Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Theater Review: Iron Man 3

I have to say it was pretty smart of Marvel to drop an Iron Man film as the first to follow last year's Avengers.

Iron Man was a surprise hit in 2008 and Robert Downey, Jr. became both Tony Stark and Iron Man - his quote at the conclusion of the first film was perfect, "I am Iron Man!".

But, as much as the original film was a surprise hit, it feels like Iron Man 2 was a bit of a let down to many movie goers. Sure, it was definitely a step backwards - especially since the villain was actually much better, but Whiplash was never really the villain he should have and could have been.

Plus, the main reason for Iron Man 2 was to pretty much setup The Avengers film - with the introduction of Black Widow and Nick Fury inviting Tony to join the Avengers Initiative.

So, now we have Iron Man 3.

I would probably put it somewhere between the original and its sequel. I feel it was better than the last one, but still can't live up to the first.

Since the events that happened in New York in the Avengers, Tony has had trouble sleeping - and has spent that time creating new and different Iron Man suits. His relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) continues to grow, but Tony's issues that he gained after almost dying in the alien invasion have strained it somewhat.

In a flashback, we learn that Tony spent a night with Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) and also blew off Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who wanted to speak to him about an experiment he is working on.

Killian, now with a new backer, returns to Stark Industries - this time speaking to the new person in charge, Potts. But, like Tony before her, she turns him down because of the ability to possibly weaponize is product.

Over seas, a terrorist much like Osama bin Laden, is threatening the United States and he goes by the Mandarin (Ben Kinglsey). After Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is injured during an apparent attack by the Mandarin, Tony tells him to come after him at his home - and he does.

With Stark's home destroyed - and feared dead - he is flown to Tennessee by his suit, until it loses all of its power. Tony teams up with Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins) to track down information on some of the attacks that have been happening, and to also recharge the Iron Man suit.

After the Mandarin steals Iron Patriot - formerly War Machine - from James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) so that he can kidnap the president (after already kidnapping Pepper) - Rhodes and Tony team up 80s-cop style to rescue them both and put a stop to the Mandarin once and for all.

Pretty tough to recap this without giving things away - but I think I did. Some great surprises happen, which I honestly did not see coming.

Best parts of the film, hands down, are the interactions between Stark and the kid. It was pretty darn funny and the kid held his own pretty well with Downey, Jr. Second has to be the final battle scene.

I am not giving anything away here because it is shown in the trailer - but Stark has really not been sleeping much and he has created a ton of new suits - some of which do many different things.

The culmination has all of them coming together to take down the Mandarin and help Rhodes and Stark rescue Potts and the president (William Sadler).

If this is the final Iron Man film, it went out pretty well. The story was wrapped up in a nice bow - but it felt like there was also more to tell if it continued.

Downey, Jr. is in the renegotiating phase with Marvel for his salary to continue as Tony Stark - which no doubt will be for Avengers 2 and Avengers 3. As more and more standalone features are announced, Iron Man has not been one of them. And, I don't have a problem with that - I am fine with him continuing to just be part of Avengers and maybe cameo in other films along the way.

But, this film made a butt-load of money and I doubt Marvel (and Disney) will just stop altogether leaving this much money on the table. It's obvious people still love their Iron Man - and if they can get Downey, Jr. under contract - I really expect another film in the future.


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