Tony Stark is back in the suit, but he’s lost some of his bravado after what went down in New York with The Avengers. When a new terrorist emerges, threatening innocent lives and people that he loves; can he hold it together enough to do what needs to be done? Iron Man 3 review after the jump.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) is undoubtedly a hero. In New York he risked everything in a completely selfless act to save the lives of millions. That experience takes its toll on a man, and some time on from these events, Stark is still suffering. Sure he still has that snark, but now it’s backed in pain and has more heart. To fill in his days (and undoubtedly to make himself feel safer), Stark spends his time tinkering and building a veritable robot army of iron men.
Stark is soon forced out of retirement however, when a terrorist (responsible for a recent series of bombings) calling himself ‘The Mandarin’ (Ben Kinglsey) targets his home for attack. Stark escapes, but he is without his highly-weaponised equipment and the safety net of iron men he created for protection. On the run, and with little support, Tony Stark the man is forced to dig deep inside himself to find the strength needed to defeat the Mandarin and again become Iron Man.
Iron Man 3 is less like a superhero film and more like an action-thriller, with the story of a wounded man at it’s core. What I loved about this film was that is stripped away the bravado and smoke and mirrors that the Iron Man suits provide, and showed us what Tony Stark had become. This was a man in pain, recovering and quite naked without his cover. In order to have a chance against the latest villain, he had to use equal measures brawn, technology, intelligence and humanity.
It was this humanity factor which was the most interesting and refreshing. On his mission to rebuild enough to give himself a chance against the Mandarin, Stark meets a young boy (Ty Simpkins) who he relies on for help. He still shoots from the hip without thinking (sometimes quite harshly), but we can see that he has come to understand that if he wants something, he needs to give something in return, even if it is only genuine thanks.
Action sequences in the film are of a high standard, with one exhilarating set piece involving an air plane standing out. It’s nice to actually be able to see the action as it’s taking place – Black and his team clearly understand the value of not cutting every few seconds. Performances across the board are fine, with only Guy Pearce letting the standard drop due to his usual overacting. Downey Jr owns this film [and the role], and without him it would be nothing. He absolutely oozes charisma and has impeccable comedic timing.
While Stark’s story arch and character development was fascinating, the story going on around him was not…The villain and his motivations for his actions were so convoluted and weakly thought out. It seemed like it was one thing and the suddenly for the sake of it, he picked another issue and it was also about that. It’s as if the writers tried to adapt too many story-lines from the comics into the film? I’m really not sure what happened, but the result was a one-dimensional villain supported by very little substance; and a story that was often lacking in momentum.
Thankfully for Iron Man 3, Tony Stark’s development was enough to keep the film interesting. Mix in some great action, decent performances, and sharp dialogue, and you have yourself an enjoyable time at the movies. Perhaps in his next outing he will have a foe worth his considerable wit and talent to go up against.
By Sam McCosh
Director: Shane Black
Writer(s): Shane Black & Drew Pearce (screenplay)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce
Runtime: 130 minutes
Release date(s): Australia & New Zealand: April 24 2013; USA: May 3 2013