The first Iron Man caught me completely off guard. Hadn’t expected anything special going in, thought it would be along the lines of a fun blockbuster. I was dead wrong. It turned out to be much more than that. Went deep into the character and crafted a fantastic story around action, not vise versa. Iron Man became one my favorite superhero film’s; joined Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Wasn’t flawless, but pretty much as close as you could get for a superhero movie. The wait for Iron Man 2 was excruciating – had to wait two whole years. I was pumped going in, but my initial emotion was disappointment. Overall, it was merely standard. Went in a different direction that didn’t pan out. Good fight scenes, though. Waiting for Iron Man 3 wasn’t too hard. After watching, it’s the smallest amount better than the second. Both sequels pull down the original from greatness. Don’t mean to be all pessimistic, had moments, and was entertaining.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) hasn’t been the same since the battle at New York – the climax of The Avengers. He has a difficult time sleeping, spends large portions of his time making tons of Iron Man suits, and has ignored responsibilities (never was one to do that in the first place, but still). Stark Enterprises is being run by his professional (and personal) partner, Peeper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Civilian helping goes to Stark’s best friend, Col. James Rhodes (Don Cheadle). Rhodes has a suit, it’s named The Iron Patriot. Things are going reasonably smoothly until evil resurfaces. The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is a terrorist leader who uses mutated soldiers as weapons of choice in bombings wherever he so desires. A villainous scientist also appears kidnapping Pepper and destroying the Stark mansion. With Stark’s back against the wall, he goes on a journey to make things right and discovery once in for all if the suit makes the man, or the man makes the suit.
Shane Black was an interesting choice for this kind of movie. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (nothing spectacular, but highly overlooked) is the only other thing Black’s done in the direction department. He also wrote the screenplay for the first Lethal Weapon. I preferred the style of the directing more than the dialog from what I can pull from. It was weird that he’s never worked with anything CGI heavy. Overall, wasn’t too sure how Black would fare. The way he juggled different elements was the best thing he had to offer. A charming and funny side is kept completely intact while injecting a dramatic side. Now, not all the drama or charm works, but that wasn’t my point. Tone shifts are never noticed because they only come naturally.
I worried about Black not handling the action well needlessly. Surprisingly, for someone who wasn’t familiar with big blockbuster action, seems like a seasoned expert. Anything you would want to see in an Iron Man action scene is delivered. Of course, plenty of those fights where Stark is in his suit are present – they are fantastic as always. Love how there filmed, makes you still connect even though the guy is covered. What is pretty new to the franchise is fighting scenes featuring Tony Stark, just the man, not the iron. It was a refreshing tweak that stopped a repetitive factor that could have easily taken place. The only negative in this department is the ending. It’s a conventional big load explosion. Nothing bad, but much better has been done, and was expected.
Robert Downey Jr. was the perfect choice for the role of Iron Man. Plays on all the sides of the character seamlessly. As each sequels have progressed, he has worn out his welcome some. Without the better material of the first, Tony Stark’s funny side falters often. Robert Downey Jr. still does very good. Gwyneth Paltrow was another spot-on casting selection. She really fits the role of Pepper Potts. Here, Paltrow delivers another great performance. Terrence Howard was great in the first Iron Man, I was sad to see him replaced in the sequel. Even if it’s by someone like Don Cheadle; star power can’t work all the time. Chealde was given more to do this time around, and does alright (still hard to get used to for some reason). Guy Pearce basically played another version of Sam Rockwell’s character in the second. Ben Kingsley isn’t the problem with The Mandarin. Performance wise only, Kingsley was excellent. Rebecca Hall is okay, but is merely “there.”
The script did some good stuff that kept me engaged, but hit a few big bumps in the road that offset everything. What worked was the dialog. You get plenty of funny witty type lines throughout along with nicely done character moments. When it comes down to the story itself, Iron Man 3 drops the ball. Iron Man 2 was too convoluted, this ones issue however lies within the central plot. The first half was moving along fine. As it progresses from there, though, it stars to go downhill rather quickly. A few twists happen. I understand that it might have been attempting not to be cliched and have a A, to B, to C superhero type movie. It tried too hard. Once I got out of the fold, I never could be fully engaged again. Lacks an epic climax to boot. Was fun and all, but isn’t anything memorable. Iron Man 3 should be seen; might even deserve a slightly higher rating. As such a big fan of the original, I just couldn’t.