Tony Stark: Robery Downey Jr.
Pepper Potts: Gwyneth Paltrow
Col. James Rhodes: Don Cheadle
The Mandarin: Ben Kingsley
Aldrich Killian: Guy Pearce
Maya Hansen: Rebecca Hall
Happy Hogan: Jon Favreau
Directed by: Shane Black
Written by: Drew Pearce and Shane Black
Running Time: 130 minutes
Rated: PG-13 (for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief suggestive content)
After the success of last year’s The Avengers, the pressure was on Iron Man 3 to follow up what in the opinion of many comic fans as a true superhero masterpiece. Not only has Iron Man 3 lived up to the high expectations set by the Avengers, this was a film that succeeded in so many ways, delivering great twists, a detailed storyline and good action that kept many fans on the edge of their seats. With a new director taking the helm this time, new life is injected into the series and I actually thought it was very enjoyable. The action was great, the characters interacted amongst each other very well and the storyline was gripping, unpredictable and nicely paced. Iron Man 3 was by far the best film to follow up The Avengers as it nicely sets up the rest of the Marvel films to follow.
Usually one of my biggest beefs about movie trailers is that they give away all the best details about the movie, but that is not the case with Iron Man 3. Things are not what they seem, and just like the characters in the film… what we see isn’t really what’s going on. I’m not going to spoil anything, but those who complain about the storyline are the ones who just don’t get it. It’s complex, rich in character and one of the best I’ve see concocted in the Marvel films thus far. Wall to wall Iron Man action wasn’t going to cut it, which was one reason why Iron Man 2 was a little disappointing. This time out, the villain was more believable, was a true challenge for our hero and provided a threat that made us wonder if our hero really would survive. That my friends is how you make a great script, and this story had it all.
(Both Kingsley and Pearce give us villains that we thought even Iron Man couldn’t defeat…)
Having a good script is one thing, but you need a great cast to bring it all together, and this group of actors delivered. Robert Downey Jr. gave his best showing as Tony Stark so far, as he pretty much owned every scene he was in. Even when he’s walking into a bar wearing a ball cap, he’s got our full attention at all times. Don Cheadle has a more involved role as Col. Rhodes, as he and Tony work together to bring down a very formidable enemy. When Rhodes and Stark are working together, you have this very Lethal Weapon feel to it, which isn’t shocking since the director (Black) wrote the first two films of that series. It’s that kind of mentality between Stark and Rhodes who are friends that was missing from the first two films and it’s fleshed out a lot more this time around. Stark’s relationship with Rhodes seemed to develop more than his romantic involvement with Potts. She could have died and the film would have chugged along fine without hesitation. Bros before hoes I guess, right?
Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce were both very convincing in their villainous roles, bringing a challenge to the screen that made for a challenge for our hero to overcome. Stark is cocky at the beginning of the film, a mistake that is capitalized on quickly as Mandarin doesn’t hesitate to strike when Stark is under the assumption that he is untouchable. It’s a hard lesson for any hero to learn, but it was nice for someone to bring Stark back to reality such as it’s done quite early in this gripping film. There is also a great deal of humor to offset the dark moments of the film, many of which are surprising and deliciously entertaining.
(Stark has a few spares. He’d been saving them for a rainy day…)
Overall, Iron Man 3 was just the right film to follow up the billion dollar juggernaut that was ‘The Avengers’. I have my doubts that any of the other hero films could have stood up to that standard as well or as successfully as this film has. The story was amazing, complex and not too over the top… the action was very cool and also not over the top, and while I am sure many fans will find small things to quibble about, this movie was in my opinion a fine addition to the Iron Man franchise. I’m eager to see more… much more!
Rating: 9 (Out of 10)