No doubt you’ve already decided that you’re going to see Iron Man 3 this weekend. Let’s be honest, you have avoided the movie theater for four months. Now, as the Summer movie season officially begins, let’s see if it’s worth it to see Tony Stark suit up again, or if you’ll just leave the theater with poo-face as you did when you saw Iron Man 2.
I’ll just say that Iron Man 3 has a lot to live up to. Sure, it couldn’t be worse than the second movie, but people went nuts for The Avengers. They probably wouldn’t be satisfied with another movie like the first two action-lite movies. But then again, people just can’t get enough of Robert Downey Jr.
A few months have passed since the battle between the hive-mind aliens and the Avengers in New York. Since nearly dying, Tony Stark has developed insomnia. He cannot stop building Iron suits. To add to his degrading sanity level, there is a new global threat coming from a terrorist leader called The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). The people Tony cares for most are affected by the Mandarin’s attacks and he must get his strength back and find out how to stop the Mandarin.
Guy Pearce plays the smarmy Aldrich Killian, a entrepreneurial scientist who approaches Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) about his new creation, Extremis (Nanotechnology that can heal wounds and regrow limbs). Early on we see a flashback to 1999, when Tony first meets Killian, but essentially gives him the brush off. At the same time Tony meets a promising young biologist, Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall), but sees her as little more than a one-night-stand. This all comes back to bite him.
So what is good about this movie? It delivers more action than the last 2 movies combined. My biggest gripe with the earlier movies is that Iron Man eventually just fights a version of himself in the climax. In 3, Tony Stark is suitless nearly the entire movie so it takes a long time to get to the climactic battle, but when it does, it pays off. Where else can you see 42 Iron suits battle with the enemy?
To keep this part mostly spoiler-free, I will only say that the villain overpowers Stark in any suit. I feel that a hero is only as good as his villains. Batman would not be half the hero if he didn’t have such a grand rogues gallery. Same goes for Spider-Man. Iron Man, on the other hand, has never had the benefit (cinematically) of battling someone superior. Do the villains work? Not quite. Pearce plays Killian with all the subtlety of a Bond villain. Many people may have issues with how the Mandarin was portrayed. I have never been attached to the character, but being Iron Man’s greatest nemesis, it felt like a wasted opportunity. Though he did provide for some great laughs.
That’s exactly what you’re going to get with Iron Man 3. Laughs. And I think that’s half of the reason people love this series so much. We love seeing RDJ crack-wise. That’s essentially the reason why the first movie worked so well. Marvel did a very good thing bringing writer/director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) to run this movie. His dialogue can go toe-to-toe with Whedon’s any day. You can tell RDJ is having a blast spouting off Black’s script. Also, due to Black’s script, there are great buddy cop moments between RDJ and Don Cheadle.
Now here’s the bad.
Like Avengers, so much attention was given to the dialogue that the plot was given little consideration. It’s definitely fun watching Tony travel the nation looking for the Mandarin, but you have to ask yourself, “Why is he in Tennessee again?” and “Why does Shane Black love Christmas so much?” and “Did that guy really just spit fire?”
After the final battle, there are major events that are explained away in 3 sentences that seem much more important. It feels like RDJ got tired of filming and they just spliced in the monologue to wrap everything up. RDJ is currently working out salary to make more Iron Man movies. It will happen because money talks. He will at least appear in the next Avengers flick.
I know I’ve been a little harsh on this movie and that’s not quite fair. It is a very fun and funny movie. It is also a great start to the big Summer blockbusters. But that’s all it will be. I didn’t feel the same glee I did when I walked out of the first Iron Man (or even Avengers) and it doesn’t try to match the weight of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.
I’m going to recommend this movie because it should be seen on the big screen. There is no reason to see it in 3D. For a letter grade, Iron Man deserves a B. Sit back, turn your brain off and enjoy the ride. If you loved the Avengers, you will love this. If the Avengers thrill quickly wore off, this will have the same effect.
If you’ve seen it, feel free to post your thoughts in the comments (even spoilers) because I’m dying to discuss a few aspects.