As Iron Man 3‘s the Summer movie season opener, at least we can get over it before the bigger disappointments come. Feeling let down is likely inevitable after last year’s rousing Avengers spectacle. Iron Man 3 punctuates the story of Tony Stark. Once again, Robert Downey, Jr. is Tony Stark. With his smug attitude and need to quip, Iron Man is not the pure-of-heart superhero.
At the end of the movie, Tony asserts, “I am Iron Man.” In the third installment, it’s mostly Tony outside of his suit who faces the challenges of the villains, Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) and the slimy scientist Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts joins in as she gets her moments to shine. Don Cheadle does what he can with little focus as Tony’s pal, Rhodey, as he is now the government-sponsored weapon, Iron Patriot. Rebecca Hall as the ex-love interest who helps concoct the dangerous Extremis biotech isn’t very noteworthy.
The dialogue is as snappy as ever and the special effects, especially Iron Man’s rescue and the final showdown, are amazingly organic and don’t feel fake. Iron Man 3 felt more memorable to me than the previous two movies. Props go to Shane Black and the SFX team (the men and women representing the wall of text in the credits) for their work.
While Iron Man 3 is solid entertainment, it hints at issues deeper than “can we give moviegoers the most bangs for their bucks?”
For all the pithy jokes and the cool CGI, Shane Black seems to have hesitate saying something about the relationship between the public and private sectors. I thought it was a bit awkward to not cut back to Iron Patriot earlier as the Mandarin has his reign of terror. The Vice President is complicit in the Mandarin’s plan involving Extremis, but the movie doesn’t linger on the effects of his treason. There’s not much about Tony the industrialist as much there’s plenty of Tony as the celebrity.
Speaking of celebrity (or not quite one), Mandarin’s reveal as has-been actor Trevor Slattery makes for some amusing interplay between Kingsley and Downey, but it undermines the character. Why would they need a villain with a Chinese motif (which could jeopardize deals made with Chine) and also not use or allude to his gimmick, the ten magic rings? Was there no better choice for classic villain?
(Note: I have read/watched very little of the Mandarin before Iron Man 3.)
Some of the comedic impact of Trevor Slattery was dulled when I saw Kingsley goofing around with Jimmy Fallon:
To the surprise of few, Pepper Potts actually dons the Iron Man armor. There’s no “Rescue” to be found. I’m content that Extremis-enhanced Pepper finished the job against Killian, who is the real mastermind. Iron Man’s Parade O’ Suits make for a great spectacle, but I was more bothered that Tony didn’t have a spare suit for Rhodey than the potential plot hole that he can unleash the suits at any time.
Final Rating for Iron Man 3: Three Warren Ellis out of 1.45 Mark Millar.
MORE: The Avengers Review!
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