Does Iron Man 3 make up for the disappointment of the second movie? We take a look at the latest exploits of the “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.”
The first thing to say is that if you've got half a brain, you know who the villain is and you have a broad idea of what the threat is from the first ten minutes onwards. However, the story is done so well that you can still lose yourself in the film.
Put simply, the next Bin Laden has emerged, and is callling himself "The Mandarin" (why, I don't know, since he is very clearly not Chinese, is played by Ben Kingsley, and looks very like the stereotypical Islamic fundamentalist). Tony makes the mistake of calling his bluff, and regrets it.
Something I really liked about the film is that there are still callbacks to The Avengers, and acknowledgement that we're in the same universe - humanity is now trying to deal with the proven existence of aliens. More than that, Stark himself is recovering from the experience; dying and being brought back to life are something that not even he can just brush off.
The most interesting thing is that for most of this film, we're seeing Tony Stark as Tony Stark - not Iron Man. He's without his suit, and more vulnerable than usual - though, as he said to Captain America, without the suit he is still a "genius billionaire playboy philanthropist", so he's not entirely jeapordised.
There's some really good character development for Pepper Potts and Colonel Rhodes, which I was very happy to see. Rhodes in particular gets a bit more screen time, as I think he's a likeable but much underused character and Don Cheadle portrays him well (though I still prefer Terrence Howard). There's also a great child actor, Ty Simpkins, who I recommend you look out for.
The script itself feels a lot more like The Avengers than the previous Iron Man films - there are more jokes, and a bit less tension, which may divide audiences (but I liked it). I noticed in the credits that Joss Whedon got "special thanks", so perhaps that's his influence.
A few of the reveals as the film drew to a close felt a bit rushed and not completed to me, but it's easily forgiven as they have given a lot of thought to the characters and their development.
I was hoping for a nice little stinger at the end that hinted at the next threat, or perhaps at a new need for The Avengers; but it's a humourous scene instead, plus the promise that Tony Stark will return.
It's a fun ride, and thoroughly enjoyable. 9/10
Watch the trailer here: