Friday, May 24, 2013

Iron Man 3 Movie Review

It's no secret that The Avengers was a phenomenal success. It wasn't originally intended, but it was quickly decided upon to do another Avengers movie. But before that can happen, we need another couple of movies to showcase our heroes' having individual adventures before teaming up again. Iron Man 3 (2013) is the first movie of the second string of movies leading up to another Avengers movie.
In light of the alien invasion in New York (in The Avengers), Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is suffering from panic attacks. To set himself at ease, he has built several dozen new Iron Man suits, which has created some friction with his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Several mysterious bombings have occurred around the country over the last several months which mysteriously leave no forensic evidence. These have been orchestrated by a man calling himself The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), and the attacks are becoming more intense. Meanwhile a Dr. Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) is trying to team up with Stark Industries to perfect a super-soldier bio-chemical solution called Extremis, which should grant super-healing abilities.  After drawing the attention of The Mandarin, Tony Stark's safe world and everything he has is virtually destroyed. Tony's friend, Colonel James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) the former War Machine, now re-branded as the Iron Patriot, is sent on a wild goose chase to find The Mandarin. With his back against the wall, Tony is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him.
I'm so glad that Iron Man 3 acknowledges events from The Avengers. In a short amount of time Tony Stark discovered the existence of powerful gods and alien threats as they both descended to attack Earth. Yes, The Avengers did save the day, but having symptoms of PTSD and panic attacks is not an unreasonable reaction to the ordeal. In a desperate moment, Tony pours his heart out to Pepper, "Nothing's been the same since New York. You experience things, and then they're over. I can't sleep, and when I do I have nightmares. Threat is eminent. I have to protect the one thing that I can't live without. That's you." This is simply the next logical step in the character's development, and it's done well.
Iron Man 3 has a darker tone than the previous two. Tony is at a very low point since nearly everything that makes him Iron Man has been taken away. It deals with some very real and sometimes scary issues; terrorist attacks, the impact on the families of the victims, foreboding insecurity, and mental breakdowns to name a few. But at the same time, Tony's character is a narcissist and rather than deal with traumatic or uncomfortable situations, he deflects it with humor. Iron Man 3 is pretty funny. With the dark nature and the comedy, it makes for some strange tonal contrasts. It didn't always fit perfectly, but I think it did work; it never sounded like sloppy writing that was trying to do too many things at once.
There is a HUGE plot twist halfway through the movie. I really want to talk about it, but to avoid spoilers I won't. I will say that it's probably going to irritate hardcore Marvel fans a whole lot. I was always a fan of Spider-Man and X-Men myself, and I have virtually no concept of Iron Man mythos. While it did take my be surprise, I could easily see long-time fans of Iron Man getting immensely bent out of shape by this plot device. Hopefully it won't cause anyone to boycott any future Iron Man movies or anything like that. I still thought the movie was good.
I can't review Iron Man 3 without talking about the effects. It's a special effects intensive movie with lots of CGI work and is so remarkably well done. Most of the mechanical suits are done with CGI. But it's so detailed, moves so naturally, and the lighting is so perfect you'd hardly guess there wasn't a real large metal suit running around. The final fight at the end is amazing. It's full of crazy Iron Man stunts that I never would have expected. It's hard not to cheer Tony on as he dukes it out. 
Iron Man 3 was great. It had logical progressions in character development, a darker tone, lots of laughs, incredible effects, a pretty good story, and some fun references to the other Avengers. That plot twist will throw you for a loop, though; it will make or break the movie for some Marvel fans. I managed to roll with the punches since I had no preconceived notions. Iron Man 3 is worth catching on the big screen and worth getting a copy on Blu-Ray once it's available. Also, make sure you stick around after the credits for a hilarious post-credits scene, as per Marvel movie tradition.

Boromir tells it like it is.

So, we have three Iron Man movies. Technically four, if you include The Avengers. Which one is your favorite? Comment below and tell me why!

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