Technically I have a real soft spot for the Iron Man movies for personal reasons, and in my opinion, out of The Avengers lead-ups Iron Man is by far my favorite title. With a new director on board for the third installment of this blockbuster trilogy Iron Man has truly taken on its own personal feel. A great way to kick off the second phase of Marvel’s Avengers. There’s more, but before I go into more detail I will warn that there may be some spoilers below so proceed with extreme caution! I’ll do my best to not give too much away.
Tony Stark (Downey Jr) is facing some real demons in this movie. He’s suffering from what only can be described as PTSD after his dealing with Loki in the Avengers. As a result, Tony’s whole disposition is darker and he spends most of his time avoiding the world, his loved ones in particular. His depression and anxiety hit a peak when the Mak 42 accidentally attacks Pepper Potts (Paltrow) while they’re in bed asleep, and this anxiety is emphasized by his inability just to say the name ‘New York’. It is clear that his minuscule place in the universe alongside the literal fate of humanity resting on his shoulders has knocked Stark down a few steps and allowed for him to feel like a human just like the rest of us.
Don’t get it twisted though, Stark remains the same sarcastic playboy we all know he is, but now he’s just a bit more sensitive. This movie really hones in on the relationship between Potts, Stark, and Iron Man. Tony has to find out who he is and that’s the real journey the viewer is taking. There is no masked villain and often times the demons our hero faces are his own, which in the past films has been harkened to but never really divulged. The traditional rescue which every good hero must perform during an action movie has a not so unexpected twist, but none-the-less it is a twist. The comedic moments are scarce, but still golden and enjoyable when they occur. Iron Man 3 is a much darker film than the past two very much for this reason. Ties to the past and the evolution of Tony Stark from snarky narcissistic playboy to philanthropic devoted hero come full-circle and Stark really reaches the height of a character ark. The relationship between Potts and Stark was truly the heart, for lack of a better word, of the story. There was no lack of cool gadgets and immersive technological devices that boggle the mind each time we see them, compounded with a vast array of new and unique Iron Man suits which Stark had spent most of his time building to cope with his mounting anxiety. And for many Iron Man fans such as myself, the copious amount of suits is a large part of the enjoyment and thrill.
A very important plot point introduced Aldrich Killian right at the start of the film and debuted the infamous A.I.M. organization. A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) is made up of the universe’s most brilliant scientists whom, for those who don’t know, aim to overthrow the government. Rest assured that Iron Man 3‘s story doesn’t dig into that, but perhaps it’s good guess at a plot point for The Avengers 2, or a way to tie in the next Captain America story as they’ve already introduced Arnim Zola to audiences.
Although the Mandarin is the villain chosen to adorn our silver-screens, most fans of the comic series, such as myself, were taken back by the plot twist provided to explain his presence. A lot of fans were upset by the decided direction of the Mandarin, but I didn’t mind for the sake of the movies which already were established to not be cannon when they cast Sam Jackson as Nick Fury. However, I can certainly understand fan gripes with the direction and liberties the director took with the character. With all complaints aside, the Mandarin was by far the most creative and most maniacal villain we’ve seen in the franchise, taking the movie towards a turn which really wasn’t for children despite the loyal much-younger audiences which are guaranteed for an Iron Man release. So parents, understand that this really isn’t a kids movie if you’re wanting to take your 4-year-old, because much like the comics, children are not really the target audience anymore.
Critics of the film have stated that there’s a bit too much extra plot points thrown into the story for this movie, but I disagree. Although there were times when it felt a bit dragged it’s important to know that this Iron Man is about the hero and not the fight. This is about bringing Iron Man and Tony Stark together as one hero and about balance, which this movie really was– balanced that is. The team really put together a lot of individual elements and took a risk that paid off. I do recommend this film if you’re looking for a good movie to see in theaters, especially if you enjoyed the Avengers. Although this movie takes a disparate turn from the other titles in the Avengers and Iron Man roster, it’s a personal trip which leaves you feeling more emotionally attached to these characters. And if you haven’t gone out and seen the new Iron Man 3 but will, do yourself the pleasure of staying after the credits. Not only will they end the movie with an enjoyable vintage montage of Iron Man and the cast, but there’s a nice bonus scene to sum it all up!