Josh Wilding Reviews: IRON MAN 3 3D
The UK embargo has FINALLY lifted! You read my brief thoughts on the Marvel Studios threequel after I saw it last week, but exactly how successfully does it follow in the footsteps of the masterpiece that was The Avengers? Hit the jump to find out!
Marvel sure weren’t kidding when they said that Iron Man 3 would put the spotlight back on Tony Stark! We spend an awful lot of time with the Avenger outside of his armour in perhaps the most personal movie yet from the studio. It's also almost certainly the best (in terms of their solo flicks that is...surely only The Avengers 2 will top The Avengers?). As it turns out, they couldn’t have found anyone better than Shane Black and Drew Pearce to inject some life into the fourth outing for the superhero as the writer and director deliver a funny, moving and action-packed adventure which actually feels an awful lot more like an epilogue to "Phase One" than the beginning of "Phase Two". However, if this is what we should expect from the build up to their next superhero ensemble, the next few years are going to be very, VERY good for comic book fans.
The Tony Stark we catch up with in Iron Man 3 is still feeling the effects of the battle of New York, something emphasised in a scene which sees him suffer from an anxiety attack so severe that he is forced to run to his armour for protection. This isn’t the fun loving playboy who drunkenly smashed up his mansion in Iron Man 2; this is a recluse who spends his days building suit after suit. I never like to give too much away about the plot of a film in my reviews, so I won’t go into too much more detail here, but as you will have already seen from the trailers, what gets Tony back in action is an attack from the Mandarin and the mysterious motivations of A.I.M.’s Aldrich Killian. Needless to say, there’s a lot more to both of these characters than meets the eye and there’s one gigantic twist in particular with the former which may not sit too well with the fans who are still complaining about him not having his ten magic rings! Regardless, the plot of Iron Man 3 is terrific and it’s hard to find any faults at all with the screenplay, unless you want to really nitpick. The dialogue is all fantastic and this is easily as funny, if not more so, than The Avengers. Extremis is handled a fair bit differently to the comic books, although there are more than enough nods – and the recreation of one of my favourite scenes from the Warren Ellis/Adi Granov storyline – to keep hardcore fans happy.
Iron Man 3 ends up being a great mash-up of genres, although there’s definitely an old school thriller vibe that Black brings to the movie to really make it stand out. We’ve seen Tony Stark go through a lot at this point, but this is the first movie in which it actually feels as if he’s having a real superhero adventure. The director also brings a lot of cool visual flares to the threequel and has an amazing grasp on all sorts of action sequences, no matter how big or small they may be. There’s no AC/DC this time around, but Black uses some great tracks and Brian Taylor’s score really comes into its own in the BIG moments. Visually, 3D is wasted on Iron Man 3. It’s a solid conversion, but there’s absolutely no need for it and it adds nothing to the movie at all. Still, if you have no other choice, take solace in the fact that it at least looks good. The visual effects are all top notch and there’s not so much as a single weak link in this respect. This is a damn good looking movie; something which you’ll be grateful for in the action-packed and downright incredible last act.
At this point, it should come as no surprise to learn that Robert Downey Jr. is fantastic as ever and he benefits from being able to show off a somewhat more serious side. The guy is a fantastic dramatic actor (see: Chaplin, Zodiac, The Soloist, etc.) and that’s on full display in Iron Man 3. Gwyneth Paltrow is also great and I simply can’t thank Black and Pearce enough for scrapping those Godawful “improv” scenes between her and RDJ. Don Cheadle (now rebranded as Iron Patriot) also can’t be faulted and he thankfully gets plenty of time to show off both the new suit and what a great action/comedy actor he is. It’s difficult to talk too much about Sir Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin without spoiling the movie, but you’re either going to love or hate what he does here. It comes as a big surprise and worked for me...it's impossible to say whether everyone will feel that way though! Guy Pearce thankfully gets a really meaty and well developed character to work with in the form of Aldrich Killian and he’s absolutely brilliant. Just as he surprised us in Prometheus, expect plenty more from the actor in a turn which makes him easily the most memorable Iron Man villain to grace the big screen yet! James Badge Dale (Eric Savin), Stephanie Szostak (Ellen Brandt) and Rebecca Hall (Maya Hansen) round out the impressive cast and all do fantastically in their respective roles. However, a special shout out must go to the young Ty Simpkins (Harley) and returning cast members Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan) and Paul Bettany (J.A.R.V.I.S.). The trio steal the show and while I was initially concerned when we learned details of Simpkins’ character, put those fears to one side because he’s actually excellent.
So there you have it. Iron Man 3 is yet another fantastic movie from Marvel Studios. There's no escaping the fact that it feels more like an epilogue to "Phase 1" than it does the beginning of "Phase 2", but that shouldn't impact your enjoyment of the threequel in the least. However, the after-credits scene may disappoint some by being more schwarma than Mjolnir. This also feels like a farewell of sorts by Robert Downey Jr. and the character is undoubtedly left with a clean slate that could see the studio bring in a new actor James Bond style. We'll see...
Fantastic. Iron Man 3 finds the perfect balance of action, humour and story to make this easily the best outing yet for the Armored Avenger. Now, let’s all start counting down the days until we return to Asgard...
2013 Reviews So Far...
• The Last Stand (3/5)
• Bullet To The Head (1/5)
• Wreck-It Ralph (4/5)
• A Good Day To Die Hard (2/5)
• Warm Bodies (4/5)
• Mama (3/5)
• Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters 3D (3/5)
• Oz: The Great and Powerful 3D (4/5)
• Evil Dead (4/5)
• G.I. Joe: Retaliation 3D (3/5)
• Oblivion (IMAX) (4/5)
Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3 pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin
Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts
Don Cheadle as Rhodey/War Machine
Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian
Rebecca Hall as Dr. Maya Hansen
Ashley Hamilton as Jack Taggert
James Badge Dale as Eric Savin
Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan
RELEASE DATE: April 25th, 2013 (UK). May 3rd, 2013 (US).
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