Iron Man 3
Following a near-death experience in New York City, billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) is left in a state of post traumatic stress and spends his days in his workshop constructing elaborate suits of armour. Meanwhile, a slimy geneticist (Guy Pearce) is trying to wheedle his way into the affections of Stark’s girlfriend Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) as an enigmatic terrorist known as The Mandarin is launching increasingly daring attacks on the US.
After the spectacular events of The Avengers movie, Iron Man 3 was left in a very precarious position—how can the ante be upped any further when your last film included a full-scale attack on New York City by alien invaders? Action-wise, it’s a tough act to follow. So Iron Man 3 took an entirely different approach and focused on character development; it was a risky move for a comic-book movie but it pays off perfectly. That isn’t to say that this outing is light on action, not by a long shot, but the jeopardy faced by our hero here is more personal than epic.
Director Shane Black and star Robert Downey Jr rekindle the magic they demonstrated in 2005’s underrated Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. It harkens back to classic action movies like Black’s own Lethal Weapon. (The interplay between Stark and Don Cheadle’s Iron Patriot is reminiscent of the back and forth’s of Lethal Weapon’s Riggs and Murtaugh.) One of the best things about this movie is that it’s very funny, which in a world of increasingly dark and gritty action movies is refreshing. After all, a movie that boasts villains that can breathe fire can’t afford to take itself too seriously.
There is a danger of veering into hokey waters when Stark takes on a kid sidekick, but this danger is averted when the child sets up some of the movie’s best lines.
As per usual, Downey Jr delights with his snappy delivery; you believe him when he tells you he’s a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist. The old damsel in distress routine is turned on its head, with Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper being more likeable than usual in this outing.
The special effects of the Iron Man movies are always first class and this is no exception. This time around, Iron Man is equipped with over 40 suits of armour and when they all come out to play, it’s jaw dropping. The final set-piece leaves you reeling.
A complaint that was often levelled at the first two Iron Man films was that the final battles of both films were identical, but the makers have departed nicely from that here. This is due in no small part to the acting talent which composes the villainous contingent. Guy Pearce oozes with smarm as Aldritch Killian, an ambitious scientist with a long-held grudge against Stark, while the movie’s big baddie is played by none other than Sir Ben Kingsley, who is curiously named The Mandarin (he is neither Chinese nor a diminutive orange).
For the closer of the trilogy, if the Iron Man franchise is to stop here, they’ve ended it excellently. An all-round enjoyable film, Iron Man 3 is brimming with laughs, visually delightful, and loaded with action.