Iron Man 3, starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia “Pepper” Potts, Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian, Don Cheadle as James Rhodes, and Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin, started off the summer season. Now, it’s no secret that this movie has caused disagreements among fellow comic book fans and even the general public. Before I get to that, I’m going to review the movie first.
Starting off, this movie was hell of a lot better than Iron Man 2 but that’s not saying much. I still feel like Iron Man was much better due to the heart that it had. Watching the first half of this movie, I thought, “Holy crap. Best movie of the summer.” But then things started to go wrong for the movie. I felt like it lost its heart. I’m not sold on the idea about Tony Stark controlling the suits from outside. I felt cheated. It was fine to use some but I felt it was overused. I love Tony and the suit, IN the suit. The reveal of the Mandarin, which I will get in to later, stopped the momentum of the movie for me. And there was a lot of humor in this movie, in fact I felt like there was too much. The humor felt unnecessary at times especially Tony’s little quips against Aldrich Killian after Pepper, the supposed love of his life, fell into a fiery “death”.
Let’s get to the things I liked. I loved that this movie was all about Tony Stark. It was a nice change especially from Iron Man 2. It reminded me of Iron Man. Everything from Tony Stark was taken away from him. He has to use his intellect to get him out of the predicament he’s in. He’s stripped clean. The action scenes were spectacular. It was no wonder that list for the VDX effects crew was humongous. The scenes when Stark’s mansion was falling down was great, and the rescue of Air Force One was great. I loved that those were real people actually falling in the air. The last scene, was incredible. The action pieces lured you in and left you hanging. It was a bunch of fun, like any Iron Man movie should be. I felt that the Avengers final battle was better but this was a definite close second. After Tony Stark’s mansion got blown up to pieces, Tony told Jarvis to get him out of there. Hours later, Tony finds out he’s in Tennessee and immediately after he lands, Tony loses Jarvis leaving him to fend off for himself. That’s where we meet Harley Keener, played by Ty Simpkins. The relationship between Tony and the kid was one of the best things about the movie. In fact, the banter between the two were some of the best dialogues in the movie. “Dads leave. Don’t be a pussy about it.” “Yeah! Feel that? We’re done! How do I know? ‘Cause we’re connected!” Great stuff. I usually hate it when kids are in the movie. They’re usually quite annoying and don’t add anything to the movie. But the difference here is that Tony treated him as an actual person instead of a child. It had the heart. It had the humor. I really wished there was more of them.
Unlike many others, I had really no problem with Aldrich Killian. I thought he was a good, powerful villain. That guy was practically invincible. He destroy’s Tony’s home with his surprise attack, kidnaps Pepper, Rhodey, and Tony, and thanks to the Extremis virus developed by Maya Hansen, he’s able to rebuild himself, surviving fatal attacks such as when Iron Man cut his arm off and when he was incinerated. He was even able to develop his own group of soldiers who test Tony Stark through the movie.
I must say at first that Ben Kingsley was amazing in this movie. He played a truly menacing villain. I couldn’t wait for the final showdown between the Mandarin and Iron Man, until, The Big Twist. When we find out that the Mandarin isn’t really the Mandarin at all. We in fact learn that he’s Trevor, a druggie, paid actor, told to pretend to be the Mandarin as a cover-up for the many Extremis experiments gone wrong. I’m still very conflicted on that topic. I mean the Iron Man franchise hasn’t really stuck true to the comics. Whiplash in Iron Man 2 was a combination of a few comic book villains. I applaud Shane Black and Drew Pearce for being daring and taking a risk. Not all of it worked but at least they were different. What I liked about the change up of the villain was that it wasn’t another super villain with powers beyond this world like with Loki. Instead, we get an obscure villain that inhabits our collective psyche and I think that will always be Tony’s greatest enemy. Before the movie aired, I often wondered how Marvel was going to create a Mandarin that wasn’t a racial caricature. The idea of Kingsley’s Mandarin was to invoke fear into the hearts of many Americans and it did just that. It’s what’s happening now especially with the vast amount of terrorism occurring in the present. But the twist is that behind that idea, there is a white man playing with the fears of many individuals for his own sick pleasure. He represents the anxiety that keeps Tony up at night, the fear of the unknown that keeps Tony in his workshop upgrading his armour every second. He represents the terror the American people feel especially after 9/11 and the Boston Bombings. It’s realistic. It was a movie about terrorism both in a personal and individual level. This was the best way to portray that. The twist added depth to the movie. But there’s the other side of me that detested that. This is a comic book movie. After the Avengers, all sense of realism disappeared from MCU. I wanted a villain connected to the Avengers. I imagined the Mandarin to be an ordinary man that finds alien tech after the events in New York. I wanted him to have his Ten Rings and as an avid reader of the Iron Man comics, I wanted the world to see the Mandarin that we know in the comics. I wanted that epic showdown between Iron Man and the Mandarin. But instead, he was a fake. In addition, the Mandarin that was in the first half of the movie was great. He could still have been left as the villain that Kevin Feige originally described. He could have been this ruthless villain that could be fleshed out in the upcoming Iron Man movies, if there are any. Furthermore, I was excited at the concept of this movie connecting to the first Iron Man film. Tony Stark was kidnapped by the terrorist organization called the Ten Rings. The Mandarin has ten rings. But instead nothing. We didn’t get one flashback to the original film. That was also very disappointing. And the last part made me angry. Why would they remove his arc reactor? It made the whole franchise a joke. If it was that easy to take off the the shards of metal in his chest, he should have done it in the first movie. We get that he’s Iron Man but that arc reactor made him Iron Man. That sense of danger that if you take it out, it will kill him made him Iron Man. I was pissed off about that.
