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An Honest Movie Review of Iron Man 3

Updated on June 8, 2013

Summer has arrived and that means summer movies are making their way to the box office. With the rising costs of movie tickets and a small amount of that oh-so-precious free time choosing a movie can be a daunting task. Lucky for you, I have already made one of your possible choices and am here to tell you, honestly, if Iron Man 3 is worth your time.

Keep in mind that this review will contain mild spoilers. Read on at your own risk.

Directed by Shane Black, most well-known for the movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,the third installment of the Iron Man movies hails the return of Robert Downey, JR. Gwyneth Paltrow, and Don Cheadle. It also stars Guy Pearce and Rebecca Hall as new characters in this film. This star-studded cast is believable and talented, bringing the characters to life and driving them home.

In keeping with the tradition of most trilogies, Iron Man 3 was better than Iron Man 2, but not quite as good as the first one. The movie begins with a flashback to a party in 1999. Here the viewer is introduced to two people Tony Stark influenced in his past, Maya Hansen and Aldrich Killian. Not shockingly, Mr. Stark is his typical, inconsiderate self. What is shocking is the lack of nineties fashion, haircuts, and computers in this pre-Y2K scene.

The movie then fast-forwards to the present day, some time after the events of the Avengers. (If you have not seen The Avengers, don’t worry. While events of the film are mentioned in briefly, you will still understand the plot of Iron Man 3 with no problems. All you need to know is that what happened in The Avengers was stressful for our protagonist.) Things are not as wonderful for Tony as they were in 1999. Tony is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder from events prior to the film (Remember, The Avengers were bad times for Tony Stark.) To deal with this, Tony spends his time constructing additional Iron Man suits and not sleeping. His obsession with building Iron Man suits is creating distance between him and Pepper Potts.

At the same time, a string of terrorist attacks are hitting the United States by a terrorist calling himself “The Mandarin.” Oddly enough, there is no evidence of what caused the bomb. When Happy Hogan, Tony Stark’s friend and employee, is injured in one of the bombings, Tony invites the Mandarin to attack him at his Miami home in a fit of rage. That evening, Maya Hansen resurfaces to warn Tony moments before his home is attacked by the Mandarin. The home is destroyed though Maya, Pepper, and Tony survive.

Tony escapes to Tennessee to investigate possible origins of the Mandarin. Here, with the help of a boy named Harley, Tony learns the real location of the terrorist and discovers that things might not be as straightforward as he thought.

The ending, though predictable, kept me on the edge of my seat. Nice use of foreshadowing makes the ending feel satisfying rather than contrived. The villain is effectively vanquished and Pepper gets her own chance to shine, which is refreshing to see in someone who started out as the love interest. And of course, stick around after the credits for a special, final scene featuring a special guest.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey, JR.
Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey, JR. | Source

Additionally, I will complain that this movie lacked female characters (which is a glaring issue with the media today), I will say that both characters of Pepper and Maya were reasonably developed. Pepper's characterization is better mostly because this is her third movie. And both female characters did not get close to the amount of screen time that Tony Stark, or even Aldrich Killian, did. Furthermore, they were the only named female characters that recurred.

I found it annoying that both of the women in the film were brought together because of their shared love of Tony Stark. Both women have slept with him, and both women wanted to protect him. I would have preferred that Tony and Maya had not slept together, but would have instead just been friends. Though one would argue that this would deviate from Tony's original characterization I would argue that we have solid proof that Tony Stark is a womanizer and one female character portrayed as a friend, and not a conquest, would not have removed that from our minds. Additionally, one might argue that Tony not sleeping with Maya would go against canon and I would reply that there have been other deviations from canon in the past, so this one more time should not be an issue.

Despite the overwhelming lack of female characters, we do get to see Pepper Potts have a strong moment at the end. Surprisingly, as well, this movie does pass the Bechdel Test, so it can't be all bad.

Overall, I found the movie easy to watch. The dialogue is snappy, the effects are brilliant, the action scenes don’t drag on, and there are minimal plot holes. I did find the inclusion of Harley a bit odd. He is not tied to the story in any profound way. Instead, he is slapped on top for a cute factor and touch of comic relief. That, and the awful suits warn by Aldrich Killian, were my biggest problems with the film.

If you’re looking for something cool to do this summer, Iron Man 3 is so much more than that. This movie is smart, fun, and will keep you on your toes. While it does not deal with any deep, emotional issues, this is a great superhero movie. Your time and ticket money will not be wasted on the third, and possibly final, film featuring the wit and adventure of Tony Stark.


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