Director: Shane Black
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gywneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley
Series: Iron Man/ Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Two
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Length: 130 Minutes
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With that being said about third film’s in superhero trilogies, and the previous Iron Man film being the pointless overinflated action flick that it was, my expectations for Iron Man 3 were very low. Maybe my low expectations allowed me to enjoy this film more than it warranted, but I can safely say this film is far better than the second Iron Man. As for being the third film in a trilogy, it’s probably the second best trilogy concluding film in a super hero series with the exception of course of Dark Knight Rises. Although in terms of quality, Iron Man 3 is no where near as good as Dark Knight Rises.
Overall, Iron Man 3 looks to bring closure to one of Marvel’s most profitable film franchises, and it largely does, but Iron Man 3 is far from perfect.
Tony Stark has to deal with the after effects of the Extra Terrestrial invasion from The Avengers movie where he was sucked into a wormhole. Since then he has had a difficult time sleeping and has become prone to anxiety attacks. This causes to him start up a number of Iron Man suit designing projects, while simultaneously putting stress on his relationship with Pepper Potts.
While Tony is distracted with his projects, a terrorist named Mandarin has been committing a string of bombings while leaving behind no forensic evidence. The terrorist plots eventually draw Tony back into his guise as Iron Man as he begins to uncover an unethical government experiment called Extremis.
Iron Man 3 does a good job of not just randomly adding action sequences like the previous film did (You know, that pointless car racing scene). The plot flows logically enough for a superhero film, or at least logically enough to where you can look past some of the smaller inconsistencies that this genre of filmmaking traditionally brings to the table.
The biggest problem with this film is the lack of emotional engagement brought on by the story. Pepper Potts was invaluable to Tony Stark in the first film, in the third film he seems to be doing just fine without her. The film seems to realize that it’s lacking in connecting its audience with the Stark-Potts relationship, so they insert a few scenes where Tony tells her that he cares about her and that she is invaluable to him.
The problem is we’re never given any good reasons for why he cares for Pepper Potts, with the exception of a few scenes where Tony tells Pepper how much he needs her. On the other end of the relationship spectrum, audiences are never given any reason for why Pepper Potts should care so much about Tony Stark. This relationship which worked so well in the first film, is now a former shell of itself. It has become grandiose display of romantic cliches, and its very disappointing to see this once promising relationship arc come to this.
As far as humor is concerned, Iron Man 3 appears to take a page out of the Bad Santa playbook. Most of the most diabolical humor in Bad Santa is centered around Billy Bob Thornton taking advantage of a young fat kid. Iron Man 3 does the same with Tony Stark and a newly introduced precocious ten year old boy that aids Tony. Although some moments of this relationship are entertaining, as it combines the cynical Stark with the naive child, a lot of it ends up falling flat. Recurring jokes in the trilogy centered around Stark and J.A.R.V.I.S. also seem to have run their course, this time around, the humor between man and machine does not have the same flair that it used to.
The strongest point the film seems to yield is the threat to Iron Man by the terrorist organization that is opposing him. After The Avengers, which felt like a competition to see which superhero could kick the most ass, Iron Man 3 seems to bring some very real threats to the survival of Tony and his loved ones. These threats are enough to see the film’s plot through to the end, and they should at least keep an audience entertained.