After the huge hype for Marvel Studios’ last instalment, The Avengers, which definitely lived up to the hype and more, it was time to start phase 2 of the comic book series. Living up to The Avengers was possibly going to be the most difficult thing to do ever in terms of sequels etc as Joss Whedon had spoilt us with his perfection. Iron Man 3 is Marvel’s first attempt.
The story of Iron Man 3 continues with the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, aka Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) and life after New York (The Avengers). Unlike his other battles from the previous Iron Man films, this time, the battle of New York had really taken a toll on Stark, forcing him to suffer from panic attacks just from anyone mentioning New York. Struggling with the reality, his concrete place in the super hero community and lack of sleep, his main priority is in his obsessive tinkering with new suits rather than the love of his life, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). His excuse to her is that he needs to protect her in everyway possible. Mentally scarred, Stark then has to deal with a new villain on the scene going by the name of The Manderin (Ben Kingsley), a mysterious terrorist targeting the citizens of the US and Iron Man. With a few hiccups on the path of being the hero for the fourth (ok maybe three and a half, or three and a sixth… have it your way) time round, Stark is forced to face his fears and prove that without the suit, he’s still the Iron Man.
With the absence of Jon Favreau in the directorial department, Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Last Kiss Goodnight) takes a stab at wearing the big old boots Favreau had been in for the past two instalments. To be totally honest, he didn’t do a bad job either! From the opening credits, you could tell straight away, it was a different director. Black’s repertoire usually consists of Christmas time and partnership and he definitely brought this to Iron Man 3, which was very different to its predecessors.
Although there wasn’t much of a reason for why the Avengers were not helping out when Stark was getting a right beating, except for the mere fact that it was an “American Thing”, his buddy and now sidekick War Machine, now known as the “Iron Patriot” (Don Cheadle) had more of a helping hand this time around, building on his own character. (Especially with the rumours that he will be in the next Avengers flick) So there was definitely some partner, bromance action involved which was very entertaining indeed. If you thought the “Iron Patriot” was a bit too much, wait ‘til you hear his username and password. But there were many references to the Avengers and what happened in New York; it was quite weird and confusing to why there was not even one person involved, especially because the films are supposed to be connecting. We know it’s an individual film, but it just didn’t add up right.
The great thing that Black did with this feature was that he kept the sarcasm, one liners and the superbly cocky personality of Stark where it belonged, however, we got to see another side to Stark. It had a more personal, realistic and serious angle to it. Involving a terrorist and highlighting the theme of patriotism that realistically the US are very serious about, gave Iron Man 3 a bit more of an edge to it rather than just accepting the fact that it’s a comic book adaptation. With Tony Stark, he usually has everything handed to him on a silver platter because of celebrity status, now he really had to work for it. Watching Stark work without his suit most of the time (even in some of the key battles) was very pleasing. We already know how the suit works and what is achievable with it from the past two films. Saying that, Mark 42 was hands down his best suit. Here, we get to see it in action, working not only as a full suit, but with the ability to work different parts without wearing the full gear. The audience will have a lot of fun with that suit, as much as Stark did.
Speaking of suits, if you’re a big fan of the Iron Man suits, it’s almost a certainty that you’ll enjoy all the Marks coming together to help out in the grand finale. The suits do get more screen time than ever before, even though they are not on Stark himself.
As said before, the Iron Patriot gets a lot more screen time too. His armour bares a similar resemblance to Captain America’s suit, so it felt like the US always needed a patriot as a symbol to look up to, quite like Captain America, but for the present. And this is what the Manderin had signed up for, to be merely a symbol.
In terms of villains, it was quite refreshing watching Stark fight against villains that didn’t have any metal on them. Ben Kingsley brought a barrel of laughs with his version of the Manderin. Don’t be too fooled by his criminal, dark exterior. They also threw in Guy Pierce into the mix as a geeky, yet determined vermin Aldrich Killian, with tendencies quite like Robert Patrick’s T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
Like the others, Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan also got quite a bit more screen time than usual. Potts was awesome, getting her groove on in the suit, and then turning into a crazy blonde version of Dr Jean Grey’s Phoenix. Although Favreau wasn’t directing, he did lend his hand at being an executive producer and building on his character/ body guard Hogan (with a mullet).
Built with loads of laughs, crazy action and awesome CGI/visual effects, Iron Man 3 was not a disappointment at all (though The Avengers is still number one). It’s also worth a 3D viewing.
4.5 out of 5 stars