Movie Review: Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3Title: “Iron Man 3”

Director: Shane Black

Writers: Drew Pearce, Shane Black

Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Well, it’s “Iron Man.” What do you expect?

Iron Man has a unique position in what is now known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which are the movies based on Marvel comics that tie together (which does not include the Spider-Man or Fantastic Four movies, for example). The first “Iron Man” launched the MCU, and this movie starts Phase 2 of the MCU, being the first movie in the MCU to take place after “The Avengers.” How does it measure up?

Based loosely on the “Extremis” storyline in the comic books, Tony Stark is left haunted by his experience in the aforementioned “The Avengers.” Unable to sleep, he remains awake all night tinkering, building new suits and technology, including creating tech to mentally link to and control his Iron Man suit. A series of attacks credited to a terrorist called the Mandarin create unease, and in one attack Happy (Jon Favreau) is seriously injured. The Mandarin specifically targets Tony Stark, Pepper is kidnapped, and Tony must rely on his wits and tech expertise as the Mandarin’s terrorist organization spreads fear and try to track Stark down to eliminate him as a threat to their plans.

This is a fun movie, even if it’s not brilliant. The first movie was great fun and gave hope for what had already been announce as the MCU. The second Iron Man film was okay, but ultimately a disappointment. This movie falls somewhere in between the two. It’s better than the second film but doesn’t quite capture the magic of the first.

Part of the problem is that for a movie about Iron Man, he is rarely in the suit during the film. That’s right. This isn’t so much an Iron Man film as it is a Tony Stark film. Now, when he is in the suit(s), it’s great with awesome visual effects, and this film has a final battle sequence that dwarfs those in the previous two films in scale. But it takes a long time to get there. This film also has a great plot twist that you may have heard about, but I won’t reveal here just in case. However, this film also has a terrible ending, with plot threads wrapped up (or not) off-screen and in a matter of minutes because, well, they just didn’t feel like addressing them with the weight that they deserved.

It’s a decent and fun film, with good action sequences if you have the patience to get to them. It’s better than the previous Iron Man film, but more dependent on drama and mystery than on action, and with Robert Downey, Jr. playing a more haunted Tony Stark, it carries a different tone. Not a bad tone, but still different.

“Iron Man 3” earns 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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