Iron Man 3 - Movie Review
The third adventure sees Tony Stark dealing with his biggest enemy yet and a monster he created before his time as Iron Man.
Director: Shane Black
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Ben Kingsley, Jon Favreau & Paul Bettany.
Run Time: 130 min.
US Release: 03 May 2013
UK Release: 25 April 2013
German Release: 01 May 2013
Awaiting Captain America: Civil War, one of the most anticipated movies of 2016, I decided to continue my Marvel reviews with Iron Man 3, the film that launched Marvel’s Phase II. After the somewhat lukewarm Iron Man 2, Jon Favreau decided to take a break from the superhero business and focus on Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Shane Black, who previously worked with Downey Jr in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, took over the directorial reigns and co-wrote the script for the third adventure of Tony Stark that sees the titular hero deal with the repercussions of the events that take place in The Avengers.
— WARNING, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! —
Following the battle in The Avenger, Tony Stark recluses himself in his mansion and begins building an army of Iron Man armours, as a way to deal with his post-traumatic stress disorder. When a terrorist leader, named the Mandarin, targets Tony Stark and takes away his technology, the brilliant industrialist needs to figure out if it is the man that makes the suit, or if the suit makes the man. In the meantime, Pepper Potts - Stark’s girlfriend and CEO of Star Industries - is facing an old friend, turned enemy, who has devised a sinister plan to get back at Tony and the World.
Iron Man 3 is in my opinion a fun experience, but also a very flawed movie with storytelling problems and structural issues. It starts off very strong, by giving it a grittier atmosphere and focusing on Tony Stark suffering from PTSD after having nearly died New York. The movie shows that it understands the psychological issues and delves deep into the fears and worries of the protagonist, who realises that compared to his superhero buddies he is a mere human inside a tin-can. It also shows the deteriorating effects that PTSD can have on relationships, as Tony is trying to cope with his anxiety but not letting Pepper in. I also liked how the movie slowly builds the threatening rise of the Ten Rings and their leader, the Mandarin.
After the first act though, which ends with Tony’s house and suits being destroyed by the villain, the path the film opened up with is put saide, to tell a more uplifting story that includes a lot of jokes and a ten year old sidekick, who helps Tony to deal rapidly with his anxiety attacks. The villain’s true plans are quickly revealed, which consists of taking revenge on Tony for leaving Killian’s ego broken 13 years ago. But the biggest disappointment is the fact that they take the character of the Mandarin, who is Iron Man’s arch-nemesis, and turn him into nothing more than a second-hand parody of what he truly is. They tried rectifying that mistake with the Marvel One-Shot Hail to the King, but it doesn’t help this blockbuster.
Other than that, Iron Man 3 makes a serious shift in tone and atmosphere, which suits the fact that it follows Marvel’s The Avengers and thus leaves the more grounded aspects of Iron Man and Iron Man 2.
Robert Downey Jr. returns as Tony Stark/Iron Man, with the story really being more about Tony Stark than his superhero persona. That is the strongest aspect of the film, as it tries to redefine who the protagonist is, now that his world has been expanded immensely by super soldiers and godlike aliens. Robert Downey is once again great as Tony Stark and I can’t picture anyone else playing that role because he simply understands the character; a narcissistic billionaire playboy who brushes off his problems with sarcastic remarks.
Ben Kingsley does a fantastic job playing former actor and drug addict Trevor Slattery, who plays the Mandarin for Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian (the “real” Mandarin), but I was simply disappointed by the fact that Marvel Studios took one of the most dangerous and infamous villains and humiliated the character in that way. Guy Pearce, on the other hand, plays another brilliant philanthropist that opposes Tony. Pearce is really good and convincing, especially when it comes to selling his motivation for doing what he is doing. Still, I was really upset that his persona was revealed to be the “actual” Mandarin because it doesn’t suit the traits of the comic book villain.
Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) has a much bigger role in this comic book adaptation, but her persona is not fleshed out as much as it should have been. Rebecca Hall plays Tony’s ex-girlfriend Maya Hansen, a brilliant botanist and the inventor of the “Extremis” strain, but like Pepper’s character, she is poorly used and completely underdeveloped!
Don Cheadle is much better as Colonel James Rhodes/Iron Patriot, compared to his portrayal in Iron Man 2. He seems more confident and has much more fun playing the character, not being as stiff and serious as in the previous film. His armour is updated and repainted by AIM (Killian’s company) and renamed Iron Patriot, a nod to the suit worn by Norman Osborn in the comics.
The movie includes a lot of CGI, which is no surprise since it is an adaptation of a graphic novel, but it uses it as a gimmick and not as the base of the movie, which is why it works really well. The many different Iron Man armours look organic and even the Extremis infected villains have a realistic look to them. It also feels different from the previous two Iron Man flicks, as Shane Black has his signature written all over the camera work but that gives the franchise a refreshing change in looks!
Verdict: So the third installment of the Iron Man franchise might be way more inferior to the first one, still it was definitely a slight improvement to the second movie. The story has slight flaws and the plot structure is messy, brushing through specific aspects of the film that might have needed more time explaining, yet it also is a fantastic portrayal of the character of Tony Stark. Robert Downey Jr. is as always brilliant and I like Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce but hate how their characters are presented. Iron Man 3 is definitely one of the weaker MCU adaptations but it us still a fun movie to watch, and I will give it a 7.0 out of 10!
Do you agree with my opinion or do you feel differently? Leave a comment below and let me know what you thought of this superhero flick. If you are interested in reading my previous reviews for the first two Iron Man movies, scroll down to find my Iron Man review and Iron Man 2 review.