The first major summer blockbuster and the first film post-Avengers from the widely acclaimed Marvel series that is going on, Iron Man 3 had a tough order to fill. Even though Iron Man and the continuing story of Tony Stark is arguably the most popular of the Avengers franchise it is easy to see how this film could hit rock bottom and hard.
I kept this in mind when I went to the theater with my friends this past weekend and was ready to expect an awesome Superhero Blockbuster like the first Iron Man film… and I was also ready to expect a painful atrocity the levels of Ryan Reynold’s shit picture Green Lantern.
After it was all said and done, the credits were rolling, and I was standing in the aisle waiting for the post credits clip that the films had become known for I have to say that I was thoroughly satisfied.
Iron Man 3 is a very intelligent sequel to the Avengers that does everything that a sequel is suppose to do. It continues the narrative. I was quite surprised. After seeing the Avengers I thought that that was going to be the peak for the franchise and the films after it would do nothing but attempt to recreate the magic that the earlier films had. But if Iron Man 3 is any sign of things to come then we are looking at a very exciting future.
The Film Takes a Minamalistic Approach
It is needless to say that the Avengers raised the bar on superhero films. It was one of the first times that we saw a group of what were once seemly different film franchises come together in one big epic classic that might not be an Academy Awards generator but creates a film that will be loved for years to come and shown to our children and our children’s children and so forth.
The Avengers was big, loud, and exciting. Sure it had its flaws but a flawless film only comes around once in a blue moon so we really can’t fault it too much there.
But you can see where a lot of filmmakers would feel the pressure from the public. Where do you go after you hit the roof? Do you try to break through the roof? Go beyond it? Iron Man 3 says ‘No.’ we are not going to try to break through the roof. That is what the next Avengers film is for. No we are going to make our own film and continue to the Tony Stark/Iron Man narrative within the Marvel Universe that was created around it. The whole film centers around Stark with several nods to the universe at large and even shows the negatives effects that the events in the Avengers is effecting Stark. It is a Superhero film make no mistake and they do raise the stakes at least in the Iron Man universe by bringing in Iron Man’s archenemy The Mandarin.
It is big in Iron Man’s world but in the grand scheme of things it is a step down from the Avengers aliens attempting to annihilate the world. It is so easy to see how producers would want to keep one upping themselves and saying ‘The Avengers did this, now we have to do THIS or else people will stop watching.” Instead cooler heads prevailed and they said. “No. We can make our own story and people will want to watch it… Because it is fucking Iron Man. Let Iron Man stand on his own.” They decided not to go bigger and in the end it pays off. It brought everyone back down and gives Thor, Hulk, and so forth to build from there eventually culminating to the next Avengers film.
The Battle Between Biology and Technology
This was a long time coming and I am really glad they finally tackled it. I noticed it during the film but it was my friend Matt who really made a great argument for how much the film really plays off on the Biology vs. Technology of Iron Man… Which at the end of the day is almost the central theme of the entire character. How much of Iron Man is just a guy in a suit and how much is Tony Stark’s ingenuity?
Better than the first two films, I think this film does a great job of showing why the Iron Man suit is best used in Tony Stark’s hands by actually denying Tony Stark access to the suit through the majority of the film. Tony has his gadgets make no mistake about that but for most of the time Tony really needs his wits more than anything to take on these foes. It really goes to show that yes the suit is a VERY powerful weapon but it isn’t everything. Tony’s ingenuity is what makes him stand out as the best Iron Man candidate. Not only that it showcases how strong Tony is WITHOUT the suit and that he can hold is own without it.
It brings a lot more to the character that he is not just a guy in a suit. He is a smart, ultra intelligent character, who can fight just as well with the suit as without the suit.
Tony Stark’s Anxiety
I love this about the film. Due to the events of the Avengers Tony Stark is actually suffering anxiety attacks from the fact that… Well his whole fucking world has been turned upside down. Aliens and Norse Gods exist. How would you feel if you were just some guy in a suit and all the sudden you not only learn that aliens and Gods are very real things but you have to fight them for the good of the Earth? How many of us would just shake that off as ‘fuck it no big deal’?!
