Iron Man 3 (2013)


At least he’s on the wagon now.

After the wild events that took place in New York with Gods of Thunders and worm-holes and such, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has found himself in a bit of a crisis. Not only is he constantly reminded of what occurred, but he can’t seem to get any sleep and continually works on his hobby: building and building shit. It doesn’t matter what it is or what it could do, the fact is that he’s building shit, losing sleep, losing the love of his life, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and losing what it means to be a superhero. However, an evil terrorist by the name of Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), might just change that feeling in the pit of his stomach and have him realize what it was about him that made him Iron Man in the first place.

Since the Avengers came, saw, and conquered the world last Summer, it seemed only right that Marvel would unleash it’s brand-new bag and go back to where it all started: Iron Man, or if you really want to be legit about it: Tony Stark. Without the first movie coming out in 2008 and taking over like it did, who knows just what the hell Marvel might have done not just with their fellow, other superheros, but in general as well. But from what we’ve all seen and what we do know is that Tony Stark is the go-to guy for when you need a compelling movie, and Iron Man is a pretty bad-ass superhero, even if he doesn’t have a big hammer. I still think that’s one of the all-time best weapons in superhero history. By far.

The first piece of curiosity that sprang through my mind when I initially heard of this movie happening, was the choice of Shane Black as director and co-writer. If you don’t know who this cat is, I suggest you go and find Kiss Kiss Bang Bang somewhere on DVD and check that out because it is a gem of a movie and it’s all because of Black. The guy’s also written Lethal Weapon, but in my eyes: his directorial-debut ranks supreme against all others because it’s funny, exciting, and filled to the brim with plot that may seem like over-kill, but keeps you guessing until the end. And just as promising as that may sound for a guy who’s about to tackle Iron Man, it still seemed strange considering that not only was this his second movie to date, but also that his first one had barely any CGI whatsoever, or action for that matter. Most of it was just shooting, guns, bullets, a car-crash, and fake blood. That was it. So, how the hell did Marvel trust this guy with their biggest money-maker to date?

"Sometimes, my left hand just have a life of it's own. I swear, Pepper...."
“Sometimes, my left hand just have a life of it’s own. I swear, Pepper….”

Well, whatever it was that the big guys at M found in him, sure as hell worked because Black does a superb job as both director, and co-writer. Not only is his humor present throughout the whole flick, but the guy also finds a way to throw in some neat and nice little twists here and there to spice things up. One plot-twist that I won’t give up unless you want to e-mail me about it (CMrok93@yahoo.com), really divided this movie into two, different ways. Some will definitely go along with it and think that it was a nice-departure from what we are used to seeing with typical, superhero movies, whereas others may be a bit pissed and wished that they exactly got that typical, superhero movie they had grown so accustomed to. I still haven’t been able to rack my brain around whether or not I liked it all that much, but I will say that in Black’s case, it sure as hell was risky, something different, and not exactly what I was expecting. So, yeah, maybe you could put me in that earlier-group of peeps, but at the same time, don’t, because I’m still not sure.

Just give me some damn time, man!

But what really worked for Black and what mainly surprised the hell out of me is how well he handles all of the action, CGI, and 3D (basically, the big-budget). Black knows exactly what the fans want to see when they see a superhero movie about Iron Man and that’s what the dude gives to ’em. Some may actually be surprised to see that not all of this action features the actual superhero, Iron Man, but features more of Stark doing all of the ass-kicking himself, but it’s still fun and exciting to see, especially when you add a darker-element of story-telling on top of it all, which is what Black has done surely well. Of course the humor is always there to keep people laughing and giggling, but the stakes feel higher with this one and it’s no surprise that some may actually be scared as to who’s going to get off’d next, who might not make it for Iron Man 4 (although Paltrow spilled the beans on that enchilada), and who’s going to come out victorious and with a little bit of something to brag about. It’s fun to watch a movie that knows how to keep the energy rolling without a real break in the pace, but it’s even better when you feel like the seconds you see a person on screen for, could just might as well be their last. Black keeps this going for quite some time, that is, until the last-half shows up and sort of ruins things.

