The third Iron Man film is very different from the first two. In between the second and third films Marvel grew their cinematic universe greatly. They added Thor and Captain America solo films, and wrapped up phase one of their films with The Avengers, the most successful superhero film of all time. Iron Man 3 was the first film Marvel released after Avengers, so it came with several questions. Now that the Avengers exist, why wouldn’t Tony Stark call them up when he gets into trouble? Why would he only handle his problems on his own now? Iron Man 3 does a good job of telling a story where Stark believably wouldn’t be able to call his Avengers teammates when he runs into trouble again.
The new villain in the Iron Man world is the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), the leader of the terrorist organisation, the Ten Rings. When Tony Stark’s old friend Happy Hogan (Jon Faverau) is hurt in one of his terrorist attacks, Stark publicly taunts the Mandarin, who takes up Stark’s challenge, attacking his Malibu mansion while he and Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) are inside. Stark gets Pepper to safety, and in the process, ends up stranded in the middle of Tennessee. Stark must repair his broken suit, with the help of a young boy (Ty Simpkins), and find the Mandarin and rescue Pepper.
I try very hard not to discuss spoilers in my review, but it is really hard to describe the issues I had with this film without discussing the huge twist contained in the film. So if you don’t want to know about spoilers, stop reading now. So the big twist in the film is that the Mandarin is actually an actor being controlled by the actual villain, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). I had a huge problem with this when I first saw it. The Mandarin is Iron Man’s most famous nemesis and I felt that this twist wasted Mandarin as a character. For example, if they pulled something like this with Batman and made the Joker an actor, people would lose their mind. The Mandarin deserved better than this film gave him. Despite this, Iron Man 3 is still a very entertaining movie. It is an interesting look at the aftermath of the events that happened in The Avengers. Stark was always the character most grounded in reality, despite being a billionaire playboy. His reaction finding out that there are super soldiers and real life Norse gods was fun. He wants to develop his suits more so he can stand alongside these larger than life beings. He creates a suit that automatically flies to him when he needs it. I found this suit so cool, and the film does it really well.
I thought the film dealt with The Avengers really well. There is never a time when you feel like Stark is in a position to call his Avengers buddies for help. For much of the film, he is stranded in Tennessee with no access to technology. There is also a fun scene at the end of the film where Stark is hanging with Bruce Banner. It is a nice reminder that all of these other characters do exist, in case anybody forgot.
I liked the scenes with Stark and Rhodey (Don Cheadle) too. The writer/director of Iron Man 3, Shane Black, also wrote the Lethal Weapon series, and you can see his influence here. There are some scenes when Stark and Rhodey banter andi feels very much like watching Riggs and Murtaugh all over again.
Iron Man 3 is a fun adventure, and a worthy addition to the always awesome Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Iron Man 3 is so different from the first two Tony Stark adventures, but it had to be. One and two are fairly standard superhero flicks. Iron Man is your typical (and awesomely great) origin story, and its sequel is mostly a continuation of that story. But this time around Stark is faced with darker internal demons and a more fearsome enemy. Things are a whole lot darker, but that’s OK.
The best feature of this film is that it reinforces the Marvel universe in a believable way that also works within the Iron Man world. IM3 picks up Tony Stark’s story following the events of The Avengers, a movie that changed everything for this character. Prior to Avengers, the world of Iron Man was grounded in some reality. A mechanical suit isn’t really that far fetched of an idea, and Stark’s enemies were of the “men seeking revenge” archetype. But in The Avengers he is introduced to extraterrestrial friends (Thor) and foes (Loki and his chitauri army). This is so outside the norm for this character, I was skeptical that it would be addressed well.
Iron Man 3 doesn’t ignore the alien invasion at all. In fact, Tony Stark’s entire world has been turned upside down because of it. He is a man suffering from PTSD, reeling from a near death experience and the knowledge that the earth is vulnerable to attacks that he alone cannot stop. On top of all of this, he is also battling the mysterious Mandarin, a terrorist responsible for a string of bombings that leave virtually no physical evidence. Stark is paranoid and fears for the safety of those he loves the most. Everything seems beyond his control this time, something Stark and the audience never truly felt in the previous movies. IM3 feels more dangerous, and allows for the character development that was lacking in the previous installment.
This movie is probably one of my favorite Marvel movies (though I think I say that every time I watch one of their films). Tony Stark was the superhero who got me into comic book films, and I’ve enjoyed watching him grow from a sarcastic ass into a sarcastic ass with a heart.
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