Iron Man 3 (2013)
Tony Stark IS the Iron Man, and that is the heart and soul behind Iron Man 3 with a well-written vehicle driven by Director Shane Black to cement this into the hearts and souls of the viewers. It was a solid movie and the mouthwash needed for those who found the 2nd movie to be a forgivable hiccup in what is arguably the most popular of the Marvel comic to movie transitions.
Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Tony Stark – Billionaire genius, former playboy, and devoted lover to his secretary turned President of his company Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Comic Book fans are treated to a familiar foe in The Mandarin, and the villain is played by the legendary Sir Ben Kingsley. The Mandarin role could easily had been a stiff and one-dimensional one if played by the wrong actor but Kingsley brought about a memorable and comedic version of it that was one of the brighter shining points of the movie.
The other shining point was in little Harley Keener played by Ty Simpkins who is a boy who ran into Tony Stark and seemed very much a reflection of him in a cute and comedic way. Notice that I keep on saying comedic? Well Iron Man turned out to be that kind of movie, you are laughing at Downey Jr. in one scene and feeling sorry for him in the next.
Don Cheadle is back as Jim Rhodes – best friend, token black (I kid), and badass air force Colonel who happens to pilot the other suit of armor developed by Stark Industries – The War Machine. Cheadle is mostly out of the suit this time unlike Iron Man 2 but he is still an action hero without it and we get many scenes of him running, gunning, ripping and rolling. The entire battle of the final 30 minutes shows us a lot of Rhodey doing the damn thing for Tony Stark.
Finally – Every comic book needs a complicated character that is misunderstood, has good intentions go dark, and eventually transforms into a bad guy right? Well this is Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3, and he is played by one of the best heels in Hollywood – the type-casted Guy Pearce… a man we love to hate. Guy, like the rest of the cast is solid and when I say the cast I mean everyone including Jon Favreau – creator of the original Iron Man, who manages to get a lot of screen time in this one without it being a distraction. Not sure how he pulled this off (it would be like having George Lucas play a prominent Jedi in Star Wars), but dare I say Favreau’s role as the overly secure security guard Happy Hogan was one of my favorite things?
WTF is up with The Mandarin? – Sadly the racial climate of The United States and the world, plus quick-time, Twitter media forced us to get a very different take on The Mandarin. We have only ourselves to blame for this – along with this being a decision that nerds will complain about forever.
Political Agenda Much? – Iron Man 3 was beautiful but it was not perfect and I found that the bitch was in the details and the heavy weight of our real life political atmosphere eroding and corrupting the fantasy. The movie makes mention of a gas company who leaked a ton of oil off the coast of Pensacola, had scenes of “terrorists” in a Middle Eastern backdrop, and had inklings of political conspiracy theories littered about. Dear producers, we don’t want this shit in our comic book movies – it’s a worthless distraction.
Super Pepper Paltrow? – Girl power in full-effect despite it being another huge change from the comics… whatever, though it was a weird distraction.
Iron Man Y U No Ivincible? – The biggest gripe I had beyond the political jabs however had to be the Iron Man himself. The armor has always been lauded as “supreme”, “invincible”, “superior”, “remarkable”; hell the former 2 Iron Man movies showed just how amazing Stark’s technology is in making a flexible suit that can do just about anything. Yet it seems like all of that was thrown to the wind in this movie as the armor melts, breaks, cracks (look at the poster) and seems subpar. How did this happen? Did Stark swap out the metal he used in the former 2 movies for aluminum foil?
In the end it is the human stories and drama that made Iron Man 3 great and as we laughed when they listed off all of the artists involved in the CGI and special effects (it was a large white wall of numerous names in text), we had to acknowledge the writers because that is what made this a good movie overall.
The Iron Man will return and I would hope so in the way that this movie wraps; it would be nice to see Favreau directing the next one and fixing the annoying “Pepper Interference” that this movie had a tad too much of, but we have many more installments coming from Marvel before we see The Invincible Iron Man fly again.
Look, comic book fans are going to be super pissed off about the Mandarin, trust me, they will not look past it to acknowledge the good within this movie but this long-time Iron Man fan will look past it. For what it’s worth Iron Man 3 was excellent!