In 2008 Marvel would begin their successful Marvel Cinematic Universe series with the release of Iron Man. When I first heard of the Iron Man film while on holiday in the Netherlands in 2007, my immediate thought was “Oh No”. My only knowledge of Iron Man at the time was a combination of two 1990’s cartoon series, one of which was an Avengers Cartoon and the other was the rather superb Spiderman 1994 cartoon series. When the film was finally released in 2008 I went to see it and phrased the film as the first proper rival to The X-Men Films (but still did not beat them, the only comic character film series to beat the X-Men films in my opinion is the Fantastic Dark Knight Trilogy by Christopher Nolan). Well following this film in 2010 came Iron Man 2 which I also enjoyed but was a bit disappointed that Terence Howard was replaced for Don Cheadle. I do feel that Howard was more like a friend to stark than Don Cheadle was. Now three years has passed and now we finally have Iron Man 3. Between 2010 and Now we have had more Marvel Films in the Cinematic Universe range which include Thor, the unwatched Captain America (Unwatched as in I refused to watch it), The Incredible Hulk and The Obvious Avengers.
Since the first trailer was shown for Iron Man 3 (or Iron Man Three as the film continuously demands) I have been worried about the film, worried as I was with Transformers Three, sorry Transformers 3 for replacing Megan Fox’s character. The trailer to me looked a lot like, as you can guess from the title of this review, The Dark Knight Rises. The trailer also seemed to be misleading to the viewer with the Mandarin talking over some scenes which caused a lot of confusion to me. The other worry I had about this film is the pre-stated Obvious Avengers film; Yes, we all know it happened. Yes there would be some references to it, but the Iron Man trilogy (?) has its own story and can’t and shouldn’t rely on that film for its plot. My worry was that Iron Man 3, sorry, Iron Man Three would be nothing more than a constant verbal repeat of The Avengers and as such, RUINED. Well, I have seen the film now (Iron Man 3, sorry, Iron Man Three) and so let’s take a look at this film.
The Film opens up In Sweden with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) at a Swedish conference with a woman named Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall). While in Sweden he meets a man hoping to have Stark in his Think Tank. The man is called Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). However Stark turns him down. In the present day Stark is having emotional issues with what happened in The Avengers (See). He is having Friction with his Girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and has built several Iron Man suits as some form of Therapy. He is also having trouble sleeping. War Machine has been re-painted and re-branded as The Iron Patriot. Meanwhile a Terrorist named the Mandarin is causing issues to The United States of America. Potts has a meeting with an assumed former flame, Aldrich Killian who invites her to help out with his Extremis Project; she turns him down. Happy Hogan (John Favreau) gets caught in a bomb blast at the Hollywood Chinese Theatre after a brief fight with a supposed henchman (James Badge Dale) of Killian. The Blast is reported to have been the work of the Mandarin.
Stark issues a threat to the Mandarin. Stark has a meeting with Maya and while having this meeting The Mandarin Attacks. Stark manages to get Potts and Maya out while he takes his latest Iron Man suit and goes into hiding. He arrives in a town in Tennessee and receives help from a Kid named Harley (Ty Simpkins). While in town, Stark finds out information about what he believes to be an attack by the Mandarin, he is later attacked by a woman who can supposedly be invincible and heal parts of her body thanks to some strange powers. He eventually defeats her and leaves town.
Colonel Rhodes (Don Cheadle) dressed in the Iron Patriot armor goes looking for the Mandarin after another wave of attacks from the terrorist. He finds his henchmen who thanks to the same powers as the woman who went after Stark. The Iron Patriot is overpowered and sent back to The Mandarin. Stark discovers where the Mandarin is hiding and goes looking for him, who turns out not to be what he thinks he is. Tony is captured by Killian and is shown that Killian has Pepper and is told about what The Extremis Virus is. Killian reveals that he is The Mandarin and kills Maya Hansen and leaves to deal with the Iron Patriot costume. Tony Stark manages to break free and meets back with Rhodes. The Iron Patriot costume heads for Air Force one to capture The President and while warning the Vice President of the intentions, it turns out that the Vice President does not inform the President for specific reasons.
With the President now captured, Stark and Rhodes head for a freight ship that Killian is on. Stark calls for his other Iron Man Suits which make up an Air Force of robotic suits to attack Killian’s men who all have The Extremis virus in them. The suits are successful in dealing with the soldiers and Rhodes saves the President and takes back the Iron Patriot armor. Stark goes after Killian and tries to save Pepper when she accidently falls and supposedly dies. Stark fights Killian with a range of Iron Man suits and puts Killian in one of them hoping to destroy him. It fails but then Pepper arrives and kills Killian thanks to a combination of Iron Man suits and The Extremis Virus that had been pumped into her. With Killian now dead Stark destroys all his suits in an attempt to spend more time with Pepper.
In the aftermath of the film, Stark gives Harley lots of technologically equipment, Hogan wakes from a coma, Pepper has the Virus removed from her system and Stark has surgery to remove the shrapnel from his heart. He throws away the mini ark reactor in his chest as he no longer needs it and sets off to begin a new life while also acknowledging that he will always be Iron Man.
