Iron Man 3 review
As I have mentioned in my Spiderman and Dark Knight Rises review, I am a big comic book fan. Behind Spiderman, Iron Man is my favorite. I love the suit, the action and Tony Stark is just awesome. I've read alot of Iron Man, including the story that this movie is...loosely based off of, Extremis. So, it pains me to write this review.
Iron Man 3 is the first superhero movie from Marvel's exclusive movies (Fox has X-men, Sony has Spiderman) to come out after The Avengers. Considering that The Avengers is now the pinnacle of superhero movies and action movies, Iron Man 3 had some pretty big shoes to fill. John Favreau, the director of the first 2 movies, has given the reigns to Shane Black, director of the Lethal Weapon movies and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Which starred Robert Downey Jr. aka Tony Stark.) So how does Shane do with one of the most successful franchise of the current generation? The iron....has rusted.
WARNING, there will be some spoilers ahead. I will mark the paragraphs with spoilers with this: *****. Just a forewarning.
The story centers around Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., contemplating everything. His role as Iron Man, his relationship with Pepper Potts, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, the events of The Avengers and so on and so forth. Meanwhile, a terroist named the Mandarin is declaring threats on U.S. soil and killing thousands of people. Also, Aldrich Killian, a scientist Tony met years ago and played by Guy Pearce, shows up with a new technology called Extremis that can heal people and make them stronger. But it turns out that Killian has other plans with Extremis. So it is up to Iron Man, alongside Rhodey, played by Don Cheadle, to stop the Mandarin, shut down Killian and save the world.
I'll start with what was good, because that won't take too long. Robert Downey Jr. delivers another amazing and memorable performance as Tony Stark. RDJ is always on the ball, hysterical, heroic and in my opinion is one of the best character portrayals in years. I cannot brag enough about RDJ's acting chops and how he always delivers a perfect book-to-screen interprentation of Tony Stark, sometimes even better than the comic books. The rest of the cast is a mixed bunch. I was never crazy about Gwyneth Paltrow as pepper Potts. I don't think she is that great, but she gets a couple of laughs in this movie, and some will defend her actions later in the film, but I thought it was ridiculously dumb. Don Cheadle as Rhodey gets a more diminished role in this movie as the Iron Patriot. As Iron Patriot, I don't think he had any action sequences. He mainly stood around in the suit not doing much....but more on that later. Also, more on Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin later. Guy Pearce was bad, I'm sorry but he just was not that great. He was a generic villain with a generic motive and was a big let down. I really miss Obediah Stane from the first movie... Also, the little boy that Tony meets up with in the movie was ok, I wasn't nuts about him, but he got some laughs.
The other good thing about this movie is the action. There are some great action pieces in this movie. What the CGI can do with the Iron Man suits is phenomenal and awesome to witness. It doesn't come close to touching The Avengers, but it's pretty good by regular action movie standards. The highlight being a sequence where Tony only has his right Iron Man gauntlet and left Iron Man boot on. It is really cool and unique. Great action scene. I would also like to note that the scene where the people are falling from a plane and Iron Man is saving them from falling, was real. There was no green screen. The only think added was the CG to depict the Iron Man suit. Everything was done by real, professional sky divers, that is really impressive.
Now begins the bad, alot of this will come from differences and changes from Iron Man's comic book mythos, but I think it is warranted if Harry Potter and LoTR fans can make their book comparisons.
*****Rhodey as the Iron Patriot was a laugh. The original Iron Patriot was a villain that shut down SHIELD and put Tony Stark into a coma, not a re-skin for War Machine because it was more "American friendly." There were alot of moments like that, that just catered to what I like to call, the "YEA 'MERICA" moments. These are moments of excessive and sometimes silly uses of American flags or just catering to..American ideals. This started after the events of 9/11, and it began in the first Spiderman movie. The film ended with Spidey in front of an American flag. At the time, that sense of American pride was needed and frankly admirable. Here we are in 2013 and it is cheesy. The worst moment was putting the President in the Iron Patriot armor. By the way, I love how Tony said at the beginning of the movie that only Rhodey could wear Iron Patriot, then suddenly Killian's company made edits and everybody could wear the suit. Very annoying.
