Iron Man 3 shows that Tony Stark is a bad-ass with and without the suit
Poor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) has suffered since the events of The Avengers. Having to deal with the fact that not only are there aliens and gods out there in the universe (many who might be hell-bent on wreaking vengeance on the simpletons of earth) has not left him in a very happy place. Stark now suffers from insomnia and panic attacks as a result. Enter The Mandarin – a very human terrorist who is threatening to blow up a variety of locations throughout the United States. Finally, something Tony can relate to – a villain with a face he understands.
This is how Iron Man 3 begins, but not how it ends. Because The Mandarin is not who or what Tony expects, and in the end, Tony is forced to tackle his own personal demons in order to save both the world and the love of his life, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).
Iron Man 3 sees a return to the sort of story that made the first Iron Man film so popular. I still can’t quite put my finger on why, but the second film just didn’t cut it. This time, though, we’re given an utterly believable villain in the form of The Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley) Of course, though, this villain is not all he appears to be (are they ever?). There are some great plot twists that finally reveal what Tony has to eventually battle, including himself.
But you want action? You’ll get that in droves with Iron Man 3. In fact, this movie is more action-packed than The Avengers, and if you’re looking for the sort of breathless “ohmygosh, is he going to make it?” scenes, you’re going to get them in droves. What’s especially exciting is seeing Tony doing his thing outside of the Iron Man suit. That is freakin’ AWESOME.
The performances in Iron Man 3 are also strong. There would be no Tony Stark or Iron Man without Downey delivering each line in that certain charismatic way he has. Downey IS Iron Man. No questions asked. He can be funny and serious, capricious and downright bratty. And he continues to create a character we should all hate, but end up loving. It takes a special actor to pull that off.
Paltrow gets to show off some of her own action skills this time around, too, and she proves that she, too, can be a bad ass. She is as equally charming in the completely opposite way that Downey is. Seeing her finally get to don the suit? PRICELESS! And she and Downey have some amazing chemistry.
Don Cheadle also puts in an appearance as Tony’s best buddy and fellow suit-wearing crime fighter as Colonel James Rhodes. This is still, however, a character that could use a lot of developing, but as he is even less than Iron Man’s sidekick, I doubt we’ll ever see that happen. Honestly, I could argue that it’s a waste of Cheadle’s talent, but I still enjoy seeing him on-screen with Downey.
Kingsley as the villain was a bit of inspired casting, especially when you realize that the character is not exactly who you think he is. This man is the sort of actor that can act within an act, and when you see the movie, you’ll know exactly what I mean by that.
Finally, Guy Pearce and Rebecca Hall round out the hall of villains. Pearce plays evil so well that it should be a requirement for him to play more villains in more films. As far as Hall goes, though, I’m still not entirely sure what importance her character really is to the movie beyond being one of Tony’s ex-conquests. Her character just didn’t really feel necessary. That would, however, be my only real gripe here.
Iron Man 3 is one of those movies that makes going to the theater so enjoyable. There is nothing like watching the first big budget action-packed film of the year on the big screen with your fellow Marvel geeks. So please don’t wait for the DVD. This movie was meant to be enjoyed as part of the full film experience. And be sure to stick around after the closing credits for a little additional geek love, Avengers style.
(Note: I saw Iron Man 3 in 2D.)