Iron Man ‘Iron Man 3’ Review written by Sean Gerber April 30, 2013 Superhero movies often display the physical danger through which the title characters put themselves, but none really show the lingering mental and emotional effects of the wars being fought. Iron Man 3, the latest and best installment of Marvel Studios’ most successful individual franchise, explores the traumatic consequences of super-heroics like never before while still delivering the biggest laughs of any Marvel film to date. Iron Man 3 opens as a clear sequel to The Avengers with Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after battling aliens in New York and nearly dying in the process. Superheroes generally limp away from such affairs and move on, but Tony cannot this time. He buries himself in his garage, tinkering away at his newest suit, the Mark XLII, and all those other armored suits shown in the trailers. Oddly enough, Tony is not actually doing anything constructive with his time, hiding his problems from his love, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), until it is already out of control. Pepper, by the way, finally carries herself like a chief executive and an equal partner in a committed relationship. Her newfound professional and personal strength allows Paltrow to deliver her finest performance in the series. The strain on Tony and Pepper’s relationship is very real, adding yet another consequence to Tony’s life as Iron Man. There is simply no walking away unscathed, as director and co-writer Shane Black puts forth the idea that emotional wounds do not heal as fast as most physical injuries, if at all. The unique, fresh emphasis on consequences makes the danger more real when a new villain calling himself the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) launches devastating surprise attacks on American soil. Kingsley’s presence is undeniable, making good on his character’s threat of, “You’ll never see me coming.” As Tony Stark searches for the Mandarin and the source of his weaponry, a detective story unlike anything seen in the first two films (or a Batman film, for that matter) unfolds. As the Mandarin attacks his homeland, literally at one point, Tony is somewhat oblivious to the emergence of an unexpected romantic and corporate rival in Aldrich Killian, played in devious, despicable fashion by Guy Pearce. With his eyes cringingly set on Pepper, Killian’s role in the film initially seems like a less comical iteration of Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2. Killian goes far beyond that, however, once he proves his ability actually matches his ambition. The setup for the film is very heavy, with a tight script that gives the actors so much more to chew on than in previous installments. Robert Downey, Jr. proves Tony Stark’s wit is as sharp and hilarious as ever, especially when he is befriended by an inquisitive young boy named Harley (Ty Simpkins). At the same time, Downey is free to explore a much broader range of emotions with the character and the film is the better for it. His anxiety is convincing, but the strongest aspect of Downey’s performance is the more subtle erosion of his character’s well-established bravado from within. This is unquestionably Downey’s best outing, as Tony Stark’s vulnerability makes his heroism far more meaningful. Shane Black, who helped with a few writing roadblocks in the first two movies, put his fingerprints all over this film with great effect. The humor is sharp and always well timed. The surprises are covered up well and arguably the most shocking in any comic book film. The pacing is always on point with smooth transitions from pulse pounding action to heart wrenching drama. It all builds to a truly spectacular finale that is absolutely thrilling and makes a 3D ticket price worthwhile. Black and co-writer Drew Pearce showed courage in starting Marvel’s Phase Two with something not seen in the first phase. There is a genuine sense of finality to the story. Iron Man 3 is far more interested in exploring and resolving the issues plaguing its main characters than it is in setting up the rest of Marvel’s upcoming slate. Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige promised more personal stories in Phase Two. Iron Man 3 upholds that promise. Its relative freedom from future crossover obligations is a key strength of the film, answering the call to go deeper now that the audience is already aware of the series’ coexistence with other franchises. A complete journey through the unique qualities and challenges of each hero will make for a richer, more satisfying experience in each Marvel film going forward. It certainly worked in Iron Man 3, and that bodes very well for Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. ‘Iron Man 3’ Review was last modified: February 21st, 2016 by Sean Gerber Related Iron Man 3 26 comments 