I’ve fallen behind on the Marvelous Monday’s, so if I want to finish them before Civil War, I’m going to have to do 2 a week. This week is Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World.
Iron Man 3 stars Robert Downey Jr. (The Avenges, Sherlock Holmes), Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man, Seven), Guy Pearce (Memento, L.A. Confidential), Don Cheadle (Crash, Hotel Rwanda) and is directed by Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang).
After the events of The Avengers, Tony is dealing with anxiety and struggling to return to his normal life. Then when the mysterious terrorist The Mandarin targets Tony he must, with the help of his friends and a young boy, defeat the evil Mandarin and once again save the world.
Similar to Iron Man 2, when I first saw Iron Man 3 in the cinema, I was really disappointed (with one part in particular) and never rewatched it. Now that I’ve been reviewing each MCU film, I’ve been watching them all again and Iron Man 3 was one I wasn’t looking forward to revisiting. I can happily say I loved it the second time around. The twist the film takes, is still extremely frustrating but the blow is softened when you know its coming.
Like every Iron Man review I’ve done, I always want to start with Downey because he’s just so good in this role. We’ve seen a lot of Tony Stark and we’ve seen the character go through a lot, over all the films he’s made an appearance in. What I think Iron Man 3 accomplished better than any post Avengers film, is showing how the events in New York effected Tony. He can’t sleep, he’s having anxiety attacks and his relationship with Pepper is falling apart. Tony is only human and falling through a worm hole in outta space and crashing back down to earth would really effect someone. Downey’s performance as always is superb but in Iron Man 3 I think he hits the emotional core of the character, more than he ever has in the past. He has his trademark charisma and wit but you can always tell there’s something not quite right with him. I don’t know how they did it but they made me even more connected with Tony Stark.
James Badge Dale and Ty Simpkins play two new characters in the Iron Man franchise and I thought both of them did a really good job. James Badge Dale played a henchman for The Mandarin, which was a pretty thin character but Dale’s lively performance brought a level of memorability and enjoyment to the role. Ty Simpkins played the young boy who helps Iron Man and again this is a character that on paper, I usually wouldn’t like but Simpkins is excellent in the role and had a very interesting dynamic with Downey.
Another element of the Iron Man films I’m always impressed with, is the action. In Iron Man 3, there isn’t a consistent amount of action throughout the film but rather one big spectacle at the end. The film is more character driven, to the point where you see a lot more of Tony Stark instead of Iron Man. I like this structure a lot because without fully realised characters, there’s no emotion or meaning behind the action. When we do finally get to the end battle, it’s very fulfilling and the effect look great.
Jon Favreau (who directed the first two Iron Man films) didn’t return to the franchise for this film but was replaced by Shane Black. Black directed the incredible Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with Downey, 8 years before Iron Man 3 and I think he did an excellent job. You can definitely tell a new director replaced Favreau because the tone is different from the previous 2 and some of Shane Black’s tendencies from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, bleed over into Iron Man in the best way possible. His sense of humor is spot on for the MCU and Iron Man 3 might be the funniest of the trilogy. Shane Black is a really great writer and is becoming an even better director.
To really delve into what still drives me crazy about this film, I am going to have to talk about spoilers. I usually try to keep these reviews spoiler free but most of you probably have seen the film already. So SPOILER ALERT!
I only really have one big problem with this film but it’s a really big one. When this film first came out, there was a big backlash because of how the character of The Mandarin was handled, fans of the comics were outraged by the lack of respect the film showed Iron Mans biggest nemesis. Me personally, I never got into Iron Man comics and wasn’t very aware of the Mandarin until the film but I was aware of Ben Kingsley. About a year before Iron Man 3, I saw a film called Sexy Beast. It stars Ben Kingsley as an evil and terrifying gangster and he is outstanding (I thought he was robbed at the Oscars the year the film came out). So then when I heard Kingsley was cast as Iron Man’s biggest villain, I was super excited. I was following the development of the film closely, I saw the pictures of Kingsley as The Mandarin, he was awesome in the trailers and then halfway into the film they punched the audience in the face with a BS twist.
When the twist does happen and you find out The Mandarin was an actor the whole time, Kingsley of course was hilarious but I was so disappointing and angry, that everything they did afterwards I didn’t care about. It completely took me out of the film and I couldn’t focus on anything else going on. There was so much potential with this character and actor but instead they went for a joke… a funny joke but not funny enough to make up for my total disappointment. Watching this film a second time, knowing what’s coming, definitely soften the blow and I could get past it when the film continues but it still frustrates and every time I think of this film, I think about how much they screwed up The Mandarin instead of all the positives the film has.
Honestly if Ben Kingsley just played the real Mandarin, I think this would have been a contender for my favorite MCU film. I still really liked the film and did like it even more the second time. Downey I think is at his best, Shane Black’s tone and humor is perfect and the slower build to a big finale made Iron Man 3 very enjoyable.
What do you think about Iron Man 3?