Iron Man 3 – Movie Review
Iron Man 3 is in many ways the perfect ending to one of the strongest comic book movie franchises of the modern era. It has a solid blend of action, comedy, and thought-provoking moments that is the core of the comic book medium. Shane Black took over the reins from former director John Favreau and he doesn’t let us down as we finally get a real look at what it means when Tony Stark tells us the suit and him are one.
Nowhere is this point more emphasized for me than during a scene in which Tony finds himself trapped beneath debris under the ocean water. Frightened and panicking he is unsure what to do until the cool, mechanical voice of his A.I JARVIS tells him to take a deep breath. The glove of his suit detaches and flies around, gripping Tony’s hand and pulling him free. The Iron Man armor and Tony Stark are two separate entities, capable of operating independently, but when they come together is when they are at their best.
Robert Downey Jr. once again exceeds any expectations I had and proves without a doubt to be the best casting for any comic book character in history. His charm, playboy attitude, witty banter, and dedication exude the core of Tony Stark from the comics. There’s been a lot of talk recently about the possibility Downey won’t be returning as Tony Stark for Avengers 2 or Iron Man 4 unless he gets a serious pay bump. In my eyes, and in many of the public’s, there is no other actor that can perfectly capture the slightly douchebag yet irresistibly charming personality of Tony Stark. But only time and Marvel/Disney’s accountants will tell.
The Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley, is an interesting take on the oldest and most well known of Iron Man’s villains. There is no denying that terrorists and terrorism have become a hallmark of modern times in America following the devastating attacks on September 11, so much so that it has begun to seep into the entertainment industry as a reflection of the world around us. Kingsley’s acting is superb and he crafts a character that is menacing and charismatic. Without spoiling anything, his role is one that caught me completely by surprise when I watched the movie.
The rest of the supporting cast does a wonderful job. Gwenyth Paltrow steps up once more as Pepper Potts, and while her screen time is fairly limited she still shines whenever she’s in the same room as Stark. The two actors play off one another so well that I couldn’t help but feel for the man during the arguments. Don Cheadle also returns as Rhodes, rebranded from War Machine to the Iron Patriot. While I enjoyed Cheadle in Iron Man 2 I felt his role was tacked on for the third installment, never really doing much to forward the plot other than serve as a delivery boy for his armor to the Mandarin. Guy Pearce, playing the role of Aldrich Killian is another more behind-the-scenes roles in this film until the third act and it’s here that he shines. Giving the audience a taste of a modernized reimagining of a noteworthy villain.
One of my biggest criticisms of Iron Man 2 was the main villain donning an Iron Man armor facsimile and doing battle with Tony and Rhodes. It seemed like copout to me, as if the only interesting main characters were the ones in armor. Iron Man 3 does away with his notion and instead provides us with a more interesting theme. Technology pitted against Biology.
Aldrich Killian is the founder of A.I.M, Advanced Idea Mechanics, and has helped develop the Extremis virus. Capable of altering a person’s genetic makeup to enhance their physical capabilities, heal grievous injuries, and in some cases cause the individual to detonate with a temperature exceeding 3,000 degrees Celsius. And it’s in the final climactic battle that we see Tony’s forty-plus suits of armor do battle with an army of superheated super-soldiers. A much more interesting battle than the one we were given at the conclusion of Iron Man 2 at the Stark Expo.
Iron Man 3 is the perfect end to Marvel’s first real superhero blockbuster. For many Tony Stark and the Iron Man have pushed aside Batman, Spiderman, and many others as the favorite hero. And who can blame him with his wonderful toys and realistic characterization that makes Tony Stark seem more than the brooding alcoholic he was known to be in the comics before the movie franchise.