Iron Man 3: The Perfect Superhero Movie

Posted: May 6, 2013 in Movie Reviews, New Releases
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Rating: 4/4

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been on a streak for a long time now, doing great movie after great movie.  First with Iron Man, followed by The Incredible HulkIron Man 2ThorCaptain America: The First Avenger, and ending it bigger than ever with the record-breaking The Avengers.  Now, Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has begun.  And, oh boy, what a start.  Iron Man 3, which I got the pleasure to see before it was even released in the United States, is the best superhero movie Marvel has released up-to-date.  It is what The Dark Knight is to DC; it is Marvel’s perfect film.  It is a darker, funnier, and more exciting sequel of the Iron Man series.  It is flawless, with an above-perfect performance by Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and, even more so, as Tony Stark, joined by a superb cast that elevates this movie to other levels of greatness.

Iron Man 3  starts with a flashback to a New Year’s Eve party in 1999.  Tony Stark was accompanied by scientist Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall).  While on an elevator, they meet disabled scientist Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who wants to talk to them about his company AIM and how grateful he would be if he could have them form part of the company.  Tony Stark tells him to meet him on the rooftop to talk about his project, just so Killian could find out it was a lie after waiting there for a long time.  In the present day, a more unstable Tony Stark is faced against a Bin Laden-ish enemy who makes himself be known as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), who plans to terrorize the United States and wreck apart Stark’s life.  This sends Tony Stark on a journey to find The Mandarin and to protect those who he cares the most about.  All at the same time, Stark’s journey makes him question: Is he still Tony Stark, or is he only Iron Man?

After the success of the two first films, both directed by Jon Favreau, it was kind of a bummer for people to know that he would not be directing the third one.  However, it comes as no surprise that director Shane Black could do an equally great (or dare I say, better) movie.  Shane Black, who had already worked with Robert Downey, Jr. in the great neo-noir film Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, is able to mix all the ingredients that had made the first two Iron Man films great – the humor, the action, the adventure, the plot – and add a little bit of his own spice to it, making this Iron Man a darker, more humorous movie than its predecessors, all while being able to hold together the plot at perfection – something that the first Iron Man did, but the second one fell a bit apart while doing.  He is even able to add some extremely unexpected plot twists, and I really mean it when I say “extremely unexpected.”  Memento unexpected (Okay, maybe not that much, but you get the idea).  The best job that Black does with this movie is being able to make an extremely important connection between Iron Man and the last Marvel movie, The Avengers.  Details about this I shall not give away, for some might consider it a spoiler (though I think it’s pretty obvious from watching the trailers.)

Another great job that Black does with Iron Man 3 is something that the other ones did not give us much of: Tony Stark.  Not Tony Stark, the real identity behind Iron Man, but Tony Stark, the real man.  This is what makes the movie a little darker than your average Marvel movie.  If you go in there expecting to see Iron Man all the time battling big robotic things, iron-man-3-tony-stark-robert-downey-jrlet me tell you, you will be disappointed.  Instead, you get to see more of Tony Stark and his persona.  You actually care for Stark, knowing everything that he feels and everything that he has been passing through.  We even get to see him bond with a young kid called Harley, played amazingly by Ty Simpkins, who you might remember better as the creepy little kid from Insidious.  In the end, one is satisfied to actually see a superhero movie where the attention goes mostly to the man, and not the man in the costume.

The acting in this movie is what elevates Iron Man 3 from an extremely great superhero movie to the perfect superhero movie.  Robert Downey, Jr. delivers what I think is an Oscar-worthy performance, thanks mainly to the script that he is given, which makes him work harder than on the other Iron Man movies, for he is required to show people the side of Tony Stark that they had still not seen, his more human-side.  Robert Downey Jr. has been giving great performances in all of his movies for the past years, even in horribly criticized movies like The Shaggy Dog.  However, in Iron Man 3, he gives the performance of his lifetime, which is only slightly matched by the one he gives in Tropic Thunder.  By turns funny, by turns serious, by turns just plain awesome, Robert Downey, Jr. gives an all-around perfect performance as Tony Stark and Iron Man in this movie.  The rest of the cast is amazing too.  Gwyneth Paltrow, Rebecca Hall, and Don Cheadle give out great performances as usual.  However, next to Robert Downey, Jr., it is the villains that take the spotlight.  Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin has to be one of the best choices that have been done in superhero movies.  He is able to transmit to the audience the sense of danger and terror that is supposed to be felt through all the videos he puts out for the world to see throughout the movie, a fear that has only been transmitted better by Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight Rises.  Guy Pearce also gives an equally amazing performance as Aldrich Killian, the scientist who seeks revenge after Tony Stark fooled him into thinking he was interested in his company.

In the end, Iron Man 3 will leave you with a sense of fulfillment that you will gain just because you have waited so long to see this movie, and with good reason, since they were constructing the perfect superhero movie while you waited.  It has everything that makes up a Marvel movie, from great action sequences to great humor, and adds more to it with the presence of Shane Black as the director.  Needless to say is that all actors are marvelously cast and add up to an already great movie.  Plus, you have Robert Downey, Jr. giving the performance of his lifetime.  And there is still more to come.

Since you read the whole thing, here’s something you might want to know: Stay until after the credits.  Nothing important happens, but it’s still an extremely funny scene that’s worth a watch.

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Comments
  1. rcollazo99 says:

    I didn’t like the second Iron Man that much….Can’t wait for this one.

  2. c taylor says:

    Nice write up. I agree with rcollazo99 about IRON MAN 2 – as much as I was hoping to like it, I just didn’t. My expectations were much too high after the first film. I was pleasantly surprised this time around.

    You don’t mention Pepper Potts – how do you feel about her role in IM3 and Paltrow’s performance?

    • celpupi says:

      Thank you! I liked Iron Man 2, but I didn’t love it. It’s just that the first one was extremely good, and Iron Man 2 could not keep up with it.

      Pepper Potts, I believe, was more important in this movie than in the other two. The plot centers a lot not only on her, but on Tony Stark’s feeling for her. Black did an absolutely great job with the importance he put on Potts in this movie, which was done in the first one but not on the second one. Also, I think that Paltrow’s performance was spectacular. The only bad thing is that given the great cast that surrounds her in the movie, it is almost impossible for her to stand out as the best in the movie. The ones that I believe stood out were Downey, Jr. (as always) and Ben Kingsley. Don’t get me wrong though, every actor was amazing in this movie!

      What did you think of this movie? What did you think of the big plot twist? Because there are a lot of different opinions regarding that plot twist, and I think it was a great plot twist.

      • c taylor says:

        I liked IM3 – which is to say, I was pleasantly surprised. It felt a little too long to me, though. But, you can easily forgive it.

        I wrote about Pepper’s role in IM3, giving some kudos for her character’s story arc – I was really happy to see her in the suit, saving Tony both metaphorically and literally.

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