It’s safe to say that Iron Man 3 is on this year’s must-see list for many audiences. A sequel to not only the previous two films in the franchise, but technically the first sequel to The Avengers and the start of Marvel’s Phase Two. Iron Man (2009) proved that comic book movies could be enjoyed by all sorts – perfecting the harmony of action and comedy while packing plenty of charm. The second installment may have lacked in more ways than one, but the third (and final) film of the Iron Man trilogy more than makes up for it by way of its wide-array of talented performers and superb script. Films that have a “3” in the title generally disappoint, but rest assured, Iron Man 3 is quite the exception.
Having established all of the key characters through other films, it’s easy to jump right into the story with little to no set-up. Tony Stark is giving us a monologue of reflection. He’s troubled these days. Can’t sleep at night. He is constantly in his studio tinkering with new variants of his armored suit – now Mark (Suit) 42.
But there is a new terrorist threat, The Mandarin (Ben kingsley), and after his best friend/bodyguard is hospitalized by one of their attacks, Tony Stark publically states his plan for revenge. Somehow this manages to backfire – remember this is still in the first act – and Stark’s house is attacked, almost killing him and Pepper Potts (his love). It is now up to Tony Stark and Iron Man to find out what is connecting these attacks and why an all-to-clever old friend, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), might be working with The Mandarin.
Now that Tony Stark has saved the world several times over, including the aliens that nearly destroyed Manhattan in The Avengers, his time as a superhero is beginning to take its toll. If it’s not a nightmare bringing him back that day in New York, it’s the panic attacks when he’s awake. Unlike Thor, Hulk, or even Captain America, there’s really not much “super” about Tony Stark.
He’s a billionaire-genius who is really great at inventing things. Sure, he stood up to evil and injustice, but it seems that the moment one threat is stopped, a stronger one is just around the corner. It could be time for him to hang up the armor and concentrate on what matters most to him, Pepper Potts. Years after he first suited up, he’s done a lot of good, but to him the best thing he’s done is loved her. Throughout Iron Man 3, he is faced with an uncertain future and what it means to be a hero, and now that the people know there are more heroes out there to protect them, it might be the right time for Stark to step away.
Robert Downey Jr. once again delivers a top-notch performance as the quick-talking, quick-witted Tony Stark/Iron Man. If this is really his last film with character, he has left his mark on the franchise and all the comic book movies to come. Ben Kingsley, as The Mandarin, offers an excellent take on quite a unique villain that won’t be forgotten any time soon. And Guy Pearce proves once again that he is a force to be reckoned with, as an actor and a sleaze-ball of a character. As for the ones behind the camera, Shane Black and Drew Pearce contributed a damn-near perfect script. With a well paced story and a gut-busting laughs placed well throughout, the film plays like a late 80’s, 90’s action film. Much like a Shane Black film, actually. And the best part is its unpredictability.
I know that what I write about here will have no effect on whether you see this film or not. It’s just one of those films that nearly everybody will see eventually, because it’s THAT big. It’s also THAT good. Comic book movies may or may not be just a fad, but what Marvel is doing is definitely making an impact. This is their finest effort yet, and while it may be hard to top, I really hope they do. But seriously, its going to be an extremely difficult task.
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