Director: Shane Black
After coming off strong in The Avengers, I was expecting Iron Man to be as epic, or slightly less than epic as the movie. Iron Man was great but I felt a little skeevy about Iron Man 2, so I expected the third to redeem the sequel. The third movie was a good one, albeit it did not live up to any of its predecessors, both the original and the sequel. Nor did it live up to the standards The Avengers already set in, considering that the movies are now slightly angled towards the story for The Avengers 2. To be honest, the plot is a bit surreal as The Avengers (technically thinking about it), but it's the out of the world crisis thinking that may have placed Iron Man 3 on the edge. Despite the seemingly redeeming third act, Iron Man 3 felt a little bit too off-beat, even for the liking of Tony Stark.
The events of the movie transpire after The Avengers, when Tony Stark is dead beat by his experiences. Him almost dying (and not even able to reach Pepper), the whole alien attack, basically the entire New York act, that he's not getting any sleep and to top it off, is prone to anxiety attacks. In spite of that, Stark faces off with a new terrorist, Mandarin, who has a vendetta against the President of the United States. When Happy gets too close to discovering something important, it leads Tony Stark to get involved. The clues eventually lead him to Adrian Killian, the genius behind the think tank, a program that allows DNA regeneration, making the user invinsible to getting injured. This time, Pepper Potts finds herself getting physically involved as characters from Stark's past resurface, also out to get revenge on him.
Don't get me wrong, I love Iron Man but that has got to be the most surreal plot ever. I don't understand why the Mandarin has to terrorize mainly the president, when all he could have done is to just attack Stark in the first place. Why go through all that trouble if all you really want is one person? Why the terrorist? And what is the lesson about? Even the revenge side of things is rather shallow. Why capture Stark? Why capture Pepper? Why wait 10 years? The real villains in the movie are shallow characters with no justification as to why they are doing such things. Despite being played by rather likeable personalities, there's no villainy depth in their characters.
I don't have much words for Ben Kingsley, as he was used as a puppet, which entrusted him with absolute no danger at all. I actually feel that he was wasted talent in here, that his character could have been put to better use. Then there's Guy Pearce and Rebecca Hall. Guy Pearce has got to be the silliest villain in the Iron Man franchise. Not only does his character have no substance, but he comes off doing a dragon-like impersonation, which is frankly hilarious. I knew his program regenerates DNA but I didn't know it can make you spew fire like a dragon too! Rebecca Hall comes a close second as a silly villain. She knows what was happening, she has a formula that she never perfected and when it comes to getting closer to doing the job, she backs off? Does she still have inner desire for Stark? Why didn't this come to play when they were torturing Pepper Potts with their DNA program? Even after her sudden demise, none of the issues she brought up were answered or cleared in any way. Was it all revenge for that one night stand and for not showing up at the rooftop?
Even Stark's thinking is rather off-beat, entrusting a kid to do an important task. It seems out of character for him, as he comes off with trust issues but when he met this kid, he gave important instructions, and it was just that; he trusted this kid. Stark was becoming sketchy, but he managed to redeem himself in the final act. He was able to get a bit of his Iron Man/Tony Stark mojo back and do what he's supposed to do. Also, Jarvis was a little bit kooky, but it doesn't really explain why he was malfunctioning...and why he would be connected to another network, if that's the case. I mean technically only the government was using the AIM program, and Jarvis is a computer who has been perfect in every step of the way, so why the malfunction? Are the effects Tony experience also experienced by Jarvis as well. A program imitating the conditions of the user? That's somethin new.
If something positive was going to come out here, it'll have to be that Pepper Potts had more of a physical role involved. Instead of being her usual Potts self, she got involved in the action (which I think made Gwyneth Paltrow want a Pepper Potts movie, but no!). I guess it was better to see her do something besides run Stark Enterprises. She got to experience what it was like doing Iron Man's job: operating the suit, and ultimately saving someone you love. Granted she did most of that in another silly way, but at least it's something different from her usual Potts role.
As I've mentioned, the third act was the redeeming act, as we get to see Iron Man, refreshed from his tainted memory and do what he does in his suit: saving people and fighting the bad guys. There is of course, the sky dive, and the boat fighting sequence with all the suits. Though the action sequences were mostly CGI-made, I guess it was the feat of seeing Stark jumping from one place to another, changing suits like he's shredding skin like a snake. With the events that has transpired, I wonder what direction will they take Iron Man/Tony Stark in The Avengers 2.
All in all, I don't think Iron Man lived up to its predecessors, but it didn't fail to give viewers a good time at the movies as well. It showed a bit more of Tony Stark's human side, rather than the metal he puts himself in every day. Robert Downey Jr embodies the role, and it's pretty much the cinema draw to big figures. It's something that I wouldn't watch over and over again, and if I'd want my Iron Man fix, I'd resort to the first movie, The Avengers, or even Iron Man 2.