0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest Sean Gerber Sean Gerber is the founder and editor-in-chief of Modern Myth Media. When he's not writing here, you can catch him as the host of Popular Opinion Podcast, Batman News, and Marvel News! previous post New IRON MAN 3 TV Spot next post ‘Man of Steel’ Poster #3 You may also like Guy Pearce Joins ‘Iron Man 3’ Cast April 20, 2012 Ben Kingsley Teases A Secret Marvel Project October 22, 2013 First Official Photo from ‘Iron Man 3’ June 4, 2012 Iron Man Finds Partner In 7-Year-Old Alex March 12, 2015 Downey has High Expectations for IRON MAN... January 11, 2012 New ‘Iron Man 3’ Poster February 28, 2013 Making Mine Marvel IRON MAN 2 Commentary April 2, 2015 Making Mine Marvel IRON MAN Commentary March 31, 2015 New IRON MAN 3 TV Spot April 24, 2013 Armored Abundance in the New ‘Iron Man... March 5, 2013 Lee Personally I felt they made the same mistake as they did in Iron Man 2. Where they took a severe condition (PTSD), but played it out in a rather comedic way, thus it losses a lot of meaning and seriousness in my opinion, which is how I felt they treated Tony’s drinking problem in IM2. Also, the MK42 was reduced to ‘comedic sidekick’. I would say I enjoyed the movie, but it felt messy, and despite all the ‘serious’ elements it tried to handle it was the cheesiest of the three. I think 3.5 out of 5 would be around right for me, but glad it is a relatively solid start to phase two. Bobby Inman I have to disagree. I feel this Iron Man movie drags on and on without very much Iron Man. The weakness of the Extremis elements with shallow and flawed characters left me looking at my watch far too often. Tony Stark is constantly having to go backward in order to finish a movie in the same place as he finishes every movie. His arc doesn’t grow, just retraces old ground. The action felt hurried and forced, without reason save for being eye candy. I certainly do not believe it warrants the MMM rating on par with others in this genre. Sean Gerber I’m not going to get into spoiler territory, but you and I clearly did not watch the same movie if you believe Tony was in the same place at the end of “Iron Man 3” that he was at the end of either of the first two films or “The Avengers.” Bobby inman I don’t want to go spoilery either, so will save any further discussion till your podcast. Or at least the US release date. But I do stand by what I said. Bobby inman Roll on Man of Steel. The weakness of IM3 will only fuel the fire when MoS comes out and blows everybody away. Adrian Edmondson Thanks for not spoiling Sean . Can’t wait to see the movie . Adrian Edmondson Not bad . Will see it again but Extremis people kinda wooden . Will see this one more time . Love the end scene though . Darryl Baker Completely agree with this review. Too often comic book movies, particularly big franchise releases, play it safe and leave the characters largely unchanged following the first movie. Same shit, different day. No development, no risk. IM3 obviously set out to upset that apple cart and was a breath of fresh air because of it. Let’s hope phase 2 continues this trend. (Although I still think a bloody talking raccoon might be seen as a “jumping the shark” moment by many…) Chris Willis I think this instalment on the franchise will divide fans. Looking forward to having a good discussion in a couple of weeks once the film opens worldwide. Brian Brutlag Great review Sean, Now I’m even more excited for the film. Pepper gets Armor right?….RIGHT? LOL J/k I don’t want to be spoiled…I just want to see it! djseeley “Iron Man 3 is far more interested in exploring and resolving the issues plaguing its main characters than it is in setting up the rest of Marvel’s upcoming slate.” Yet there is a character (Ellen) who ties in to another, yet unseen (?) Marvel character – Ted Sallis/Man-Thing. Since in the comics that character also recreated the super soldier serum that transformed Capt’n America, and Marvel has since gotten the rights back to the character (having been in a live action SyFy film back in 2005)… I haven’t seen the film yet, but I can comment regarding characters that are listed as appearing in the film. ‘Ellen Brandt’ is one of them. By the way, I been hearing a MAJOR SPOILER being passed around regarding the Mandarin (not from this site) and I wish people would knock it off for a least a week. Michael Fans of Marvel Minutiae rejoice! I actually haven’t seen it yet (tomorrow night!), but an Ellent Brandt name drop is pretty awesome. Spencer LoSchiavo I hope we’ll get a pretty broad range of opinions from the MMM crew. I personally just thought this movie was OK. That had more to do with the strength of the villain and what felt like, to me, was a wasted opportunity. Anyway, can’t wait for the roundtable. Chris Willis I agree Lets all wait till after the round table to discuss. Some people are yet to experience the movie. Greig