Iron Man 3
by Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)
Marvel Phase Two has officially begun! With the huge success of The Avengers, it was going to be an all but impossible task to surpass the epicness that The Avengers brought to the screen. Well, with an impending Avengers 2, we had to continue the stories of our wondrous superheroes. And at long last, Iron Man 3 is finally available for our visual pleasures. Thankfully, director Shane Black doesn’t try to surpass The Avengers, but continue a story following the events that took place in the aforementioned film. What we have is a much darker version of Iron Man than the previous two installments. Worry not though, dear readers, Tony Stark does not let us down!
After the events in The Avengers, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr., in case you’ve been living in a cave) is back in Malibu, suffering from a form of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). He can’t sleep, reliving the events that took place with Loki and the Avengers, as he’s worried aliens will appear from a hole in the sky again and hurt that which is most dear to him in life: Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). However, a new terrorist, who goes by the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), is blowing up bombs around the United States and plans on taking out the President on Christmas Day. Tony issues a challenge to the Mandarin, telling him to bring the fight to him and stop hiding in the shadows. The Mandarin does just that, and soon, Tony is in a fight for not only his life, but Pepper’s as well.
It used to be that a film based on a superhero didn’t necessarily garner the greatest of performances. Not really the case with Iron Man 3. It’s hard to imagine any other actor playing the role of Tony Stark. It’s almost as if the superhero gods put Robert Downey Jr. on the planet for that sole purpose. He nails the character in every aspect, and this time around, we follow Tony through his dark, inner turmoil as he battles not only his own personal demons, but the new one which manifests itself as the Mandarin.
All respect to Robert Downey Jr., but Ben Kingsley steals the show. He really only has two significant scenes, but he absolutely nails them. To say much more would be to give away story elements, and I refuse to do that, but needless to say, Ben Kingsley is one of the finer actors on film today. Gwyneth Paltrow is given more screen time in this third installment and is able to do a little more than just play the love interest. Don Cheadle has completely settled into his role as Rhodes and Guy Pearce bring that sleazy, charismatic role that only he can do. Overall, fine performances throughout the film!
When it comes to the spectacle of Iron Man, the film is, once again, top notch. The visuals are as stunning as ever and provide a great first installment of Phase Two. In terms of story, there’s a brilliant twist in the film, which I never saw coming, but may draw the ire of some of the hardcore Iron Man faithful. As for the ending, prepare for a high octane adrenaline fest! And while it’s fun to watch, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. On the positive side, it’s completely different than the first two Iron Man films, so maybe that’s what they were going for. And they had the opportunity for something deeply emotional, but it feels the writers just didn’t have the guts to go for it. It would have put the film on another level, which is saying something. But what we have is still more than enjoyable.
There are also some credibility issues with Iron Man. For one, with all of the terrorism happening, where are the Avengers? And where is S.H.I.E.L.D? And, specifically, since all of this is happening in the United States, where is Captain America? Yes, we know this is an Iron Man movie, but now that they are the Avengers, it would follow that certain things would come up. But S.H.I.E.L.D doesn’t even make a cameo, although they are mentioned in one sentence. Maybe I’m nitpicking, but if things are happening on United States soil, I’d expect at least Samuel L. Jackson to show his face on screen for a line about why they aren’t there at least! And with the budget as high as it was, I’m sure they could have afforded a couple more dollars for Sam to say a line and don the eye patch.
Iron Man 3 is truly a continuation but also feels like an ending. And if what Robert Downey Jr. has said in interviews is true, he’s hanging up the suit, at least for individual Iron Man films. And I completely understand his decision. He’s an artist, first and foremost, and would like to explore other roles to continue to grow as an artist and as a person. Making the Iron Man and Avenger films takes up a significant amount of time. So, if this is the end, we can be grateful to the writers for closing it all off and leaving us feeling satisfied, much like we were at the end of The Dark Knight Rises. We’ll all miss Tony Stark and the charisma he brings, but there are other Avengers arriving soon and we’ll get to see them all once again when Avengers 2 hits theaters on May 1, 2015. Jarvis, shut it down.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars