Robert Downey Jr. once again teams up with director Shane Black (Kiss, Kiss Bang, Bang) for the final installment of this Iron Man trilogy.
**Warning Spoilers Ahead***
As a comic book fan I was totally jazzed when I found out that Iron Man 3 was going to be based off the Warren Ellis story arc of Invincible Iron Man titled “Extremis”. I was even more pumped to find out that the Mandarin was the lead villain in the film. Man, that was a special feeling. I mean here was Iron Man’s #1 villain and he was going to be tied into one of the best story arcs of Iron Man’s modern era. This was a recipe for success and that’s without adding the talents of Sir Ben Kingsley and Guy Pierce. In fact, Iron Man 3 is a hugely successful film, banking nearly $1 Billion dollars worldwide as of the time this review is being written, and that friends is pretty beast. I personally thought the film was very good, near great. It was well paced, had a great cast and superb visual and audio effects. However, I felt the plot was mismanaged and I had some fanboy issues with the movie. So, without further delay, let’s get into Iron Man 3.
Iron Man 3 is essentially the story of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) dealing with the emotional stress of a post Avengers world. As he copes with the existence of other dimensions, god-like beings, and aliens, the idea of it all begins to freak out our hero. To deal with the new world he lives in, Tony has focused himself on bettering Iron Man by creating more armors, each with their own unique functions. Obsessing over these suits has strained his relationships with best friend Lt. Col. James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Things begin to go from bad to worse when the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) launches terror attacks against America on American soil, including one against the Chinese Theater where Stark head of Security, Happy Hogan (Jon Favearu) was severely injured. This event launches Tony on a revenge filled quest to take down the Mandarin. As Tony prepares to hunt the mad man down, the Mandarin strikes first hitting Tony were he is most vulnerable, his home. Barely escaping with his life Tony finds himself stranded in Tennessee with no allies, no hi-tech equipment and damaged prototype armor.
I’m not going to ruin the entire movie, but that is the general synopsis and that is where I think the problem lies. This film is trying to make Tony Stark flawed and vulnerable when the truth is that he is already a flawed character. Tony is an egotistical; know it all jerk and he knows it. We see this throughout the first two movies where his ego causes him the most trouble. Needing to have Tony suffer from anxiety and post traumatic stress syndrome was unnecessary. This would have been relevant in the first movie as he was imprisoned by terrorists. Tony is a thinker, he is goal oriented, focused, and calculating. He is not easily overwhelmed by situations. In fact, knowing about other dimensions would intrigue him as a scientist and engineer. It is a new frontier and he would want to explore it.
My other big problem in this film was the Extremis itself. In the comic book the Extremis was the technological Super Soldier Serum. It increased a humans strength, speed, agility and healing factor. The down side of it was it drove the host to near insanity. Tony modified the virus to fit his need as Iron Man and toned down the other abilities. In the movie the Extremis is portrayed differently. It is like the Extremis makes everyone nigh invulnerable unless they can’t regulate, then they blow up. There are many times in this film where you think Tony destroys the Extremis soldiers, but then we come to find out that they are not dead and in fact they are in perfect health. The main reason of the Extremis arc was to point out that Tony and Iron Man were out of date and that he would have to upgrade to survive the new kind of threats to the world. By the way, did Tony take Extremis in this movie? It would have been radical to see Tony rocking the Extremis like he did in the comic book, to hack computers and satellites for Intel or to store his new armor within his skin.
With mistakes and fanboy rage aside, Iron Man 3 was a pretty solid film. It had humor, pacing and a decent enough story. This movie has got me pumped to see what Marvel’s Phase 2 film projects will look like. If you are looking for a fun action film that might even tug at your heart, Iron Man 3 is that film.
OXIDIZATION LEVEL: 4/5
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