Dir: Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Jon Favreau, James Badge Dale and Ben Kinsley
Synopsis: When Tony Stark’s world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.
*Review Note: This is a NON-SPOILER review and if you comment PLEASE DO NOT PUT SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS.*
To fair to say Iron Man 3 could have been a tough sell. First, some people still have a bad taste in their mouths with the mention of Iron Man 2. Second, the movie finally has the famous arch-nemesis from the comic in The Mandarin. Lastly, the movie is following The Avengers which was a massive success and is still in many people’s minds. So is Iron Man 3 any good? Well, the short answer is yes.
The movie interestingly starts at a party where we see a pre-Iron Man and Iraq cave Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) being the playboy party guy that we saw briefly in the past. It’s there where we get introduced to Maya Hansen (Hall), who we see is just as smart as Tony and wants to do some good in the word, and Aldrich Killian (Pearce) who at that point is trying to make a name for himself. Fast forward to the present and we see the Tony in his workshop working on his new Mark 42 that he can now summon by will to attach to him.
But while all that happens we are finally introduced to The Mandarin. In the comics he’s more of a magical being but here he’s more of a real world terrorist that delivers some pretty chilling video messages throughout the movie. Speaking of differences, we see a different Tony Stark. We still get the smart quick witted Tony but now we get a Tony that knows aliens and demi-gods exist. He struggles with that and suffers nightmares with a few other things that makes the Tony we fell in love with distant to everyone. And Downey Jr. does another amazing job of playing Stark and gives him a lot more depth which is good to see.
The plot itself revolves around Extremis, a serum which comes from the comics but here concerns a process by which humans can be biologically enhanced by tapping into their DNA, resulting in hugely entertaining sequences that we won’t spoil here.
Something happens to someone close to Tony which results in Tony getting a little emotion and sending a message without thinking of the consequences. Of course this leads to the heavily marketed house invasion and destruction that eventually sends Tony to go off on his own and try to find a way to fight back. It puts him back metaphorically back in the cave where he has to rely on his smarts to get him out.
Of course the world isn’t without an armored hero. War Machine, now called Iron Patriot, is the government’s response for the attack on New York and goes around trying to find The Mandarin too. Don Cheadle by the way comes into his own as ‘Rhodey’ this around especially when it comes to his friendship with Tony. If there was ever any doubt that Cheadle couldn’t handle a spin-off movie then this movie puts those doubts to rest.
So, I’ve mentioned The Mandarin a lot in the review so let’s talk about him, sort of at least. It’s certainly an interesting take on the character to say the least and some fans were already bashing the idea but it works quite brilliantly in the context of this story. And Ben Kinsgley owns the role, stealing the majority of the scenes that he is in and clearly having a blast playing this character. Another standout is Guy Pearce as Killian and you almost can’t keep your eyes off him whenever he’s on screen.
As for the women, Rebecca Hall does the best can with her character that a little underwritten, which is a shame since Hall could have done so much with the part. Gwyneth Paltrow fares better and even has a lot more to do than just be the damsel in distress.
Of course one of the big differences in the movie is the new director in Shane Black who replaces Jon Favreau, who does come back as Happy Hogan. Black is known for his buddy back and forth conversation (Lethal Weapon) and that does happen in the movie through Rhodey/Tony and another relationship that Tony develops. However, Black also proves he can handle action sequences and not just with the house destruction. There is the plane sequence and the last big fight were all of Tony’s suits show up to help the fight.
All in all, Iron Man 3 is definitely going to get a mixed reaction, especially from the comic book fans, but overall it is a good movie. It’s smart, fun, funny, has some great drama filled moments and twist and turns. So really an overall a great experience to enjoy whether you know the comic book arc or not.
Iron Man 3
4.5 out of 5