To paraphrase Ben Kingsley in an interview discussing Iron Man 3, there is something dare I say original and intelligent about the film. One thing’s for sure, this is most certainly not the film that you’d expect it to be (based on the trailers anyway). This is a blessing. Iron Man 3 usurps expectations and thrills in equal measure, ably following up on the spectacle that was last year’s smash The Avengers. I’m genuinely surprised by how much Marvel have managed to keep under wraps – don’t worry, I’m not spoiling it all here.
Tech genius Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) can’t sleep. Ever since he threw down with a god and alien invaders in New York things just haven’t been the same. His relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is more strained than ever, as he spends his nights tinkering away on new gadgets, gizmos and superhero Iron Man suits in order to stave off anxiety attacks. To make matters worse, an uber terrorist called The Mandarin is exploding stuff all over the US. He’s one ominous duder, broadcasting threatening videos on live TV and getting almost as much out of his syllables as Alan Rickman.
For those not in the know, The Mandarin is actually Iron Man’s archenemy in the comics – much like The Joker is to Batman. It’s fitting then that he finally makes his appearance in the third (but not final) instalment of the Iron Man series. Ben Kingsley delivers a standout performance in the role, in a turn that will surely be remembered as something pretty risky that ultimately delivered in spades. Equally standout is Guy Pearce, whose considerable acting chops are on display and at times mesmerise as genius scientist Aldrich Killian.
In fact, the supporting cast is universally impressive. Special mention must go to Don Cheadle who reprises his role as Rhodey as well as child actor Ty Simpkins, who gets to share some electric dialogue with Stark. Speaking of whom, RDJ is absolutely on point in this entry, firing off witty retorts with self-absorbed charm and ease. Indeed, Iron Man 3 is probably the most humorous of the films so far. This is largely thanks to writer-director Shane Black, who previously scripted the on-point repartee that distinguished Lethal Weapon from the pack in the late 80s.
As for the action, admittedly it starts a little slow but it picks up aplenty and by the time the climax swings by you’ll barely be able to catch your breath. Perhaps the best thing about the action here is that the villains aren’t just baddies in metal suits like the last two movies. This helps to make the set pieces more dynamic, especially since Tony is also without a fully functioning suit for a good chunk of the film. The result is fresh and exciting, and the 3D’s not bad too; all the disparate parts connect in what’s arguably the best Iron Man film, and quite possibly the best Marvel movie to date! As always, stick around to the very end of the credits for a clever denouement. All that’s left to do now is to salivate over the newly released trailer of Thor: The Dark World.
Unexpected, big, bold and buckets of fun, Iron Man 3 is cracking entertainment that ably continues the story of Tony Stark.