For the most part, about an hour and a half in, I was on-board with this movie and I easily felt like I was working on a 9-9.5 here, but something happened. No, not the twist I was talking about earlier, but the final showdown that we all know is going to eventually come. Something, I don’t know what it was, just didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel as epic as the rest of the movie did and it sure as hell didn’t do much to really knock me out of my chair with it’s originality; something I was seeing from Black’s side of the room, more and more. Don’t get me mistaken, I still had a ball with this final-act and just about lost my hearing by how many clangs, booms, and bangs I continued to hear (that’s a good thing, by the way), but something didn’t make it feel like the movie was tied-up with a pretty, little bow at the end like all of the other superhero movies have lately. Even Iron Man 2 somehow decided to do that, and as we all know: that was nowhere near greatness.

However, I can’t put anything against this cast because as usual: they are all phenomenal, even the newbies too. But I’ll get to them later, let me stick with the man of the 2 hours, the man with the power, and the man who practically has it all: Robert Downey Jr. Everybody and their mothers (the coolio ones who didn’t give up on him when he got busted all of those years ago) know that Downey was made for this role and he continues to show us why with his egotistical act, look, and feel. Yet, there’s something more to this guy that makes him actually feel like a hero worth rooting for. Stark does make some stupey mistakes and gets caught-up in situations that he could have easily gotten himself out of if he just thought more, but he’s human, dammit! That’s what we do. And even if we don’t have a mansion, a billion dollar corporation, or a suit made of iron that can kick ass and speak like Paul Bettany, we still feel like this guy would do the right thing, if he was given a chance to make the decision as to what that exactly is. Downey is funny as usual, and probably a lot better with the script considering that he practically vouched for Black to get this job, but it’s his human-aspect within that makes this character tick, rock, and kick….some ass. See what I did there? Yeah, I’m all out of being witty for the night.

Always gotta tug on the suit-jacket to make sure you know how big pimpin' you truly are.
Always gotta tug on the suit-jacket to make sure you know how big pimpin’ you truly are.

Even if it seems like nobody in their right minds is willing to let all of the hate for Gwyneth Paltrow go, just for a little bit of time over 2 hours, at least the girl still shows us that she can act and be charming as hell. I don’t hate Paltrow like everybody else seems to, and that’s why I really liked her as Pepper Potts because it not only felt like her character really loved Tony and wanted him to be all fine and dandy once things were over with, but that she could also stick up for herself in the chance arose itself. Pepper isn’t the type of character that you could classify as a “damsel in distress” and that’s the route that Black turns away from and gives her more a chance to knock some people out, if she needs to. During this movie, she definitely does need to and that’s exactly what she does. Keep on going, Mrs. Coldplay!

Don Cheadle is here once again as Col. Rhodes (still thought Terrence Howard was better, but hey, that’s just me, baby) and does fine with what he’s given. Cheadle doesn’t have a huge role here but gets more to do than just pick up Tony’s scraps and make us feel like he’s more of a bad-ass too. Although, I will say that he does get to show us what makes him all bad-ass still. Oh, and before I forget about it all: Rebecca Hall is here as an old-fling of Tony’s and is good, even if her beauty and charm does seem a bit wasted on a character that is essentially around just to show how much of a chauvinistic a-hole Tony basically was back in the darker days before he fell in love with Pep. Still, the girl is mighty fine!

Now is the part where we go onto the baddies and this is where things begin to get a little dicey for me and you. See, Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce both play some evil a-holes that definitely are not the breed you want to mess with, let alone see Tony mess with, but there’s more to them than just that and I can’t give away too much without sounding annoyingly-vague, or just giving it all up. Both do what they need to do as the baddies, especially Kingsley who actually terrified me at one point, but there are more layers to them and once you see what’s really going on with these cats, you might just be a bit surprised. I sure as hell was and once again: I still don’t know what to make of it. What I can say though, is that the movie does not, for a second, stray-away from giving these two guys plenty of scenery to chew on and that’s where all of the fun comes from. Because if you think about it: that’s all you need in a good villain, right?

Consensus: Starts off perfectly with a funny script, electric set-pieces, and a cast that never backs down from a script they can’t grapple, but Iron Man 3 ends more on a whimper, than on a bang. Which would have been all right and perfect with the world, had we not already see the Avengers and know what there is to expect with the Marvel Universe.

