#496/#47 Iron Man 3
Still recovering from the events of the Avengers, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) is attempting to deal with his panic attacks and a general sense of dread. As this is happening a new terrorist group, lead by the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), is attacking American civilians and instillations. Calling him out, Tony makes himself a target and is then thoroughly decimated. Left with no working tech, and only his wits to carry on with, this poses the question: what makes Tony the Iron Man? The suit or the man?
Continuing on from the Avengers was always going to be a tough act to follow but if any of the superhero franchises were going to do it, it was going to be Iron Man. Iron Man 3 has a couple of ropey moments here and there but for the most part it pulls it off well. Downey Jr is still fitting into the role like he was born to play it while the supporting cast of Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle actually get something to do for a change. Kingsley and Guy Pearce also provide worthwhile villains and it’s nice to see a baddy who’s not just someone in another Iron Man suit finally.
Some of the better aspects we get to explore in this film are that we get to see Tony Stark back to his most basic and having to cobble together makeshift weaponry on the fly, a la the cave sequence from the first movie. It’s interesting in this respect to see that Tony’s greatest asset is still his mind and that the suits augment him but they don’t have to define him.
It’s also probably the most humorous of the franchise despite being the darkest. I’m sure that has something to do with the new direction of Shane Black, of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang fame, coming on for this movie. For the most parts it works, but there are a couple times when there’s a bit of a whiplash between a dramatic and a comedic tone.
What might be an issue for some however, and what seems to be the most divisive aspect of the movie, is something which happens around the midpoint of the film. I won’t spoil it here but some people will accept it, and roll with this new development, while for others it will break the movie beyond repair. I went with it so it wasn’t an issue for me, but I can equally see why some people would be pissed. It’s really going to come down to your personal reaction.
I wouldn’t call Iron Man 3 a slam dunk, but I would say it’s one of the better third movie in a superhero franchise. Most of the time this is where everything goes to shit but IM 3 is a fairly strong movie in its own right and a solid capping point if they decided to stop here. It’s better than IM2 but it doesn’t outshine the original film for me and it doesn’t touch on the Avengers. If nothing else it will be interesting to see where they go with the characters from here. 4/5