Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron Man 3Nothing’s been the same since New York. Having helped save the world from an angry God and his alien army by flying a nuclear missile into a wormhole, Tony Stark has–understandably–been finding it a little difficult to sleep. Spending his nights at work in the basement, he has created a new armour that assembles itself, the Mark 42. Unfortunately, this has had an impact on his relationship with girlfriend and CEO of Stark Enterprises Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), issues that are –again, understandably–exacerbated when he gives their home address to The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), a ten-ringed terrorist looking to teach America a lesson. The resultant attack leaves Stark disarmed in Tennessee,  Potts in danger and Col. James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) left to track down The Mandarin himself, as the newly star-spangled Iron Patriot.

At once the third film in the Iron Man series and the seventh instalment in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, kicking off Phase Two and directly following the events of last summer’s Avengers Assemble, the most remarkable thing about Iron Man 3 is that it feels like a standalone film. Opening with a flashback to 1999, the film tells a terrifically self-contained story with only the occasional reference to aliens, Gods and, even more vaguely, New York. While not in itself an issue, it nevertheless comes as something of a culture shock after four years spent spotting cameos and piecing  together clues as to the full extent of Marvel’s big picture.

Luckily, franchise-fresh director Shane Black tells a rollicking good story, one that sees Downey Jnr.’s Tony Stark once again cut off from his billions and forced to rely on his wits and intellect rather than the growing number of super-suits lining the laboratory of his Malibu mansion. Set during the festive season (a Black staple), the film is tonally reminiscent of the duo’s previous collaboration, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a screwball caper that sees an unlikely pair vying to solve a crime; in this case (intermittently): Stark and Happy/Stark and Harley/Stark and Rhodes trying to figure out the location and identity of techno-terrorist The Mandarin.

The performances across the board are top-notch, with Downey Jnr. once again stealing the show as the titular genius, playboy, billionaire, philanthropist. His history with Black helps, and together they take the character to some new and not always expected places. Cheadle’s great too, a beefed up actor in a beefed up part; coming into his own in the explosive finale as he too is forced to operate without the help of his armour, while Paltrow and Simpkin’s are surprisingly memorable in relatively unassuming roles. Inevitably, however, it’s Ben Kingsley who will be talk of the town for months to come after the films release, for reasons that I won’t go into too much detail here.

Unfortunately, the rest of the film’s villain’s are not quite so effective. Whereas previous director Jon Favreau’s choices invariably turned out to be just more men in suits, they at least felt inexorably linked to Stark’s Iron Man. Black has the opposite problem, instead employing firey super-soldiers that seem an odd match for our heroes. Guy Pearce and James Badge Dale are perfectly fine, but their characters lend an air of sillyness to the set pieces with abilities and motivations that are never adequately defined. Black may undercut these issues with humour, and often it undoubtedly works to paper over the cracks, but there is often the sense that he has thrown important and worthy material into the flames for the sake of a few good gags. Sticklers beware, Iron Man 3 is only loosely based on the Extremis comic book.

An incredibly strong outing for the character which, as seems to be Marvel’s intention, has a personality very much of its own, Iron Man 3 sets a high bar ahead of the summer season to come. Unfortunately, while you never necessarily miss the Avengers, it is still somewhat disappointing that Stark never does either. Nothing’s been the same since New York, but with the exception of a few nightmares and the occasional panic attack, it isn’t entirely clear how.

4-Stars

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

3 Responses to Iron Man 3 (2013)

  1. Erik says:

    Good review! It is indeed a decent blockbuster but somehow it is not really enough to be as good as Avengers.

  2. Pingback: April 2013 – You’re all going to die tonight | popcornaddict

  3. Pingback: Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) | popcornaddict

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