The third movie in a trilogy always seems to be the hardest to successfully create, especially for comic books. Not only do you have to tell a new and exciting story but you have to tie everything from the other films into it. The Dark Knight Rises for me stood alone as a successful and great end to brilliant trio of movies, but now Iron Man 3 can join it, in that regard.
Iron Man 3’s main focus is to answer the question brought up in The Avengers, when you take away his armor who is Iron Man? Director Shane Black goes about answering that question in a fun and action-packed way, that easily tops the second film. The plot may not be Iron Man 3’s greatest draw but it is the action and it’s character moments that is.
What Black focuses on here is character. Everyone, even Happy have their moments and are given so much more depth than they have in the past films. Come on, you can’t tell me you didn’t get a kick out of finding out that Happy loves Downton Abbey. More than that, you got to see how committed Happy is to his job in protecting Tony and Pepper. Also you got to see how much Tony cares for his dear friend and ally.
Pepper Potts gets a lot more to do this time around and it’s probably my favourite Pepper from the other two movies. You have CEO Pepper, you have the loving girlfriend Pepper, and then later in the film, you get badass Pepper. I love strong female characters but they still have to be in their established character and she was, so I loved it! You really see her evolution in this film considering all that has happened. Her relationship with Tony was great to see and the difficulties between them due to the attack on New York in the Avengers, was all there.
Then you have Tony. Robert Downey Jr, plays Tony Stark so effortlessly that it’s hard imagining anyone else in the role. You still have the clever and witty Tony but Downey adds another layer of emotional depth to the character. Showing you a Tony who is fighting some serious demons and contemplating so many decisions in his life.
The only downfall in this movie were the villains. Guy Pearce just plays the straight totally bad, and totally evil villain. In my opinion the best villain is when they do something because they believe what they’re doing is the right thing. It makes for a more layered antagonist. In that sense Rebecca Hall’s Maya Hansen could have been a better villain because everything she did was to further her own experiments with the first one who offered her help since she was abandoned by Tony. Her experiment had a good purpose but was used in nefarious ways. She is a more tragic character of the film. Three movies in we should have a better villain than another corporate criminal trying to get rich, while taking over the world at the same time.
You also have Ben Kingsley’s The Mandarin. For me he worked really well in the film but only after the big plot twist involving the character. This showed how great an actor Kingsley is, adding all those slight facial cues and how he handled the reveal. There was a ton of backlash about the big reveal, even a close friend of mine was upset at it and found it disappointing, but I was laughing too much to notice. I found that twist improved the character making all those videos and grand speeches more believable instead of being cliches. That is all I will say on the matter because I really don’t want to spoil what is actually a fun reveal.
The action in this movie is easily the best in any of the Marvel movies. It’s not the big scale show you saw in the Avengers but it’s filmed with a much better hand, mainly because Shane Black has made his career making action films and he brings everything he’s got to this one. The fights scenes are so fluid and the direction and camera work so effortless it’s hard not to be blown away by what you see on screen. Also many of the fight scenes contain a Tony that’s not fighting in the Iron Man suit, those scenes are masterfully handled. Iron Man 3 has set the bar high for action sequences in Marvel films.
The Iron Man films more than any of the other Marvel films have always been more of a comedic political commentary. The third is movie is the same but with a more character driven focus. For me character over plot any day.
If you want to have fun at the theaters, Iron Man 3 is that movie. It’s smart, witty, and full of wonderful characters. You will laugh and be entertained and realize just how far Marvel has come with their films.
Score: 3 out of 4