[Review] Iron Man 3
It’s an understatement to say that IRON MAN 3 is one of the most anticipated entry this summer (beside DC’s Man of Steel and Star Trek Into Darkness, if you ask me). The minute Marvel announced that Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) Phase One had been concluded with ‘The Avengers’ and the sequel to 2010’s ‘Iron Man 2’ will mark the beginning of Phase Two, anticipation greatly builds. Regardless of how the last adventure of Tony Stark ended, people would want to see more about the aftermath of the incident in ‘Avengers’. So does the end product truly deliver?
Tony Stark is back with his latest adventure, and to put it simple, he was traumatized on what happened in New York. Despite of his seemingly unlimited wealth and brilliant mind second-to-none, he saw that he was nothing compared to the demi-gods, aliens, and monster invading his world. The battle had scarred not only his flesh but also his soul, as he constantly underwent panic attack every time someone mentioned about that ‘huge black hole in the sky’. And just like it couldn’t get any worse, a new foe appears, in the form of Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley), an international terrorist who threatened to wreak havoc on the land of America with his enhancement drug Extremis. Gwyneth Paltrow reprised her role as the lovely Pepper Potts, as well as Don Cheadle returning as Colonel James Rhodes (with his latest suit, ‘Iron Patriot’). Another additions to the cast were the mysterious Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce); Tony’s one-night-stand from the past, Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall); and Harley (Ty Simpkins) a brilliant boy who was befriended by Tony during his retreat.
Iron Man 3 marks the reunion of star Robert Downey Jr. and director Shane Black after their collaboration in 2005’s ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ (which was Black’s directorial debut). The previous two ‘Iron Man’ films were helmed by Jon Favreau (who also starred as Tony Stark’s personal bodyguard, Happy Hogan) and I can say they can’t be handled any better. Favreau favored his films to have a less serious and much lighter tone (his character is one among many other attempt to keep it that way) compared to Christopher Nolan’s ambitiously dark and gloomy ‘Dark Knight’ films. Black himself was known to be a writer-turned-actor specialized in comedy/action genre. Thus it won’t be that hard for him to assume Favreau’s position. However, you can really tell from ‘Iron Man 3’ Black injected a huge – and if I might say, too much – dose of comedy one might assume he just watched more of a comedy rather than a superhero film. It’s like a condiment you put on a dish – too much amount will diminish the intended flavor. Black failed in what Favreau truly did best – balancing between the fun and the seriousness of the film’s tone.
However, there’s no denying Black’s Iron Man 3 had something we didn’t see in Favreau’s Iron Mans. For the first time ever, you’ll be able to see Tony Stark battling his way out against the enemies– soldier enhanced with the Extremis – relying more on his pure wit to survive rather than his armor. Even at some point, you’ll realize Tony Stark is the adult version of Macaulay Culkin’s character in Home Alone, as he prepared traps and hand-made weaponry to infiltrate, Ethan Hunt-style. Oh, and have I mentioned the major plot twist at the middle of the movie will render you speechless? It’s like the best – or worst – twist a superhero film ever had. For those who hate change, I don’t think you’ll like this movie.
‘Iron Man 3’’s strongest suit (notice the pun) was in fact, the performance of its all-star casts. I just can’t imagine a better actor to play Aldrich Killian than the all-brilliant Guy Pearce. Pearce knew his way around the character – how he was supposed to be someone who seemed to always have something under his sleeve. I won’t say much about Ben Kingsley as it might be too spoiler-y (to put it bluntly, if you came to see Iron Man’s greatest nemesis, you’ll go home very disappointed) but let’s just say given his limited screen time as the Mandarin, he was in every way, marvelous. But still, the biggest pat on the back should be given to Robert Downey Jr. Tony here was different than Tony in ‘The Avengers’, or even Tony in ‘Iron Man’. This was a Tony ripped and torn apart by his trauma, he can’t sleep for months, he was in constant paranoia, and he easily got emotional upon the word ‘New York’. And RDJ made it all seemingly very believable.
To say the least, Iron Man 3 promised as much as any other Marvel film when it comes to special effect. Tony’s armors – notice the ‘s’ at the end – are much more real than how it was depicted in the first movie, and the finale will blow you away. The conversion to 3D was done in post-production, which for some experts never truly lived up to the beauty of 3D itself. I myself watched the regular version of the movie and believe me, you won’t miss much. They have yet to make a money’s worth experience of a superhero film, and Iron Man 3 was no exception. Let’s just say if I were you, I’d put my extra money somewhere else.
Iron Man 3 provides a huge chunk of fun. It has all the ingredients to be the perfect weekend movie: flair, action, and romance, despite it got rather messy and tiring during the second half. Oh, and it feels more like a closure to Avengers rather than a prologue to Avengers 2, unless you count the post-credit scene (with Mark Ruffalo reprising his role as Dr. Bruce Banner) as an opener to a much bigger tale to tell in Phase Two. All in all, Black brought his own interpretation and it’s up to us whether we like his version, or we think we know better about the character.