Prediction: Brad will not enjoy this film. Chris will love it. John will be on-the-fence but slightly siding with liking it thanks to the Pepper parts. Josh will love it. Sean Gerber Or will John love it because of Pepper’s parts? Rob Ó Conchúir The most cold-blooded, mean-spirited, ham-fisted, bipolar-paced almighty piece of crap that anyone has ever claimed to be based on a comic book. As a comic book fan, the film is chock full of the kind of jump-the-shark divergences and lowest-common-denominator-dumbing down from the source material that directors have creative licence to employ – that’s fine. It shouldn’t make any difference how well something adapts an original piece of work so long as it’s effective as a piece of art in its own right. But as a member of the casual filmgoing public, it’s just not very good: Characters and important plot points are introduced and forgotten about for sizable chunks of the film before being hastily revisited in a hackneyed attempt to tie up all the loose ends. A few meagre moments of promise are mostly wasted on bizarre contrivances and ridiculous outcomes. Ridiculous red herrings and ‘shock twists’ are employed in some sort of shabby effort to ape the Nolan Batman films. It’s as if an accountant made this film. This is the first time I’ve ever wanted to stand up and walk out of a comic book movie, in my entire life. I honestly can’t believe the widespread acclaim it’s getting. Are Disney paying people off? On a serious, objective note, if you have young kids, DON’T bring them to this film. It is filled with gleeful, joke-ridden violence and has the largest, most unnecessary body-count in any superhero film. This is NOT the kind of film kids should be watching and it’s depressing how many children will see this. Tony Stark revelled in more comedy-kills in this than Frank Castle himself in all THREE of his films. Sean Gerber I never saw a dime for my IRON MAN 3 review. I just loved the film. Cheers. Greig Both, haha. T.J. Oh Brad, I can’t wait to hear all the things you hated about Iron Man 3. That’s actually not sarcastic; Brad is like the voice of my inner comic-film critic. I’m betting John will not like “the twist” but will forgive it because Pepper Potts. That said, I enjoyed IM3. Stock I generally withhold opinion til I’ve seen it myself, but Sean’s review is one of the few openly positive ones I’ve read. I trust most reviewers like I trust lawyers and politicians, but even here, IM3 has its detractors. 2 reservations for me right out of the gate: Pepper in the IM suit. I hope there is a reasonable explanation for this and it isn’t just a “well, there you go, boys”: moment because neither a paper pushing secretary or a high executive, whatever the hell she is, should be able to handle or have the security clearance to get in IM armor. Jarvis! You’re fired. IM automatons. This, like every other excuse to destroy thousands of entities on screen, (See Star Wars Episodes I-III) is merely a way to show carnage without consequence. Who can be invested in a remote control IM suit? Who cares how many Jango Fett clones die? Who cares how many armies of robots are blown up? Answer, of course, is nobody. NOBODY. Something without even the heart and soul of Arnold’s T2 cannot evoke anything other than a yawn from me. “I’m Solldy! I’m Solldy!” insideguy Hmmmm just from reading about this one on a bunch of message boards it sounds like many are divided on it. I haven’t seen this much bi-polar opinion on a comic book film in a long time. Sean Gerber Not since July 20, 2012. 😉 insideguy lol true that. But Sean I think this one has even more disagreement. I don’t have statistics to back that up of course but just looking at the reaction I do get that sense. It is an interesting topic. I do wonder if they make Doctor Doom a chinese guy from tibet with no armor in the next FF movie if the fans such as yourself will be as forgiving:) I have doubts that you would:) Crosswalker43 why are so many critics complaining about iron man 3 having an action scene at the end? it wouldn’t make sense otherwise. we don’t need another superman returns with superman on his back for the final act of the film. Stock Ok, just saw it. Definite improvement over second installment. There are things that should be said that could be considered “spoilers,” so I won’t say them here. I hope you all at MMM revisit the movie in another headline so those can be discussed. But, that being said, my first reservation still stands, my second doesn’t. I don’t have the same emotional connection to IM that I do to Batman, or even Superman. Iron Man is almost too light hearted for me, but all in all, IM3 is worth seeing on the big screen. Some plot points could have been better developed, IMO, and some characters given greater detail, but that would contain spoilers as well so shut up I guess. Congrats to the Marvel team for an enjoyable movie.