Iron Man 3 hit theaters about a week ago and it brought such promise and high hopes. The film managed to have the 2nd largest opening in box office history due to the success of the marketing campaign and the presence that the Marvel Comics universe has had on the big screen over the last five years. This 3rd film left a lot things unanswered and presented some totally new questions opening Marvel phase 2.
First off let me say I anticipated this movie being “GREAT”– the trailer with the Mandarin was dramatic and enticing– especially given this real world we live in where terrorism is at an all- time high. I thought it was clever how they choose to present the Mandarin and I wondered how they would handle the mystical power element of his being and character– yeah uh…. I’ll get into that a little later in this review.
Shifting to a new director in Shane Black I thought was a good choice. He co-wrote the script along with Drew Pearce. Jon Favreau did a great job with the first two movies and reportedly wanted between 15-20 million to direct this film. The studio wasn’t having it hence Shane Black. Black has written some great scripts over the past 20 years so he was a no brainer for this pic. I just didn’t like the way he handle a few elements of the film and the storyline.
The storyline for the movie took on the Extremist story which I thought was ambitious — because it is an intricate plot and it pushes Tony Stark to the limit in the comics, so bringing this story to life in a live action film was going to require top notch acting and special effects. The production did a very good job with this and they did it in as realistic a way as could be done.
The movie picks up a few months after the events of The Avengers and I love how they make references to what happened in the New York. This gives the whole Marvel Universe a uniquely realistic feel that audiences can easily pick up on and enjoy. As with all of the Marvel movies this film is set in the real world so there is TONS of media coverage on Tony Stark at all times which has made his life more exposed and open to various attacks. The scene where he invites the Mandarin to his house to square off in a one on one battle is a great illustration of this. In turn the result of the challenge is the Mandarin sending helicopters to destroy Tony’s house with him and Pepper still in it.
Another aspect I enjoyed was the showcasing of the different Iron Man armors that Tony has used in various incarnations of Iron Man in the past media like the comics and the 90’s cartoon. Although each armor only makes a brief cameo in the fight sequence near the climax of the film it was entertaining to see them all acknowledge. If you look closely you can even see with the oversized “Hulk Buster” armor comes through for an appearance. The explaination for all the different armors in the storyline is that Tony has been restless since The Avengers and has been working and tinkering A LOT to deal with the stress mentally. Good outlet if you ask me.
I was not a fan of how The Mandarin character was handled. This disappointed me greatly and for those of you that have seen the movie you know EXACTLY what I mean. I was appalled that Iron Man’s greater foe was treated like a “cartoon character”. I will admit I understand what Shane Black was going for with the real life “expectation” of what terrorist are but I still didn’t like it. It completely undermines The Mandarin AND takes him OUT of the Marvel Universe for future films. If you have not seen the movie yet you will have to see it to understand my feelings on this.
In the advertising for the movie The Mandarin is showcased to be a real bad ass and you get the impression that Ben Kingsley may be giving life to one of the greatest villains to ever grace the big screen….and then it is all pulled from up under the audience like one big April Fool’s joke. I understand the context of why it worked for the movie but I did NOT like this at all.
The storyline is okay but it takes a few detours which can be a little distracting at times. Like when Tony is trying to get to Tennessee and then he encounters the little boy who helps him find out more on the guy who “blew up the bomb”– At this point the movie kinda feels like a “buddy flick” with a adult and little kid, which is okay but not quite what an Iron Man movie is all about.
Another part of the story that I wasn’t too particular about was that in response to the events of The Avengers movie Tony Stark is now having anxiety attacks whenever someone mention “New York” or “Aliens”. I understand the character is human and of course will have some sort of feelings towards things but for him to be having full freak out panic attacks and this man is expected to be “Superhero” and save the day came across as either false and or Marvel’s way of getting the ball rolling on casting another person to where the Iron Man armor.
The last two things about the movie that I didn’t care for was that there was absolutely no character development with any of these bad guys who were former military people working with Aldrich Killain. (Guy Pearce) They were just there being bad for the sake of being bad which makes for a hoky, cartoony type of feel to the film. And then there is a small portion towards the end where it becomes about “trying to save the President” which is far too generic for a film of this caliber and status. For me it was a C’mon man type of moment– I mean…”the President” like Shane Black has written some excellent movies and is very promising as a director but please let’s not ever take such a weak and played out element like that a throw it in as the “end game” for the super villain.
Now Iron Man 3 opened up with the 2nd high weekend box office EVER so without a doubt the will be an Iron Man 4… but the real question is will the film’s lead star Robert Downy Jr. be returning for a fourth stand alone film? This is not an easy question to be answer for several reasons. First Downy Jr is nearing 50 years old and he as expressed that he won’t be doing very many of the superhero films. He is aging– it is strenuous filming along with diet and exercise and this biggest thing– he has already fulfilled his 3 picture obligation to Marvel.
He was paid 50 million for The Avengers and Marvel nor the co-stars of the film weren’t too happy with that. In the world of Hollywood big business his asking price will only go UP for The Avengers 2 and Iron Man 4. At this point I couldn’t picture another actor as Tony Stark and I don’t imagine too many fans can either. But Marvel president Kevin Fiege has stated that the Iron Man character can be James Bond-ish in that over the years several different actors can play the character and bring their own unique feel to the role. Only time will tell how this will play out.
And to top it all off if you have seen the way the movie ends….then well you understand why it looks like it may be Downey Jr’s exit from the character.
Overall Iron Man 3 is a solid movie and very entertaining and this was a good kick off for the Marvel Phase 2 films.
MindBender Movie Meter Score
Iron Man 3………74%
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Iron Man 3 Trailer