Anyways, Pepper Potts played a bigger role in this movie. She was great in it and I love how she was more than a damsel in distress. She still is but she got to kick ass in this movie which I liked. I don’t understand however why Aldrick Killian kidnapped her. Yes he’s infatuated with her and he did it to have leverage on Tony Stark. But why kidnap someone and then make them as strong as you. Anyways, I loved the relationship between Tony Stark and Pepper Potts. She keeps him grounded and with a movie like Iron Man, you have to have some normal ground and she tries to keep him leveled.
James Rhodes changed his persona from War Machine to Iron Patriot. To me, it’s all the same. But Rhodey actually go to do more stuff in this movie as well. He has some great action scenes and Don Cheadle is great as James Rhodes.
Maya Hansen was a great addition but very underused. I wished we had a little more background information on who she was and the process of developing the Extremis virus to develop a deeper understanding on the subject. Rebecca Hall plays her nicely but only wished she had more screentime.
This was probably the best movie Robert Downey Jr has played Tony Stark. The emotions that he portrays through his face was great. His PTSD storyline was outstanding. I loved that he was bothered by the Avengers. That falling out of a wormhole to his near death really impacted him and it showed. Downey really embodies that character now. In fact, it’s often hard to separate him from the character.
It might be seen from this review that I didn’t like the movie at all. No in fact I loved this movie. I just didn’t like some of the elements in the film. I loved seeing Tony Stark back in action and it was an enjoyable film. There were some things I would have changed but overall, It was a very good movie. It was a great start to the summer season and I will be watching it again in the big screen. Now that I already know what happens in the movie especially with the big twist, I imagine I will like this movie more than before as I can enjoy this movie for what it was. I do hope Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Iron Man. But I’m not going to cry if there isn’t another one. If there is another one, I do hope Jon Favreau can come back. This is his franchise and with enough time and a good budget, I think he can get this film back to the greatness of the first Iron Man. The ending felt very much like the end, even the credits signaled an end to the franchise. By the way, the score for this film was very good. Brian Tyler did a great job and I can’t stop listening to it.
Since this was a Shane Black film, I looked for any similarities to the Lethal Weapon franchise. This is some of the similarities I found.
The Falling House (Lethal Weapon 2)
A Flametrail (Lethal Weapon 3)
Infiltrating A Dock Yard With Guns (Lethal Weapon 2)
PTSD/ Can’t Sleep (Lethal Weapon 1)
Christmas (Lethal Weapon 1)
Gunfight in a Christmas Tree Lot (Lethal Weapon 1)
Helicopter Assault on House (Lethal Weapon 1 and 2)
Stan Lee’s cameo was very short but also very cute. Not one of his best ones but he’s always a joy to watch.
I wish there were two after credits scenes that maybe had more Avengers. Mark Ruffalo was great as Bruce Banner but I would have wanted the whole gang back and maybe a scene connected to Thor: The Dark World.
Kevin Feige stated that there are several little things in the movie that connects to the other movies and to the Avengers 2. It’s hard to see it right now but as we see more of Phase 2 (Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier), it will be seen more clearly. Hopefully that’s true.