This third installment in the Iron Man franchise takes on a very Tony-centric approach, and as such, we see a lot of Robert Downey Jr without the tin suit, something reminiscent of the first movie -- heck, even more than the first movie! It was a clever treatment in which we get to see Stark as the real hero, with or without the suit. It was nice to see him make do of what he has, to see gadgets fail, and to once more bear witness to his creative genius.
Ben Kingsley as "The Mandarin."
While the film attempts an introspective ride, it stops itself short of becoming too dark each time, what with Stark's funny and irreverent quips and one-liners. Even in the supposedly bleakest of circumstances, and with a mysterious and portentous villain in The Mandarin that he has to deal with with practically nothing, you can always count on Stark's cockiness to prevail. This is, after all, no Dark Knight.
The film was off to a slow start but eventually picked up pace and really wasn't a drag overall. Director Shane Black did a fairly good job with just about the right mix of action, "dramatic" moments, and witty dialogue. That scene about Iron Man saving a bunch of people who were blown off Air Force One was just beautifully shot and perfectly executed.
In the acting department, Downey proved once again that he is Tony Stark. And although I'm not a superfan of his, I must concede that no one else can take on the role but him. Ben Kingsley, who effectively portrayed the coldblooded menace of The Mandarin, likewise proved to be a delight. A real delight! Can't say much for Guy Pearce and Don Cheadle but this might be the first time I haven't been seriously annoyed with Gwyneth Paltrow. Just a bit.
I'm surprised I wasn't too annoyed with Paltrow here.
Iron Man 3 is easily a huge improvement over that misfire of a sequel in Iron Man 2 and is at par with, if not better, than the original movie. It is the movie that explains that, come what may, with or without the armor, Tony Stark is Iron Man. Although it doesn't really try hard to keep things grounded in reality, it is satisfyingly entertaining and worth your buck nonetheless.
And is with all movies Marvel, stay until after the credits.
A few post thoughts, though (Skip this if you don't want spoilers):
- I understand Thor being in a different realm but don't Captain America, Nick Fury, and the rest of the bunch watch TV? I know this is an Iron Man movie but after all that bravado and teamwork in The Avengers, why haven't they come to Stark's aid at all, even if they've parted ways and proceeded with their own separate lives? Bruce Banner listening to Stark and all his ramblings? Where has he been living, under a rock?
Mark XLII. Is Tony in there? Watch the movie to find out.
- Doesn't Ben Kingsley's character have any relatives at all who could identify him? Friends? Fellow drug addicts? Have all of them been made to sign non-disclosure agreements? Or have they all been killed before he took the job? How about those girls? Still, he was fun to watch.
- I thought Meryl Streep was The Iron Lady. Turns out they went for someone else with abs. And who can beat The Mandarin.
- And Pepper's clothes don't burn, too? Wow!
- Why didn't Stark just summon all his other Iron Man suits from the start? But I must admit, I did like the portrayal of him as a hero even without the armor. It adds drama.
But that's just me. Just go watch the movie.