see it, but I felt it was a waste. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it. Iron Man 3 kind of takes the title literally as an iron man. Tony and crew spend very little time in the actual suits, Tony has developed a sort of radio control for them, this doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of iron man action though.
And, of course, there is a little segment after the credits so make sure you stick around for that.
How they stack up:
Iron Man: 10/11
Iron Man 2: 7/11
Iron Man 3:
8 out of 11
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About the movie
Synopsis: When Tony Stark’s world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Gwenyth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley
Director: Shane Black
Run time: 130 min