Durf Reviews: IRON MAN 3

Durf  Reviews: IRON MAN 3

Marvel's Phase 2 has officially begun with Iron Man 3! Does it live up to the hype, or does it disappoint? Read on for my take on the highly anticipated threequel... SPOILERS AHEAD!

After months of waiting and building up excitement, Marvel's Phase 2 is here with Iron Man 3. The hype has been continuously building and growing over the months, and fans have been chomping at the bit to see it. This third installment follows the very successful Iron Man and Iron Man 2 and looks to replicate their success. While Iron Man is universally regarded as the best Marvel Studios solo film, Iron Man 2 definitely inspires a myriad of different opinions and is regarded by most to be Marvel Studios' weakest film to date. So will Iron Man 3 live up to the billing of the first installment, or will it end up more like the second installment? Well, let's find out...


One thing that has been undeniably true of the Iron Man franchise(and Marvel's movies in general) is that the cast has been great, and this one is no different. Paul Bettany is back as Jarvis, and is fantastic as always. In a somewhat minor role, William Sadler gives a good performance as President Ellis. Jon Favreau is not in the movie for very long, but does make good use of his screen time and is pretty good. Rebecca Hall turns in a decent performance as Maya Hansen, even if the role is slightly limited. Don Cheadle is much better as James "Rhodey" Rhodes in this one, and is actually quite funny. He also has much better chemistry this time around with Robert Downey Jr. Although her role is fairly minor for most of the movie, Gwyneth Paltrow is great as always as Pepper Potts. Newcomer Ty Simpkins surprisingly holds his own as Harley and has very good chemistry with Downey. The relationship between the two is very well done and at times very humorous. James Badge Dale's Savin is a very menacing and deadly villain, and seems like a legitimate threat to Tony Stark in this one. Ben Kingsley is fantastic as both "The Mandarin" and Trevor Slattery. As "The Mandarin" Kingsley is menacing and seems like a legitimate threat, and as Trevor Slattery he is very funny and entertaining. Guy Pearce is great as Aldrich Killian, and is the best villain in the Iron Man series to date. Pearce is very convincing as the menacing villain and presents a very challenging opponent for Iron Man. However, the real star of the show is of course Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark/Iron Man. As always, his performance as the genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist is perfect. He hits the full spectrum with the character. At times he is hilarious and other times very serious and dramatic. It almost seems now that Downey has become the living embodiment of Tony Stark.

Aside from the cast, there are a lot of things to like about this movie. Although it can be a bit much at times, the humor is very good and the movie is hilarious. Even the end credits scene with Bruce Banner is funny, and it's nice to see Bruce cameo as well. The references to The Avengers and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were nice and done well without trying to force it down our throats. Tony's paranoia and trauma resulting from the events of The Avengers was well done and was believable as something that would really happen after events of those nature. It is made quite clear that Tony now knows that there are far greater dangers than he even knows about and that he feels the need to be prepared for anything. Even though initially I was against it, Pepper getting Extremis was actually pretty cool and allowed her to get in on the action a bit, and that is pretty cool. Harley and Tony's relationship is something that is well done with some great funny moments and almost at times feels like a father-son relationship and friendship. As with every Marvel movie, the effects in this movie are great, especially the Extremis effects. Savin and Killian make very good villains. All the action scenes are great and are the best in the trilogy. The mansion attack and the Air Force One rescue scenes are great, but the crown jewel of the action scenes is the finale. Perhaps the best part of the scene is the use of all the Iron Man suits and seeing them all in action. In the scene, all the Extremis soldier versus suits fights are very good and at times brutal. Finally we have a good final fight against a villain in an Iron Man movie. It is the longest and best fight of the trilogy and is a pretty satisfying ending battle. Overall, the finale is the second best action scene in a Marvel Studios film to date for my money.

