Jon Favreau’s first two Iron Man films were more or less mixed bags for me. While I thought the first movie lacked ambition and did not take any risks, the screenplay and the direction was steady and was able to capitalize on its strengths rather than its weaknesses. It made the comic books come alive even in a rather underwhelming manner. The second movie proved to be a mere launch pad for the upcoming “Avengers” movie during that time. The first sequel was louder and proved to be a more effects-laden popcorn affair than actually trying to expand on the essence of the character. This second sequel now comes with a different director in Shane Black (who debuted as director in “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” and wrote “The Long Kiss Goodnight”). It manages to maintain that energy vital to an action movie, something the first sequel struggled with; but it may prove to be a lot disappointing to comic book fans.
This is the super-hero movie about comedic “Karma”…
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is a man suffering from past events in New York (as chronicled in “The Avengers”), that he barely sleeps and he uses his time to create more armored suits, which creates friction between him and his girlfriend, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) who also serves as the head of his company. Tony’s friend, James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) is now wearing the “war machine” suit that he had designed as an employee of the government who is now called “Iron Patriot”. When terrorists have surfaced headed up by the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) who has taken responsibility for a string of bombings, Stark has become more personally involved as it seems as if someone from his past had come back to haunt him….
I am really uncertain as to how to begin this review. “Iron Man 3” is a film that is definitely entertaining and fun to watch as it boasts of an energetic momentum that is somewhat to be expected of super-hero movies. It is a movie made by Hollywood to attract mainstream fans and is a solid summer blockbuster. Much as I thought that the film maintained its forward momentum, I do feel that while it was entertaining, it entertains for the wrong reasons. The dry humor while timed impeccably and the way it approached the presentation of its main antagonists just caused the movie to fully lose the essence of the source material. I understood that the screenplay wanted to do some misdirection, and it does try to deliver a twist, but for me it did feel a little cheap.
Let’s go forward with the positives first. Robert Downey Jr. was in familiar ground in his portrayal, that he presents his character with the utmost of ease. He is charming and funnier as ever, and it was nice to see him operate without an armor. The screenplay has some witty dialogue that would undoubtedly make one crack a laugh, and the timing can be perfect. The film also has nods to the comic book, “Advanced Idea Mechanics” and “Extremis” all play a part in its storyline, and it manages to link the storyline to past movies. I do think the screenplay did a good move in mentioning the past events in “Avengers”, as it gave the plot a needed feeling of continuity with the previous films in the Marvel comics franchise. Guy Pearce was also quite effective with the way he played Aldrich Killian. His was a portrayal that made the villain quite convincing as someone who had a grudge against Stark. Rebecca Hall’s Maya Hansen was beautiful and despite her character being a little underwritten, her interplay into the script was quite competent.
I do have to kind of wonder how the characters of Ellen Brandt (from Man-Thing, played by Stephanie Szostak) and Eric Savin (nods from “Civil War“, played by James Badge Dale) managed to get injected into the script, since they were actual characters from other books. I know they were probably attempts to give further nods to Marvel comics, and I could buy into them. The powers of the bad guys were all loosely based on the Extremis virus that made them seem like an “avatar of the Mandarin”. Cheadle’s role was also well connected into the script. I do have to admit, that despite some flaws, the screenplay was pretty solid in generating energy and comedy.
The special effects were as good as in the first two films. The action was fast, explosive and quite inventive in some areas. There was one really good scene with the rescue in Air Force One. I did also like the idea of the use of the Iron Man armory (references to the Hulkbuster armor, Stealth armor, Modular Armor etc.) into the screenplay as they served some sort of a remote armor. The designs of the new remote/modular armor mimicked the designs of the Mark 37 (Bleeding Edge armor) although it was reversed in color scheme. The use of this armor gave Downey the right timing for bits of comedy (but a little misplaced at times).
