Director: Shane Black
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow,, Don Cheadle, Guy Pierce
Run Time: 130 Minutes
Genre: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
After the success of The Avengers in 2012, expectations were high for the third installment of the Iron Man series. But how do you exceed that kind of success? You get a director and screenwriter with a proven track record in action films.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) has changed since he developed the Iron Man armor. He’s settled down, fallen in love. But the demons he created in his past come back to haunt him. And they threaten what he holds dearest, Pepper Potts.
Unlike the previous movies, the plot of Iron Man 3 is secondary to the story. This is where Black shows his strength. He’s created tortured characters before, such as Martin Riggs of the Lethal Weapon series and Joe Hallenbeck from The Last Boy Scout.
After the events in New York, Stark is suffering from superhero PTSD. With the knowledge that aliens and gods are a part of the fabric of reality comes an obsession to protect his loved ones. His near-death experience has opened the door to anxiety; he’s driven by urgency to make the Iron Man armor better. The self-assured Tony Stark has been humbled, and he isn’t taking it well.
When a new villain rears his ugly head, Tony’s judgment lands him in a situation where he has to rely on his wits without the armor. You’ve heard the line, “Does the suit make the man or does the man make the suit?” We get the answer to that question. Eventually.
Two-thirds of the movie is Iron Man free – no suit of armor for Tony to fall back on. Like I said, the plot is secondary. There is action and it’s delivered at appropriate intervals, but what moves the film forward is the growth of character. It’s very well done.
The acting is superb and the inclusion of the eleven-year-old Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins) is a bit of genius. The bond that formed between Tony and Harley really highlighted the humanity beneath the superhero. Guy Pearce is always a first-rate villain. Paltrow and Favreau slip into their roles as easily as Downey does.
I was pleasantly surprised by the revelation that Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is just an actor under the control of Killian (Pearce). It showcased Kingsley diversity and kept the plot from being mundane.SPOILER
As with most Marvel movies, the special effects are second to none. Explosions galore and “how’d they do that” scenes aplenty. For me, the major failing of this movie is the humor. The quirky one-liners don’t roll from Stark’s tongue as easily as they did in previous installments. Black is a talented writer and director, but he’s no Whedon or Branagh. In all fairness, Stark’s sense of humor would be out of place as he is surely going through a personal crisis.
However, it is such a huge part of who he is, that it was missed. I’m guessing his funny bone will be completely healed by the time The Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters in 2015.
Iron Man 3 is a good movie and I’ll most likely add it to my collection. However, it won’t be viewed as often as the first film or The Avengers. It’s definitely worth watching and I’m sure future viewings will reveal subtleties I missed the first two times.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5