Note: Huge spoilers contained within, do not read until you’ve watched the film.
So Tony Stark just helped The Avengers peel the shit stains off New York City. He had a life-altering experience in another universe when that wormhole nearly swallowed him, and now he’s back, and a changed man, having panic attacks like he’s Tony Soprano or something.
In the epic third installment of Iron Man, our hero faces off with a fearsome terrorist known as The Mandarin, (seemingly) portrayed by the formidable Ben Kingsley. The plot takes a dark twist as we discover that things are not quite as they seem when a part of Tony’s past comes back to haunt him.
The film has its signature Macgyver- like tendency of portraying Tony’s ingenuity with minimal resources. Iron Man 3 beautifully takes this notion to a new level as our hero literally loses it all very early on.
Conceptually, Iron Man 3 is a brilliant film with rich themes and commentary, but I must say that it felt like the narrative was highly disjointed in setting, and subsequently with regard to character relationships.
With the exception of Harley and Tony, none of the main characters are in a single location for long enough to develop meaningful connections and multiple arcs within the greater plot. The extenuated cynical back-and-forth Tony has with the kid in a completely isolated setting is probably the best dialogue in the film- not counting Stark’s epic conversations with J.A.R.V.I.S.
The first Iron Man film had the perfect balance of action, drama and the mocking chit-chat we’ve come to expect from Robert Downey Jr. in most of his film roles. Iron Man 2 overdid the action and had a very Michael Bay-ish feel: a sure popcorn movie.
Now, Iron Man 3 is here and I get the feeling that the writers, Drew Pearce and (director) Shane Black, had to deal with the pressure of striking a balance and portraying two Starks: A changed man since New York’s shit storm in The Avengers, and- compensating for this- the Starkastic (see what I did there?) cynic that we all love to listen to.
Iron Man 3 has the sense of deliberately understating itself by toning down the action and making a mere man out of The Iron Man. He spends 75% of the time out of the suit anyway, and gets to the bottom of his emotional strife, blurting our his feelings to Miss Potts in the first half hour- a point Marvel characters are known to take 3 full movies to get to.
In terms of other main characters: moments into the film, when Tony rejects the geeky Aldrich Killian in the elevator- played by the talented Guy Pearce- I turned to my friend and said “there’s our super- villain”. This was slightly too predictable, however Pearce’s performance was entertainingly suave.
When the film started I had the hope that Pepper Potts, played by the stunning Gwyneth Paltrow, would have more screen time. Even though her role was highly significant in the film’s climax, I wanted to see more of her banter with Tony and perhaps developing independently as well.
I also would have loved to have seen an extensive choreographed scene with Don Cheadle’s Iron Patriot and Tony Starks’ Iron Man, but alas there was no time for these trivialities.
Now, I won’t get into how Iron Man 3 provides quite a deep and poetic political commentary on how the image of terror is constructed and presented as reality by those who truly hold the power, but .. oh crap I just got into that.
I digress, I really enjoyed this movie, but I feel like the hype about It was just that… hype. I wasn’t blown away by the film but found myself very excited when the Easter-egg conversation between Tony Stark and Bruce Banner shows up after all the credits roll.
I think I prefer Tony Stark’s place in The Avengers now, as the character seems to not feel compelled to keep up a front when he’s with that crew. I guess I just miss the playboy that was Tony Stark in the first installment of the Iron Man movie franchise.
Notable performances: The most significantly insignificant role was played by Ben Kingsley. A remarkable performance that I appreciated so much that I wished he was the true villain- although not dressed liked that.
Furthermore, Ty Simpkins has earned his place on my watch list after his masterful performance next to the artist RDJ, although this can be expected after how Simpkins managed to be that creepy in Insidious.
Favourite quotes: “Dads leave, no need to be a p***y about it” – Tony Stark.
Trivia: Jude Law was considered for the role of Aldrich Killian.
About the author: Stephen is co-founder of BTG Lifestyle, and an aspiring filmmaker who often appears to be bashing films in reviews, even when he likes the film. What’s wrong with him?! Urgh!