8.5 / 10 = Matinee!!

P.S. Stay for the credits. Even though you probably already knew that, didn’t you?

It's like Gandhi all-over-again, except Chinese.
It’s like Gandhi all-over-again, except Chinese.
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61 comments

  1. Nice write up man, I’m hanging to see this one…. I’m saving my pocket money for man of steel though. Glad to hear this ones up to par… How would you compare it with part 2?

  2. I agree that Black was a weird choice for director, but that’s what we say about every Marvel director for the last few years. Look at Whedon and Branagh.

  3. I knew the plot because it was based on 2005’s Extremis plot in the comic books. But, even so, the twists were nice and I enjoyed the whole movie. Great review!

    • It was nice to see something new with a superhero movie for a change, but not a lot of people like those types of changes. Thanks Greer!

  4. Cool review man, obviously over here in the UK we got the film last week and I loved it. I’m surprised I haven’t gone back to watch it again. I thought the film’s plot twist was very surprising and clever, I really like teh cast and thought the action and spectacle was incredible. Shane Black brought a different kind of flavor to the MCU and I think it was a cool and necessary one. If you’d like have a look at my review for my full thoughts on the film yo.

  5. I’m with you on Don Cheadle, I thought Howard was better. We’ll see if this one changes my mind about him. I’m reading a lot of teetering on Kingsley and Pearce’s performances. Lot of people not real sure what to think or if they liked them. Can’t wait to decide for myself! Good review, Dan.

  6. I could replace Howard with Cheadle any day. I am a bit disappointed with what they did to The Mandarin. Nice review man! Head on to my blog and read my own review on Iron Man 3! 🙂

  7. Nice write up, dude. I’m certainly in the pissed-off-that-they-dropped-the-ball-on-the-Mandarin-character camp, but then virtually everyone in the screening I saw it with enjoyed it. I have to say, I did laugh too. I can’t be mad at Sir Ben Kingsley, he certainly has a sense of humour about himself!
    I know what you mean about the last half hour and I think I have the answer: You never felt like Stark was in any trouble, every time something bad happened or he was put in a corner a suit would come along and save him. The lack of jeopardy really let the final fight down and kinda takes you out of the action.
    All that said though, it was a fair bit better than number 2, but still nowhere near the first film. Black was an inspured choice, much like Kenneth Branagh directing Thor, and his style and writing really shone through.
    Keep up the good work, man.

  8. Good review Dan. I’m still trying to make up my mind about the mid-movie twist myself. It worked for the story but I’m already seeing comments from fans who are probably bigger fans than me of the comic book, that the twist was not all that welcomed. Like you said, it was a bold move on the part of the director and the studio to allow it to happen. Overall, though, I thought this was an incredibly entertaining way to spend two hours and is possibly one of the best options we’re going to have, action-hero wise, this year.

    • Definitely going to make the rest of the summer have something to live up to, but hopefully it doesn’t mean the end of the Iron Man franchise for good. Thanks Tom!

  9. Tell you what. Not the biggest fan. I had a lot of high hopes for the movie, and a lot of the action sequences were amazing, but the plot was just all over the place! The previous movies were amazingly crystal clear, and this one was just…I was confused, and I thought they gave Tony Stark too much power, which removed the element of danger and vulnerability the others had. Less is more

  10. The twist just killed the momentum of the film. The generic twist would’ve worked, but there were some other avenues it could’ve went had they setup the beginning differently.

    • It went a way I didn’t expect, and still can’t make my mind up as to whether or not I cared for it enough to say that it really ruined my overall experience.

  11. So I’ll agree that the plot twist didn’t exactly kill the film, but it did leave us with a relatively two-dimensional, under developed villain. Or at least that’s how I felt about it anyway. So when the time came for the final battle I just really wasn’t as invested in it as much as I would have been otherwise.

    It’s sort of the same problem that cropped up with the climax of Spider-Man 3 and its poorly developed villains. Well except that the rest of Iron Man 3 was actually solidly entertaining and not groan-worthy.

  12. I thought the twist was in keeping with the tone of the entire film. It was witty and humorous. Surprised you didn’t mention that little kid Harley. His interaction with RDJ was hilarious. Great review!