*****Then there is the decisions made by Tony throughout this movie, and some of the things involving his character. This is no fault of RDJ, this is Shane Balck's writing of Tony that is at fault. It is established early in the movie and throughout that Tony has developed a stress disorder from the events in The Avengers. This is a completely new concept that goes nowhere. Then, on national tv, Tony calls out the Mandarin and gives him his home address to come find him. That is one of the stupidest and most out of character moments I've ever seen. Tony Stark is a genius and a brilliant strategist. This makes no sense that he would be so ignorant and stupid. There is a fine line between heat of the moment and unbelieveable, this was unbelieveable. Tony's interaction with the little boy in the middle of the film was severely harsh. We have known Tony to not always be a nice guy, but this was down right rotten, and again, out of character. Lastly, the climax. Tony does not defeat the villain or learn anything from this movie. He claims that his goal in life is to protect Pepper. So he leaves her alone and vulnerable to hunt down the Mandarin, allowing her to get captured by Killian and can't save Pepper from becoming an Extremis filled Pepper. Then after the final fight, he blows up his entire collection of Iron Man suits so he can move on. ......WHAT?! That is completely bonkers!!! Why on God's green Earth is THAT a good idea!!!??? He is confirmed for Avengers 2, and at the end of the credits it says that "Tony Stark will return." If Marvel is actually getting rid of Iron Man in the Marvel cinematic universe, then they are fools. This was a ridiculous move that Tony never did in the comics and, once again, seems very out of character. Iron Man, as he claimed, was a shell hiding him and containing who he really should be. In the books, this metaphor was used that the suits contained Tony from facing his struggle as an alcoholic. That was a believable and emotionally engaging moment in Tony's life. This resolution at the end of Iron Man 3 was just bad. And Pepper beat Killian, frickin Pepper saved the day and Tony learned nothing. I remember my fiance leaning over and asking "Really?" It was just a bad finale to this movie.
****speaking of bad finales, the Iron Army. Oh man I was so excited for this. When we got the Iron Man 3 trailer showing off that Tony would have his entire collection of Iron Man suits fly in to help him save the day, I was excited. I couldn't way to see all of thse suits. Around 34 new suits we have never seen. For the most part, it stayed that way. We saw maybe 6 of those suits, while the others flew around with no detail shown because the fight took place at night. Nice cop-out Mr.Black. This is more of a fan gripe than complaint, but it is still dissapointing.
****lastly, the most tragic part of this movie...The Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley. Now, Kingsley is a great actor, he was Ghandi for crying out loud. But this portayal of the Mandarin was a travesty that I will not spoil here. The Mandarin in the comics was Tony's most feared, memorable and powerful archenemy. He was the leader of the 10 rings terrorist group, who appeared in the first Iron Man. What they did to him in this movie was a joke, and the worst interpretation of a comic book character since Batman and Robin. Some will defend the decision, including my old roomate and director Shane Black. They say it is a unique interpretation, speaking vibes of terrorism nowadays and trying to send a powerful political message. Well I disagree with alot of that and no Iron Man fan I've talked to agrees with that argument. It is another one of those YEA 'MERICA moments I mentioned earlier. It is a shame that this "message" came at the cost of one of Marvel's best villains.
So, overall, this movie was a dissapointment for me. I'm sure moviegoers that know nothing of Iron Man's comic book history will get a bit more enjoyment out of the movie, but there are still flaws compared to the other 2 movies that cannot be ignored. There are good parts to this movie, and yes, the action is good, but there are too many flaws to this movie for me to love it, even though it features one of my favorite heroes. Shane Black, you have disgraced Iron Man, stay away from Marvel before you ruin somebody else.
I give Iron Man 3 a rusty 2 out of 5.