However, not everything about this one is great. How Tony is able to call the Mark 42 suit to himself and assemble it is never really explained. I don't think that everything needs to be spelled out for the audience, but some further explanation for this would have been nice. AIM is name checked a few times, but we never get to see them and their facilities. Also, their connection to the government and the Iron Patriot armor is never really fleshed out. The motivations for Killian to become the villain are murky and fairly weak. His motivations don't really go beyond making money off of a war by selling things to both sides. Ben Kingsley's role is actually fairly small and he seems wasted in this one. One disappointing aspect of the finale of the film is the lack of demonstration of the abilities of the various suits. Also, Tony does not really use that many of the suits during the battle and the ones he does use, the abilities of the suits aren't really shown off. There a few things that do need further discussion including War Machine/Iron Patriot, the ending of the film, and "The Mandarin."

From the marketing of the movie, you would think that the role that War Machine/Iron Patriot plays is significant. Well, that is really not the case. Not only does Rhodey not put on the traditional War Machine armor, he barely does anything in the Iron Patriot armor. The only action that Rhodey sees in the suit blowing open some doors while looking for "The Mandarin" and to take President Ellis away from the final battle in the movie. Most of his time is spent looking for "The Mandarin" and being embarrassed by bad intelligence when he arrives at the wrong site. Also, he is made the butt of a joke about his password for his armor's software. Basically, he is made into a giant joke in the movie and doesn't fight anyone or anything in the movie. He doesn't even participate in the final battle, which is a huge missed opportunity and a disappointment. Overall, the lack of War Machine/Iron Patriot action is a big disappointment and a large strike against this movie.

Even though the finale is spectacular and well done, the ending has it's problems. The destruction of the suits is very disappointing and confusing. It seems like a waste to have Tony build all the suits just to use them once and then destroy them. We may not see any of those suits and what they can do again in the MCU as a result. This begs the question, what was the point of having all those suits anyways? Also, giving up being Iron Man seemed out of character for Tony and reckless even for him. After all he has seen and his pledge from the first film to protect the people, it really does not make sense that he would take out his arc reactor and give up being Iron Man, even if it is to be with Pepper. Taking the Extremis out of Pepper didn't make sense either, as it was a way to make it much easier to protect her. Tony wouldn't need to always be there since Pepper could protect herself. That really sticks out as a flaw in logic for the movie. However, chances are Tony won't give up being Iron Man long and will come back soon. He may even rebuild some or even most of the suits, as I'm sure he kept the designs for all of the suits he destroyed. Still, the ending is still a little disappointing due to the stated reasons above, despite the potential to correct these flaws in future movies.

The biggest problem with the movie however, is "The Mandarin." From the time we found out that he would be in the movie and saw the first trailer, we thought that he would have a large prescence in the movie and be a great villain. What happened instead? "The Mandarin" turned out to be nothing more than a bumbling, weak actor pretending to be a bad guy and being used by the real villain. This has to be one of the biggest slaps in the face in recent movie history. While the character of Trevor Slattery is funny, the destruction of "The Mandarin" is a travesty and a severe misstep for the movie. The potential of using Iron Man's greatest foe from the comics is completely wasted by not even attempting to continue on the path that the early parts of the movie set up for him. As disappointing as it would have been still to not have the trademark 10 rings, it still could have been great to have The Mandarin as he was set up early on in the movie. Instead the character is used as a joke and a throwaway gag. Aldirch Killian's reveal that he is actually "The Mandarin" is equally insulting and ill conceived. There is still the hope that the real Mandarin might still be out there, but there is a slim chance of that happening. This giant middle finger to the fans of the comics and is the one unforgivable flaw of the movie.

So, how does the movie stack up overall? While not on the level of Iron Man or The Avengers, this is still overall a pretty good movie. It is easily better than Iron Man 2 and a pretty successful third entry into the franchise. However, the flaws that it does have hold it back from being a truly great movie. If you go in with the expectations that this will be on the level of the first movie or The Avengers, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. If you just go in expecting a fun movie with great action and humor, you will be satisfied. Overall, it is a good entry into the MCU and the Iron Man franchise and a decent start to Marvel's Phase 2.

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