By Jonathan Kellam
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Directed by Shane Black
★★★ out of ★★★★
Robert Downy Jr – Tony Stark/Iron Man
Gwyneth Paltrow – Pepper Potts
Ben Kingsley – The Mandarin
Don Cheadle – James Rhodes/War Machine
Guy Pearce – Aldrich Killian
Rebecca Hall – Maya Hansen
For the fourth time (counting The Avengers) in just five years we are whisked away on an adventure with Tony Stark in Iron Man 3. This time around, Stark is targeted by an international terrorist known as the Mandarin, impeccably played by Sir Ben Kingsley. After the Mandarin’s forces threaten the lives of those he cares about and destroy his home, Stark goes on a quest for revenge that will not only bring him face-to-face with the Mandarin, but with his own personal demons.
In short, Iron Man 3 is pretty good…but not great. I loved the change of pace from the previous entries in the Marvel series. While there is plenty of action, Stark probably spends less than 20 minutes of screen time actually in the Iron Man suit. Instead of just being able to blast his way through everything, certain circumstances require him to resort to more creative methods. The movie has a lot going for it: the story has plenty of twists and turns, the visual effects are great and despite a slightly crowded cast, the acting is top-notch. My biggest complaint is actually with the dialogue. There is no question that Iron Man propelled Robert Downey Jr. back into stardom and that was because he was perfect in the role of Tony Stark. However, in this iteration, his character started to wear on me a little. There’s a lot of serious stuff happening in this movie; a few serious lines of dialogue would have been nice. The film badly needed a break from Stark’s endless quips and sarcasm. Also, most of the scenes featuring Happy Hogan, Stark’s former bodyguard, were like something out of a bad sitcom. Overall, the movie just had too much comic relief…or attempts at comic relief. Also, a small subplot dealing with Stark’s anxiety issues following the events of The Avengers should have been cut or better developed.
Despite my complaints with the dialogue, Robert Downey Jr. once again proves that this was a role he was born to play. I believe he is not only the anchor for the Iron Man series, but for the Marvel films in general. I highly suggest Marvel Studios pays him whatever he wants to keep him on board and considering his paycheck for The Avengers was $50,000,000, it looks like they are doing exactly that. It was nice to see Gwyneth Paltrow’s role as Pepper Potts finally get some meat on the bones. She is not only given increased screen time from the previous entries, but she is even involved in a few action sequences. Ben Kingsley steals the show as the Mandarin, but when is he not amazing? He is undeniably one of the greatest actors of our time. Oh, and if you’re ever looking for the perfect actor to play a smarmy, shadowy think tank manager, Guy Pearce is your guy. Props also should go to Don Cheadle and Rebecca Hall, although their roles were fairly small.
Audiences who enjoyed the previous Iron Man films and The Avengers will probably enjoy Iron Man 3, but I think most would agree with me that it is not the best in the series. I don’t want to see the Marvel movies go anywhere near as dark and gritty as Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, but I do feel like they are slowly starting to become just a little too silly and cartoony. This is a dangerous path. If you don’t believe me watch the older Batman series that culminated in the abominable Batman & Robin. Hopefully, I’m mistaken and we will have many more superhero films as enjoyable as this for years to come.
- There is a scene after the credits featuring another alumnus of the Avengers
- Jessica Chastain was originally cast as Maya Hansen, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts
- Iron Man creator Stan Lee has a cameo as a beauty pageant judge