Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Review: Iron Man 3

by Oli Price

The Iron Legion
(source: marvelcinematicunivese.wikia.com)
It's taken me a while to write this review because I'm a busy chap and I know that many of you might have seen the new Iron Man film, and, if you haven't, you really should have by now. So, if you haven't seen the film, hopefully this article will inspire you to do so.
If, for some reason, you have been living in a cave since 2008, and haven't seen any of the Marvel films that culminated last year in the Avengers movie, which made $1.5 billion at the worldwide box-office, Iron Man is the superhero alter-ego of “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” Tony Stark, played perfectly by Robert Downey Junior. Whereas the previous two instalments of the franchise were directed by Jon Favreau, Iron Man 3 was directed by Shane Black, who worked with RDJ on the cult hit Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang. Black is also notorious for at one time being the highest paid scriptwriter in Hollywood after he wrote the plot for the Lethal Weapon movies. This explains why Iron Man 3’s script is so tight; the dialogue allows the plot to progress at a tenacious pace. Black’s writing allows for scenes of extreme tension and drama, followed by light-hearted comedy seconds later, which I particularly enjoyed as it kept the same tempo as the awesome Avengers Assemble.
Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin
(source: totalfilm.com)
That’s not to say that the up-beat tempo and aura of suspense are due solely to Black’s writing and directing. The casting for the third film has been brilliant, in particular Ben Kingsley who plays the mysterious antagonist, The Mandarin. Kingsley can switch from being terrifyingly intense to side-splittingly hilarious. He also uses his voice to great effect in racking up the tension in the movie. The line from the trailer, “You’ll never see me coming” is much creepier in the cinema. Furthermore, Guy Pearce’s character, Aldrich Killian is wonderfully understated at the beginning of the film, only to reveal later how sinister his character is.
Of course, Robert Downey Junior is once again staggeringly good at playing a more human Tony Stark. This is an interesting choice by Black as it differs from the Iron Man we’ve seen in previous outings, as Iron Man has hitherto seemed untouchable as the armour always lasts just long enough to defeat his enemies or there is always one more missile he can fire. However, in Iron Man 3, Stark is a much more vulnerable character, as the events of the Avengers film have left him with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is coupled with the film's villain attacking his home and leaving him with his back against the wall, with a damaged, faulty suit and only his wits to get him out of danger.

The film had a $200 million budget which is put to good use in the incredible action sequences; one scene, in which Iron Man performes a daring mid-air rescue of passangers falling from the president's plane, which has been attacked, is particularly thrilling and made even more eye-catching when watched in 3D. The final showdown with the villain is one of the best action sequences I've ever seen, as Stark brings in an army of remotely-controlled suits that he calls the “Iron Legion”.
However, this film is not just your average superhero punch-up; it goes into more character depth than any previous Iron Man film, showing the emotional toll that being Iron Man has not only taken on Tony but on his relationship with Pepper Potts, played by Gwyneth Paltrow (who is even actually likeable in this film, as she doesn’t just whine all the way through it). In addition,  Don Cheadle’s character Rhodey is explored in more depth, torn between his duty to the United States military and his loyalty to his friend Stark.
Despite being bought by Disney this Marvel film hasn’t been dumbed down in order to appeal to kids, and, despite the Iron Legion being a blatant opportunity to sell more action figures, I’m not complaining about that because more Iron Man suits is, in my book, a good thing, because, well, they’re cool. Even the mid-film sequence in which Tony is aided by a sarcastic kid called Harley doesn’t ruin the film, although the same Disney forced element has spoilt many others.
However, my favourite part of the whole film, what really sets Iron Man 3 head and shoulders above most superhero flicks and pushes it up into Dark Knight Rises and Watchmen territory, is the film's plot twist, which has angered some devout Iron Man fans as it differs somewhat from the canonical plotline. However, it genuinely surprised me and upped the pace of the film even more.
So, to sum up: Iron Man 3, in my opinion, is arguably better than the first Iron Man, certainly better than the sequel (which I still enjoyed, by the way) and perhaps even on a level footing with the Avengers movie. I urge you to go see this movie because, if you’ll forgive the pun, it’s a cast-iron hit.


  1. I really hated this film. I loved the first two, but loathed this one. The change in director is extremely obvious, from the terrible jokes (that make the whole film lose momentum very quickly) to the kid side-kick (which is so horribly Disney) who seems to have intelligence and wit far beyond his years, which is highly annoying. The Mandarin was a huge let down too, and despite the film being called 'darker' the whole thing felt like a cheap comedy. If there's a fourth film I really hope it's better than this.


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