Iron Man 3 (2013) Review
Certificate: 12A Running Time: 2hr 10 Mins
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Rebecca Hall, Guy Pearce, Don Cheadle, Ben Kingsley Plo
Plot: Tony Stark suffers from anxiety following events in Avengers Assemble and is faced with a new breed of terror in the form of the villainous Mandarin.
The much anticipated renaissance, the return of Tony Stark does not disappoint, it exceeds expectations and is certainly Iron Man’s most riveting solo escapade to date. Plaudits must go to quick witted director Shane Black. The mastermind behind the legendary Lethal Weapon franchise has added fresh impetus and vitality to the Marvel universe. After the momentous success of Joss Whedon’s swashbuckling ‘Avengers Assemble’, there was every possibility the individualistic nature of Iron Man 3 could have paled in comparison. However Black’s ingenuity coupled with a finely timed comedic performance from Robert Downey Jr. ensures this isn’t the case.
We are rocketed into a post-Avengers time zone; Stark battles his inner demons whilst contemplating how to face a new breed of ‘terror’ in the form of the Mandarin. For a blockbuster of such scale, Iron Man 3 is well balanced and isn’t as hollow as one might expect. Responsibility to Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) is a recurring theme in the trilogy, none more so in this edition. Although it scarcely retreats into Nolan’s Dark Knight territory which delves into the psyche of a hero, there is more retrospection on Stark’s part which adds depth and realism to his character. Ultimately, Iron Man 3 revels in its lighthearted slapstick nature; there is even room for British soap opera references amidst the stunning action sequences.
The adversary, on many dramatic levels often elevates the hero to new heights. When faced with insurmountable odds, there is need to draw on the deepest reserves to overcome them. It is an area where Iron Man has traditionally struggled whilst the Dark Knight trilogy and to some degree even Spiderman have given birth to iconic tormentors. Villains such as The Joker have become archetypal anti-heroes in their own right, menacing and casting shadows over each film they partake in. Iron Man 3, despite Ben Kingsley’s hilarious intervention sadly falters. The combustible enemies, despite Guy Pearce’s best efforts, feel timid and will certainly not live long in the memory. The parallel allegory with the war on terror is interesting and has merit, give evil a character with a face and you have a target for public resentment. Are the political undertones anti-American? (Conspiracy theorists will point towards it).
Despite its shortcomings, the blistering action scenes leverage the dramatic tension to heights not seen in the trilogy thus far. The electrifying sky dive sequence is a joy to behold and is the clear stand out. The CGI reaches the heights seen in the Avengers Assemble and any other Marvel film thus far; in particular look out for the colossal army of Iron men which descend with heroic aplomb. Whereas Don Cheadle is given welcome screen presence as the Iron Patriot, Rebecca Hall (Stark’s ex-girlfriend) makes an all too fleeting appearance. Ferrer plays the Vice-President; the role feels likes an after-thought which adds needless clutter to an otherwise well-paced romp.
Iron Man 3 could quite easily have been the warm up act to the hugely anticipated ‘Man of Steel’ (released later this summer). However, Shane Black has propelled the hero to lofty heights, dazzling and evoking genuine laughter in the process. Whether we see Tony Stark in ‘one man mission’ mode again remains to be seen, Iron Man 3 is a fitting finale in many ways. Marvel fans, be sure to stay until the culmination of the final credits, you will not be disappointed.