  13. “whereas others may be a bit pissed and wished that they exactly got that typical, superhero movie they had grown so accustomed to.” I dont know that I need a “typical” superhero movie, I’m all for being pleasantly surprised. But if you’re going to pull a stunt like that, you better have a much better movie than this backing it up. 😦 Lot of lame here, though the floor for a movie like this is probably 7 or so.

  14. Great review, but it leaves me with two questions?
    Why do people hate Paltrow because I’ve never actually heard a reason?
    What did you know about Mandarin before the film because I knew almost nothing, which is probably why I was okay with what happened?

    • Thanks Eddie! Answer to your questions:
      1. People hate her because she used to be everybody’s sweetheart, then won the Oscar in 1998 and suddenly found herself having a blacklash against her.
      2. Didn’t know much, except for the fact that he was supposed to be a pretty awesome baddie.

  15. I loved it!! What a blast! (Working on my review–should be done by tomorrow.)
    I was not disappointed–RDJ truly embodies Tony Stark and makes this film soar! And I appreciated Shane Black’s writing and direction–grittier somehow yet big and showy too–nice balance.
    Nice review! Later! 😀

    • I liked most of what occurred, it’s just that not all of it felt as epic as I would have liked. That being said, better than the second one. Thanks Nedi!

  16. Heh, I was right there with you up until that climactic action sequence. That’s what actually SOLD me on this movie being great. One of the most creative action scenes I’ve seen in a long long time. Still though, glad to hear you enjoyed the movie for the most part nonetheless. 🙂

  17. Realizing that I am in the minority, I was disappointed with IM3. Shallow story, shallow characters. Two hours plus of Tony Stark wisecracks does not a good movie make.

  18. I didn’t like it very much. I mean, it’s not totally horrible, but the problem of Mandarin Trolling turn is too much for me. Downey is funny, but they changed too many details of Stark in just one single movie. Changing is a good thing, but it was better to change the charcter through 2-3 movies including Avengers 2. Nice review.

  19. I really liked your review. I totally agree with the what you said about the end of this movie. Thanks for commenting on my blog too:)

  20. Nice review!–I didn’t know anything about the director, so it’s cool to hear about him. I actually really enjoyed the twist, despite that it makes our true villain a 2-dimensional petty twat. It’s still a thoroughly entertaining movie.

  21. It was an entertaining summer blockbuster for me, nothing more, nothing less. I really liked the unexpected twist and Kingsley was amazing and funny.

  22. I’d forgotten that Black directed “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” Thanks for the reminder. Like you said it is a gem. As for IM3, I thought it was pretty good, better than part 2 but not as good as the original. Like many have said, that final act has some major issues.

  23. I liked it a lot ! I won’t say love, I don’t know.. there was just.. things that didn’t work but still liked it a lot! Stayed for the credits as well but 85% of people didn’t have the brains to stay.. gosh, the non Marvel people, don’t know anything about the post-credit-scene!

  24. Thank you for the comment on my review. I really felt exactly how Mark Ruffalo looked in the end scene, confused and disoriented. Good review I agree the acting was well done, but thats what I went to see.

  25. Again, great review. You hit on all the key points and did it without giving too much away. That is SO hard to do 😛 especially with a movie like this where I like to experience things as they happen rather than going in knowing every little secret. I don’t get the hate with Gywneth Paltrow myself, people thinking she’s either elitist or unrelatable, but granted, this was the only role I absolutely loved her in (everything else, either too period-movie for me or just odd). Don Cheadle is great all around… maybe it’s just because I’d seen the original “Iron-Man” dozens of times, but I just don’t feel the camerarderie with him and RDJ as I did with him and Terrence Howard.
    And I second those comments on Shane Black, although the credits for hipping me to that dude & his arsenal as a writer/director goes to Robert… probably wouldn’t have seen/heard of “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” without him.
    Probably the best part for me was seeing Tony Stark kicking some butt without the armor 😉 kinda makes up for the fact Robert’s character in “KKBB” got his ass handed to him more times than I could count.
    For anyone who’s interested, here’re some more of my comments on the film:
    http://moviegoerconfessions.blogspot.com/2013/05/theatrical-review-iron-man-3.html

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