Iron Man 3 Movie Review
After last year’s summer extravaganza in THE AVENGERS, the individual pictures of said team have a lot to compete with. That’s the major problem when you make a great film, it’s hard to meet expectations for the follow up. I’m happy to say, while a bit uneven, IRON MAN 3 is still able to deliver an entertaining ride in the theater. If you need a barometer, IRON MAN 3 is way better than the forgettable sequel but still not quite up to snuff with the original.
Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) near death experience through the wormhole in THE AVENGERS has messed with his mind. He no longer sleeps and has frequent panic attacks, which in turn has consumed his time with work and strained his relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Despite these personal problems, there is still evil in the world. A ruthless terrorist called Mandarin (played by the always exquisite Ben Kingsley) is taking over the air waves and dishing out random acts of violence, usually in the form of public bombings. He is backed by THE INCREDIBLES villain type Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who went from being a once nerdy fan of Stark to becoming a strapping evil genius.
Picking up the danger level considerably, IRON MAN 3 deals more with Tony Stark without the steel armor of Iron Man. Here is where the film succeeds at its fullest. A darker more tortured Tony Stark for a man that is usually cocksure and egotistical, makes for a refreshing and compelling change of pace. After a thrilling near total destruction of Mr. Stark and his assets. The man finds himself stranded miles away without the iron. Films always work their best when the cool gadgets don’t work. It brings an every man quality to our hero that gives a sense of reality in the film world. Tony can’t catch a break as his suits keep getting destroyed and he has to do what he does best, think on his feet and build quick primitive (I’m using that word very loosely) devises to keep him going.
Highlighting Tony’s love for Pepper, his friendship with bodyguard / head of security Happy (Jon Favreau) and War Machine turned Iron Patriot Colonel Rhodes (Don Cheadle), and enlisting some help from a young boy, IRON MAN 3 shows sweeter moments in Stark without loosing his brash honesty and surely quips. The films biggest weakness is when it comes to Iron Man’s enemies. Killian has invented a way for amputees to grow their limbs back. But by doing so they become some sort of acrobatic, eye glowing, fire breathing mutant. They look normal at first but when ever they choose they can burn a hole through anything they touch. The way these evil characteristics are delivered stretch the boundaries into cartoony even for the Marvel superhero world, especially for the final battle, which counteracts the more realistic danger the film had previously established internally through Stark.
The 3D is nice but completely unnecessary. Sometimes the action is a little over explosive and grand, losing a lot of the human element and instead becomes more like a Michael Bay or Roland Emmerich movie. The abundance of plot holes and questionable choices only further that comparison. The film runs a little long with an odd Bond like situation where the villain divulges his plans in the second act. But due to the high energy direction of Shane Black, IRON MAN 3 is still a solid barrel of fun. Robert Downey Jr. keeps the film alive with his natural charisma and humor. With perhaps one of the greatest action scenes to date, Iron Man finds himself needing to find a way to save several passengers falling out of a crashing plane, when he can only carry four. The whole segment is ripe with tension and creativity that alone propels the film to better than it probably deserves.