‘Iron Man 3’ starts the summer box office off on the right foot
On the heels of last year’s mega smash hit “The Avengers” Marvel Studios and Disney, in partnership with Paramount Pictures, brings us the newest installment of one of the Avenger’s key players, Iron Man 3. With this film, Robert Downey Jr. fulfills his Tony Stark contract quota and has fuelled speculation that he may be done donning the iron suit for good. Whether this is the case or not, it would be hard to argue that he has not left the character in a far better place than he started with it.
Iron Man 3
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Rebecca Hall, James Badge Dale, William Sadler and Jon Favreau
Written by Drew Pearce and Shane Black
Directed by Shane Black
Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man (Downey Jr.) against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at the hands of the mysterious Mandarin (Kingsley), he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey will end up testing his resolve and determination as he battles more than just the sinister terrorist by his own demons and philandering past as well. 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.
Iron Man 3 in many ways feels like an ending, the closing chapter of a novel if you will. There is nothing against another book being written, or even the filmmakers going back to the beginning and starting all over again, but Iron Man 3 definitely feels like it has closure. Shane Black may have been the perfect director to finish off this saga; the accomplished screenwriter’s only other directing job being the criminally underrated “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” which featured another vulnerable and sharp witted performance from Robert Downey Jr. His script and directing have helped carve out a film that features strongly an aspect most superhero films, in particular Marvel films, lack which is a dire sense of peril and a level of despair and vulnerability in Stark that never existed before. This Tony Stark has been rattled and shaken to his core after the events of The Avengers and the destruction of New York.
Robert Downey Jr. fits back into the role like a glove, and why shouldn’t he? This is his 4th go round as Stark, not including that little cameo at the end of “The Incredible Hulk”. This time around though Downey gets to flex some acting muscle as well as more than half of his performance is outside of the suit. His growing paranoia and the constant panic attacks he suffers through whenever he dwells on that fateful day in New York serve to ground and humanize this version of Tony Stark. The rest of the supporting cast is good here as well. Paltrow is great as Pepper Pots as usual; Cheadle has evolved into the perfect Rhodes a.k.a. the former War Machine now dubbed the Iron Patriot who also spends a lot more of his time out of suit on this one. But the best casting and performance from the supporting roles is hands down Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin. In a role that goes to places few will be able to predict, Kingsley nails his character and chews scenery with aplomb.
The film, as with all Iron Man films, relies heavily on the effects work and CGI of a very talented crew to pull off the look of the film. Kudos to them as the iron man suits and the transitions between them have never looked smoother. The entire look of the film is very crisp, with a thin layer of grime and dirt on top as perhaps even more than his imprisonment in a cave from the first film, Iron Man 3 sees Tony Stark having to get down to street level and get his hands dirty to solve this case. There is a science fiction/fantasy aspect, as opposed to the more realistic feel of the original, that does not feel forced or contrived because after the arrival of Thor and the Skrulls from the Avengers, Marvel has opened the door to make the more fantastical not seem out of place.
A fitting end or the start of a new beginning, only time will tell what the final outcome of Iron Man 3 will be. Either way, Iron Man 3 may be the most complete of all the Iron Man films and is a hearty and satisfying conclusion to the Iron Man saga if this is where it truly ends. The rest of the summer blockbusters have been put on notice, as the best one of them all may have already arrived and audiences may be in for a long summer in the cinema.
4 out of 5
Till Next Time
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