I went to see Iron Man 3 the other night. It’s been a couple of weeks since the flick came out so I figured going to a 10:20 PM show on a Wednesday night I wouldn’t have much trouble getting tickets. Boy was I right… I was quite literally the only person in the theater. As I get going here I’ll talk openly about the film so this post WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. If you’ve not seen the flick yet and don’t want to be spoiled move along.
I’m not really going to bother to do a full plot review here as there are a zillion review sites that will do a much better job than I could. You see, even though I’m a huge geek, I’ve never been a big Iron Man fan. I can’t even say that I’ve ever read any of the comics so aside from the Marvel Movie Universe I’m pretty lost when it comes to all things Tony Stark.
So… in Iron Man 3, we’ve got Aldrich Killian played by Guy Pearce, who let’s face it, is a poor man’s Val Kilmer. He’s some super talented scientist / business man who’s created something called Extremis which if I’m following things correctly makes you into a super bad ass who can regrow limbs as long as you can “regulate”. Consequences of NOT regulating are turning orange and exploding. But Killian isn’t really the bad guy… or maybe he is… I’m not sure. There’s also this other guy called The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) who’s supposed to be an Osama Bin Laden terrorist type but it’s revealed that he’s nothing more than Killian’s puppet.
Anyhow, this Mandarin character is taking credit for a variety of bombings that are taking place around the world. During one bombing, Tony’s buddy Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau who got FAT for this role) gets blown up by an Extremis guy and goes into a coma. Tony gets pissed and calls out the Mandarin on national television. Naturally the bad guys come to Tony’s place and blow it all to hell which is a SUPER cool scene.
Tony and Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow who’s SMOKING hot here) manage to escape but no one (not even Pepper) know that Tony is still alive. See… he’s been magically whisked away in his armor to Tennessee by Jarvis. There he meets up a random little boy who helps Tony get back on his feet. Tony then rebuilds his armor, infiltrates the Mandarin’s lair, determines that the Mandarin isn’t really the bad guy, determines that Killian IS really the bad guy, foils a plot to kill the president and saves the day. Along the way, War Machine (Don Cheadle) paints his armor and is renamed Iron Patriot, Pepper gets injected with Extremis, and Tony is snarky (not Starky… see what I did there?) to the little kid.
There’s other details, plot points and characters in there, but honestly they don’t really matter. This is an action movie where you’re paying to see Iron Man suits… or at least that’s what we’re given. TONS of Iron Man suits. See, ever since the events of Avengers Tony’s been unable to get a good night’s sleep. He’s taken to tinkering in his lab and has subsequently built a TON of new armors. Some are cooler than others, some will come to him when he calls, some Pepper can wear (apparently) some are remote controlled. Basically at this point in the trilogy, anyone who can play Call Of Duty can now be Iron Man. The suits are remote controlled so there’s really no danger for Iron Man. If he dies (which happens once) we’re just shown that it’s not really Tony in the suit and all that was destroyed was the armor. Never fear though, cause Tony can just build more. This is kind of a cop out of if you ask me. There’s simply no consequences.
During the final battle (which is pretty epic) Tony calls for backup and lo and behold we get about 40 suits flying to the rescue. Tony manages to jump from suit to suit which while sort of silly provides an awesome visual. And that’s really where this flick shines. It looks… AMAZING. It’s visually stunning and as long as you can turn off your brain from a plot perspective you’ll really enjoy yourself. Don’t bother paying for the 3D. It’s a complete waste of money. I did only because it was in 3D when I wanted to see it, but I honestly didn’t get any “depth” out of the effect. Save your money and watch it in 2D.
The whole time I was watching this flick it felt like Robert Downey Jr. was saying goodbye. I can’t say he was phoning it in, but his performance felt very retrospective. It was as if he was stepping into a comfortable pair of shoes for one last walk before throwing them away. That’s not to say that if Marvel backs up the Brinks truck and dumps a ton of money in his lap he won’t reprise the role, he wouldn’t do it. Let’s face it he would. But this felt “final”. This point was hammered home when in the last line of the film he says, “I am Iron Man“. If you’re following the arch of the character during the Iron Man Trilogy he should have said, “I am Tony Stark“. This really feels like a big old middle finger from Downey essentially saying, “Good luck finding someone else to play this character. They’ll never live up to me“. Or maybe I’m just seeing stuff that isn’t there.
As I’m re-reading what I’ve written here I’m realizing that it sounds rather negative. I absolutely don’t want to give the impression that I didn’t enjoy Iron Man 3 because I did! As I said before it was visually an incredibly looking film and I’m thrilled that I went out of my way to see it on the big screen. It’s already grossed over a billion dollars which as of this writing puts it at #5 on the All Time Highest Grossing Films list. That’s pretty impressive. I’m very interested to see how the character of Iron Man moves forward not only in the upcoming sequel to the Avengers, but also in other Marvel properties. Will Robert Downey Jr. still be the man in the armor? Time will tell, but until then you just have to stand back in awe at the performance Downey has created. It will certainly be his defining role. Strong recommend for Iron Man 3.
Have you seen Iron Man 3? What’d you think? Will Robert Downey Jr. reprise the role?