Review: Iron Man 3


The third, of fourth, installment of the Iron Man saga hit British screens this week and I was first in line…well, kinda.

Iron Man 3 sees Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr) suffering from anxiety attacks triggered by the bad dreams and lack of sleep he’s been suffering from since the events in New York after taking a nuclear warhead through a wormhole into another dimension, not to mention the alien army and Norse Gods being real. His erratic behaviour is driving a wedge between him and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) whose attentions are being diverted by an old colleague, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). Killian is attempting to persuade Pepper into funding his research into a virus called Extremis which can help heal wounds and signals the next step in human evolution after being snubbed years before by Stark. The flashback sequence at the start is interesting as an old face crops up and the scene plays out with Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Eiffel 65 playing in the background, which is a genius touch!

Meanwhile, a mysterious character calling himself The Mandarin (Ben Knigsley) has started taking responsibility for bombings in Bin Laden style leaked videos. Kingsley’s portrayal of the Mandarin is very much like his turn as The Hood in the woeful Thunderbirds film from a few years back. Now, The Mandarin is a big villain in the Iron Man comics and cartoons. but in this film, as the action unfolds there is a twist to his character that I won’t give away, but will divide the comic book audience and those that don’t know the mythology of  the character. That said, it’s interesting to see Kingsley play up to his public persona. Thanks all I’m gonna say!

After one of the explosions puts Stark’s ex-bodyguard, Happy, in a coma Stark issues a public challenge, giving away his home address, to The Mandarin, whose minions then destroy the house. This forces Stark to flee with a malfunctioning suit. Now, from here on in he barely uses the suit at all, he has to rely on his brains, it’s a bit like The Dark Knight Rises.

At this point he befriends a small boy, who seems to have no reason to be there at all, apart from to be the butt of a couple of quite nasty lines from Stark. He doesn’t even add any exposition to the plot, really. This was an odd choice from director, Shane Black, who directed Downey Jnr in Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang and is known for his snappy and sometimes quiet shocking dialogue. Also, the kid was obviously directed to keep wiping his nose, but this just became distracting after a while.

As usual there is the fast talking quippery of Downey Jnr but sometimes the humour jarred with the more serious and gritty nature of the Tony Stark plotline. Also, for a film called Iron Man 3 there wasn’t really a lot of Iron Man action and by the end where the multiple suits turn up for the final battle there were actually too many Iron Men to focus on. This is a shame because some of the suits looked amazing and had their own individual powers that it would have been interesting to have lingered on for more than a couple of seconds at a time.

I’m conflicted about this film, it’s certainly better than Iron Man 2, but nowhere near the first film. It’s interesting to see Downey Jnr play Tony Stark in a different way and to see the relationship between him and Pepper become more dramatic. But it was a shame that Iron Man wasn’t in it as much as in previous films. Also The Mandarin was badly handled from a comic geek perspective, however the vast majority of people found his character hilarious, and I have to say Kingsley gives a great performance that had me laughing. But I do think the character was wasted (in more ways than one!). However, I did really enjoy it. It’s really hard not to enjoy a film with such a great cast and such a charismatic lead actor.  I get the impression that this film needs a couple of watches to get into properly, but I’m sure it will be a worthy addition to the Marvel canon.


2 Responses to “Review: Iron Man 3”

  1. Iron Man 3 was brilliant mate, I loved the twist that came from our amazing villian, Stark was as entertaining as ever, I am going to miss the house, I wonder what the little boy’s role would be in the next chapter of this story…maybe a little Stark…who knows. Watch out for District 9 Director Neil Blomkamp’s new film, currently in post-production, see imdb for Elysium starring Jodie Foster and Matt Damon. Thanks for a great blog my friend, keep on blogging!

    • Cheers man, I wasn’t so impressed by the villain or the kid, but there’s no denying it was a pretty good film and RDJ is the backbone of the Marvel universe at the moment. I just hope he signs the contract.

      I’m looking forward to Elysium. It does look pretty spectacular. Am also looking forward to World War Z.

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