Iron Man 3 is nicely brought together with Good direction, nice music and brilliant acting. The films main stars continue the paths that they have set in the previous films and build on those. Happy Hogan is not just a comic sidekick like he has been; he is getting more involved and becomes a pivotal part of the plot. Killian (not the character of the same name that appears in The Running Man) is a nicely round-up bad guy and to begin with you are unsure of his intentions until they are revealed. I do think however that Maya Hansen could have had more of a part in the film as in total she appears in no more than about 4 scenes. With her part being that of mystery and in some case a possible major player of the film, she does not get the air time that the character needs in order to explain anything at all. The Mandarin was nicely used but even after the odd reveal halfway through it is a shame that he is no longer referenced. While he is no longer needed in the end, it is sort of anti-climactic and a bit of a shame.
The Main characters though (as suggested) are the main show to me. While I still prefer Howard to Cheadle, Cheadle has improved his character from Iron Man 2. In the first Iron Man it is seen how good and important Rhodes is as a friend to Stark and in the second film it is not really shown, however in this film that improves with scenes including where they are having dinner together. I am disappointed however at The Iron Patriot as while it is very and rather obviously patriotic, it does not give a proper sense to Iron Man’s sidekick. Iron Man is the hero and does the fighting while War Machine (which is by far a better name) brings the Firepower as the name suggests. The Iron Patriot on the other hand does not suggest anything about the character that he supposedly is with a name like that. The only time when something like this occurs is towards the end of the film in the docks scene.
Is it me or does anyone else think that Jarvis deserves more credit than he gets (if he gets any at all)? Voiced nicely by Paul Bettany he is one of Stark most important sidekicks and assistants if not his most important. Jarvis does get some more air time in this film than in the past, which I am very pleased about. I wonder if there is cross over potential in the future and see if it is possible for a romance theme between Jarvis and GLaDOS.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s character is one of the things about the Iron Man films that I look forward too. Her character may have been a support character at the very beginning but has matured into one of the series’ most powerful characters. She started as an assistant and in this film became a hero. She is also a symbol of how important it is to have a Very Good Friend, especially one to talk to every now and again. Alongside her we of course have Robert Downey Jr. playing the part of Iron Man. Like Gwyneth Paltrow, his character has also evolved from the obnoxious billionaire into a truly good person. He does spend a lot of time in this film coming to terms with what has happened in his life and he plays those parts well (even though they are sort of down played and quick). He has developed a caring side to him and has realized who and what are important to him and is a great example in films of someone successfully turning their life around. Add Potts into the mix and you do have a Great on-screen relationship, even though there appears to be less tennis matches and arguments. It would be interesting to see where the relationship goes from here.
One of my main issues and worries about the film was the change of Director. I think that Jon Favreau had done an excellent job with the previous 2, sorry, two, and so was a bit down heartened when it was announced that he decided not to direct the third. I was even more worried when I found out about the new director, Shane Black. I had not heard about him before (much like Favreau) and did some research and was worried when I discovered that he had only directed one film previously and it was all the way back in 2005 with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (which also starred Robert Downey Jr.). This did not look promising and did not show confidence. After watching Iron Man Three though I can see that I did not have to worry as the film was very enjoyable and in some respects helped the film by not being a run of the mill sequel and in some case may have improved what it could have been. It would have been interesting though to see what Favreau would have done if he was directing it.
I am not really going to mention the music as it did not really take much of a point in the film in my opinion. I will say this though, the End Credits are the third best end credits for a Marvel Film after X-Men: First Class (First) and Thor (Second). The Special effects in this film are Awesome, with most of the special effects and by far the best coming from the special effects used for the suits. The scene with the fall from the Airplane was nicely shot and a really enjoyable clip. When it came to the dog fight with the suits, I like how they all appeared to be synced in combat. I also enjoyed the different styles of Iron Man suits; in particular the big blue (Mark 38) one that becomes a sort of building jack, so it is a shame that Stark had to destroy it as I would be have been more than happy to have given it a home (Even though I have already designed in my head what my Iron Man suit would look like). I also liked how the films Movie poster showed the evolution of the Iron Man suit over the course of the series.
Iron Man 3 Is actually a Very Good film. It does have a nice combination of being a heavy Action film while also being very Clever at the same time while also dealing with Personal Emotions, something that Action films rarely do as they can only do one of those previous things and have reference to the other, not all three. Iron Man accomplishes all three with equal footing on each one. It also, like all other Marvel Films to date reveals more of the universe of the comics but instead of only a bit here and there it has a double if not triple dose of references and pointers.
While Iron Man Three is all of the above, it still feels like it is a Marvel response to The Dark Knight Rises. There are several parts that I can easily touch on; The Mandarin is a lot like Bane as in he is a recognizable face and holds the Country (Gotham City) prisoner through several bad deeds. Harley getting lots of technology at the end is a lot like Joseph Gordon-Levitt inheriting the Bat Cave. Stark getting attacked at home in some sense is like Batman fighting Bane underneath Wayne Tower. Stark being held prisoner in the enemies’ lair is like Bruce Wayne being held in the underground prison complex. The Enemy having a bit of a switch at the end meaning that the main villain for most of the film is no longer the main villain. And The Hero has to rise up from a bad incident to become the hero again. So in a way I was right, this is not really a third Iron Man film, it is Iron Man Rises.
Despite the stated above flaw, Iron Man 3 is a really enjoyable film. While I was really unsure and worried about the film, I can see that I did not need to be as the film proves that a Superhero film is not just about the Action. I mean when the film ended I did feel a bit like Bruce Banner did (WOOPS). The film brings the series to a nice ending (not as Good as the ending for The Dark Knight Trilogy though) at least for now. While the series may continue in the future, for now we have reached a Good ending for it and it and now we can enjoy what other treats Marvel has for us until they bring back the Flagship Character of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iron Man Three is a Fantastic Film.