Iron Man 3 Blasts Off
It's the man, not the machine
Marvel Studios Phase 1 was a resounding success. Beginning with Iron Man and ending with The Avengers, everything about it exceeded expectations. Now Marvel Studios has geared up to launch Phase 2 with the release of Iron Man 3.
Iron Man 3 sees the return of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. He is dealing with the stress and reality of what happened in The Avengers. The toll of being a man in a can against aliens and gods is weighing heavy on his shoulders. His struggles with overcoming what has happened have affected every aspect of his life. His relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is strained and he spends all his time building new suits. It’s not until a forgotten face from his past resurfaces that Tony is forced to confront his demons head on.
A new form of regenerative healing is introduced called Extremis. This technology is developed by Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) and funded by the founder of A.I.M. Aldrich Killian (Guy Pierce). Killian is using the Extremis as a tool to control the world. He plans to run both sides of war, the good and the bad. Meanwhile, Iron Man’s most legendary foe, The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) has made his presence felt and targeted Iron Man for destruction.
For much of the film, Stark is alone. He is forced away from his friends and without his armor. It’s as much a journey of discovery about the man Tony Stark is rather than the hero Tony Stark is. It’s the understanding of the man inside the machine that allows you to feel pain for Stark and his journey. When tony is ripped away from the suit, you remember who this man is and it is his mind that perhaps his most powerful weapon.
The film is multi-layered with not just a focus on Stark but those around him. Killian is well-rounded villain that is a sadistic as he is suave. When you first meet him, he is relatively unimposing; but his reintroduction shows what depths a man will sink to, as he put it, when he is desperate. We are also treated to a new side of Pepper Potts. This is a character that has evolved through four films now and is so much more than just a pretty face or love interest. She is the woman who matches Tony Stark move for move. There is even a lovely tease to Rescue through different moments for comic fans.
War Machine Rocks
There is also the return of Rhodey (Don Cheadle). This time War Machine is rebranded at Iron Patriot. You can tell Marvel had fun poking fun at the name. I guess since they can’t use the real Iron Patriot, Norman Osborn, they’ll get what they can from it. But Rhodey really does stand out during his scenes. He has also become a character that could stand alongside the Avengers in future battles and potentially his own solo film. We can to see that much like Stark, Rhodey is as skilled out of the suit as inside it.
The Strange Case of the Mandarin
The Mandarin is the talking point of the film among both comic fans and casual fans. It seems to be that many comic book fans are rather upset over the Mandarin’s portrayal in the film. But casual fans understand the twist and believe it works. For me, I’m on the fence. I understand why the twist happened and while I will not spoil it, it will leave you talking. The Mandarin is the first real major change from the source material that Marvel has done with their films, but in this case, it may actually pay off.
The film features great acting. Downey, Paltrow, Cheadle, and Pierce deliver outstanding performances. They embody these characters and bring them to life like no one else can. Director Shane Black brings his sharp directing style to make this an exciting adventure. You get the same feel as Lethal Weapon or Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. His work o the script is obvious as you can pull out those classic Shane Black moments. The whole look and feel of the film is spot on for Iron Man. Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are sure to be in for a treat when they enter the theatre.
In the end, Iron Man 3 is an exceptional film. It delivers exactly what you could ask for out of a summer film. The movie delivers intense action, fun humor, and intelligent characters. It surpasses Iron Man 2 in every way and reaches the same level as the original film. The excitement is a nice follow up to The Avengers and gears you up for what Marvel has to come.