Review: Iron Man 3
It feels like it has been a really long time since The Avengers dominated box offices everywhere a year ago. A lot has happened since then, but one things remains. Robert Downey Jr. is delivers the best performance time and time again as a comic book superhero known and loved by many. It is widely known that his contract with Marvel is up after this film but I would also say it is incredibly hard to think about Tony Stark being in the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe without Robert Downey Jr playing the part. He has carried this bold endeavor set out by the Marvel bigwigs and Kevin Feige. As for the actual movie though, this film sets up what is known as "Phase Two" of the universe. This film stands as the set up that will end with The Avengers 2. It does a good job of showing how the events of The Avengers had changed Tony, but as far as setting up the next phase, that remains to be seen. The only big thing that stands out would be the introduction of Advanced Ideas Mechanics, also known as A.I.M. (Yes, Marvel likes acronyms) A.I.M. in the comics, were a group of intelligent scientists that dedicated their lives to the acquisition of power and to overthrow all of the political powers by technological means. They had major villains like M.O.D.O.K, which is largely rumored as a villain in Captain America: Winter Solider. Now, back to the actual movie at hand.
The film starts off with a flashback to Tony's time before being Iron Man in which he met two talented scientists named Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) and Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). Tony, at the time, was romantic with Maya but Killian wanted Tony's attention to help jump start his career and his ideas. Tony disregards Killian completely as all he wanted was a little female companionship for the night. Fast forward back to present time and we see a bit more of a reclusive Tony, which is something completely new. The events that transpired in New York as Tony and the Avengers faced off against Loki's army had changed him. It has made him anxious and above all else protective of Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow). Tony is a changed man and he can't sleep because all he wants to do is sit in his basement and tinker with his armors so that he cannot be thrown off guard by whatever is coming next. This causes a bit of a rift between he and the people close to him. He no longer sees Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) and it leaves Pepper feeling neglected. Pepper, meanwhile, has been doing an admirable job running Stark Industries and surprisingly gets visited by a much different looking Aldrich Killian. Killian offers Stark Industries a place alongside him among his company, A.I.M., as he had created an experimental regenerative treatment that allows recovery from crippling injuries. Peeper is intrigued by the idea, but she feels it can be weaponized so she declines. Meanwhile, Tony gets wind of bombings around the world led by a man known as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). After a bombing that hits a bit too close to home, Tony decides to take things into his own hands and tells the Mandarin to come after him. With an experimental new suit on, he valiantly fights off the Mandarin's forces but his mansion is destroyed, and the world believes Tony Stark to be dead.
Tony of course survives the attack only to find himself in Tennessee all alone with a destroyed armor. This forces him to go back to the bare bones and do what he knows best. It very much goes back to his days in Iron Man 1 when he was stuck in a cave facing certain death. Except, now he knows that the imminent threat he is faced with is a personal one that could affect the entire world on a grand scale. He uses his skills to rebuild the armor, but also he begins to look into Extremis and the Mandarin. This leads to some terrifying discoveries as he and his best friend James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) take matters into their own hands to make things right against a powerful enemy.
It is very much an entertaining film and new director Shane Black shines with his expertise in telling a story with a bit of a comedic overtone. It helps that Black is familiar working with Downey as the two previous had worked on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Even more impressive is Black's action sequences in the film, which were all very impressive. Another thing the film addressed from the previous Marvel films is the question that Captain America proposed to Tony Stark in the Avengers when he asked, "Big man in a suit of armor, take that a way and what are you?" This movie answered that question in a big way as we hardly see Tony in the suit. Instead of using the suit, he uses his brain, which is his strongest weapon. He also shows that he is a capable fighter in hand to hand fights. Of course, the Iron Man purists will not appreciate the twist involving the main villain in the film, but if you take a step back and look at the full product then you realize that they really did a fantastic job. My gripes with the film revolve around the incredibly rushed ending that could have certainly used more screen time as everything was resolved entirely too quickly. This is a solid start to the second phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I will also say that I am surprised at the lack of easter eggs that fans have become used to in previous films.