The whole events of Avengers has a negative effect on the Stark character and adds more dimensions to Tony Stark. It is good to see that in new Superhero movies there is actually a focus on… Well the heroes as living breathing people who do suffer the problems of us ‘mere mortals’. At the end of the day Tony Stark all be it a genius, physically fit, and the owner of an ‘army’ of Iron Man suits… He is still just a human being and does suffer from human problems like anxiety attacks.
(WARNING The following part contains MAJOR SPOILERS!!! If you do not want to read SPOILERS then continue on to the next section. You have been warned.)
This has been a major talking point of the film as of late and it is easy to see why. You see as all of the trailers and previews has lead us to believe, Iron Man’s archenemy The Mandarin is supposedly played by Ben Kingsley. However… It is revealed in the second act that Kingsley’s The Mandarin is actually an Australian actor and habitual addict named Trevor and the real Mandarin is in fact named Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). Granted it is later revealed that Killian has the trademark tattoos of the Mandarin on his chest but after sitting through a good 2/3 of the film expecting Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark vs. Ben Kingsley’s The Mandarin it did feel VERY disappointing to see that the Mandarin that actually did a good job tricking the audience as well as the public in the Iron Man universe is in fact this Aldrich Killian character.
It didn’t help that most people in the audience felt a sense of… ‘betrayal’ from this… Though I do think betrayal is a bit of a harsh word. I think the problem is that Ben Kingsley is simply a better actor than Guy Pearce and created a more likable version of the Mandarin the Killian’s character portrayed.
And nothing against Pearce. Both Pearce and Kingsley give fantastic performances but compared to a deranged terrorist that Kingsley’s Mandarin portrayed and Killian’s act in the shadows, create super soldiers, and take over the world through the Vice President… Kingsley’s just seemed more fun, more… Well Super Villain than Pearce’s character portrayed.
It was a risk and I applaud Iron Man 3 for making the risk… Though it makes sense why a lot of people would act negative to the reveal. If the casting was a little different it might have been a bit more well received. I just don’t think it was the best executed twist.
Stark’s Challenge to the Terrorists
This happened early in the film and was meant to set up a cool scene where the terrorists destroy Stark’s estate and leave him in a tool shed in Tennessee… But really I do not like how it went down. After another Mandarin attack Tony Stark lays down a direct challenge to the terrorists giving away his address to the entire world with a statement of ‘Come at me bro’ attached to it.
The terrorist… Being terrorists take the challenge and absolutely rape his household with helicopters armed with enough missiles to turn the whole complex into dust.
Tony Stark… The world famous Iron Man with millions if not billions of fans gave his address to the entire world and told terrorists to come at him in his home.
Granted during this whole scene Pepper is of course in the house and thus immediately put at risk by Tony’s plan. But not only Pepper but everyone who now knows Tony Stark and wants to get a sneak peak at him and his life could travel to that house at any moment. In a way… Tony Stark put millions of peoples lives at risk because he didn’t know how to deal with the grief of his old friend being put in the hospital.
I understand Stark is upset and by all means has every right to be. But I think there might be an easier way to challenge a terrorist then putting everyone else’s lives at risk as well.
After the dust clears Iron Man 3 is going to go down as one of the better Superhero films of all time. It might not be the best and it probably will not be the most memorable (for better or worse) but it is a solid film, with a solid premise, solid characters, and approaches the superhero film in a smart and creative way.
The shocking twist did not go over well and some of Stark’s motives and decisions are questionable to say the least but these are just small hiccups in a very good action film.
Final Score: 3.5/5
Another review finished. As always if you liked this review please like and subscribe for more and please go to the Contact Me page to give me feedback for more reviews.
Come back this Saturday for my review of Baz Luhrrman’s recent film The Great Gatsby. Until then thank you for reading.