Now if you noticed, I did say the word ‘comedy’ a little too often. Yes, it was well timed in the majority of the scenes, but after the 2nd act, it overstayed its welcome. I mean, I am all for a little wit and humor here and there, but when it comes to get serious, get serious. The film felt really cartoonish. I also had issues with the film’s overabundance in characters. The young boy (Ty Simpkins) was totally unnecessary and could have just as well been edited out (is this Disney's idea?). The film could’ve used about 10-15 minutes trimmed from its screen time. The biggest blunder that the film had done was after the big twist about the “Mandarin” character was revealed. After that scene, I was barely able to stay focused with the film, as it shamelessly insulted one of Shellhead’s foremost villains. The Mandarin should be someone who represented ‘anti-technology’ and was the one villain who was the exact opposite of Stark. I do not want to spoil this, but 'think' what was done with “Lex Luthor” in the “Superman” films and Bane in "Batman and Robin". It was an affront to the essence of the character. To make matters worst, the marketing people even plugged the Mandarin as a focus in its trailers to try to do a 'shock' twist. It was a very cheap move in my view.
So I guess while “Iron Man 3” was entertaining, I thought it was entertaining for the wrong reasons. For the commercial movie fan and children, I think it would deliver. It was brisk and loud, clever in some areas, and even had the sense to elaborate just “who or what is an Iron Man?”. I just had major issues with the way it was executed. It paid too much attention to the comedic side of the script, and did not generate any suspense despite its terrorism undertones. It felt like an animated film for kids, clever and yet underwhelming; which is surprising as to how it tried to incorporate real world events such as terrorism into its screenplay. I really did not like the way it handled the character of the Mandarin, but I guess that is just the “Iron Man” comic book fan in me. I guess we all “create our own demons” in comedy. I think Shane Black saw a little too much of the kiddie show and not enough of the source material that this film would only be good as a RENTAL. [2 ½ Out of 5 Stars]
The promotion about Iron Man 3 was all over town way before the movie hits the theater. It's been long since I looked forward to a new movie, not even for Oblivion which I watched last week. That didn't motivate me to write a review about it as I believed someone on Lunch will surely do so. Oblivion was more of an anti-climax kind of movie for me, despite it was starring Tom Cruise! To give it justice, I did feel it had a good start with a forward looking mystery to solve. But, somewhere … more
I can't be the only one who got a Dark Knight Rises feel from this can I? Third time out for Iron Man in his solo series and the biggest thing that this movie has going for it over what is arguabbly his DC counterpart is that this movie doesn't have the issues ice skating uphill to outdo it's predecessor. The Dark Knight was so great that there was no way The Dark Knight Rises was going to beat it, we could only hope for a great time and have fun. … more
The Iron Man Trilogy has always been enjoyable to me, even though it's formulaic in every way. The character depth is never really there and when it tries for it the results are pretty damn terrible. Case in point, Iron Man 2 is one of the more forgettable super hero movies to come out within the past ten years or so without actually being a bad movie. And when Iron Man 2 did debut... it was more about making sure you knew The Avengers was coming as opposed to actually continuing … more
For Tony Stark, (Robert Downey Jr.), life has become very complicated for the self-proclaimed genius, philanthropist, billionaire, and playboy. In the new film “Iron Man 3”, Stark is wracked by insomnia and dread following the battle he waged to save New York in “The Avengers”. Stark throws himself into his work and endlessly creates new Iron Man suits as well as system upgrades which currently have him at the Mark 42 version which is a huge jump from the Mark VII … more
Proof that the law of diminishing returns doesn't always apply, the third film in the Iron Man series is the best of the bunch. Indeed, I would go as far as to say that this is one of the best Marvel comic book adaptations made to date. Director/screenwriter, Shane Black, delivers an exciting, intelligent and sharply written movie; peppered throughout with great dialogue and thrilling set pieces, it strikes a perfect balance of character driven drama and action. If this is the last time Downey … more
It was a bit of humor, romance and lots of action packed scenes. America needs a hero, if not many unbeatable heroes! Entertaining and worth going for movie, especially for kids, teenagers and those who love comics!