Superhero movies have become a staple of the summer movie season in the last decade. New benchmarks have been set repeatedly with the groundbreaking “Dark Knight” trilogy, and the box office destroyer, “The Avengers”. At the forefront of this superhero zeitgeist has been “Iron Man”. The glitzy, glossy metal suit and its charismatic pilot have become household names since 2008. This film will help them stand the test of time, and make them, dare I say… invincible.
“Iron Man 3” follows Tony Stark some time after the events of “The Avengers”. Suffering from insomnia and slight PTSD, Tony spends his days and nights tinkering with his creations. This of course causes stress in his relationships, especially with the love of his life, Pepper. Meanwhile, a terrorist calling himself the Mandarin has begun taking credit for a number of deadly explosions around the US. When a close friend is nearly killed, Stark decides to publicly challenge the Mandarin. He then discovers that the terrorist has already made him a top priority. Action ensues. Heroes fall. People die. Need I say more?
“No politics here. Just good old-fashioned revenge.”
First off, the movie looks amazing. ILM sat this one out, and a team of visual effects companies took over, and thank god. Iron Man can often run the risk of looking too cartoon-y but this wasn’t the case this time around (thanks in part to Weta Digital). The effects are clean, impressive and real. While it may not match “The Avengers” in scale, the film’s effects and scenes are both grand, and intimate, powerful, and chilling. The music also rocks hard, nonstop. It’s the grandest of the “Iron Man” soundtracks and it pays off big time. The theme over the credits is particularly badass.
RDJ has never been more spot on in the role. He said “I am Iron Man”, and in this movie you believe it completely. It’s certainly his best performance as Stark, and has all the raw emotion and heart that was missing from the previous film. It’s an incredibly human film, with much of the focus on Tony and not Iron Man. The rest of the cast is outstanding as well. Ben Kingsley fills the Mandarin’s shoes perfectly, and is both terrifying and entertaining as a villain. Guy Pearce is well-placed (as usual) as the ambitious Aldrich Killian. This is also the first time Gwyneth Paltrow hasn’t annoyed the shit out of me as Pepper. Everyone brings the A-game and it helps up the tension throughout.
It happens; dads leave. No reason to be a pussy about it.”
Speaking of which, the action is phenomenal. I said before that it is slightly scaled down from the Avengers film, but it more than makes up for it in spectacle and thrills. The action is big and loud. The fights are intense and brutal. People are actually killed, like dead, in a Marvel movie, which is nice. The villains are all scary and imposing and actually feel like a real threat and not just a sideshow (not pointing fingers, Mickey). Without giving away any plot details, I’ll just say that the film takes some bold risks with various characters, and they’re all handled superbly.
The film owes much of its successes to the writing. Shane Black is back and badder than ever at the helm of this beast. The man who reinvented action films in the 80s and 90s has now reinvented Iron Man, and it is good. The humour is dry, quick and incredibly witty. The dialogue is smart and the action is tight. There’s some topical political commentary thrown in for kicks (the War on Terror, oil dependency, etc). This is what a superhero film is supposed to look like. Hopefully this will mean a full-fledged comeback for Black, and maybe we can see him command a few more epic pieces such as this.
“Heroes: there is no such thing.”
“Iron Man 3” is not a perfect film. It suffers from the few flaws that all blockbusters do, but it handles them all so well and entertains throughout. RDJ has cemented his spot in the Superhero Hall of Fame. For two hours and change, you’ll forget your worries and be fully immersed in Tony’s fight for survival. It’s everything it should be and more. It’ll be the one to beat this summer.