The third film in the Iron Man series has finally arrived in the theater and not too soon for fans of the movies based on Marvel’s original comic book series. The first one was titled “Tales of Suspense” and released in 1963 featuring the character known as Super Hero Iron Man. The character was so popular he got his own comic book debut with “The Invincible Iron Man” in 1968.
Things have really progressed in Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) brilliant creations of Iron Man suits in this new film. He’s as determined as ever to fight evil but – as revealed in the 2012 sequel of The Avengers – Tony now suffers from anxiety attacks. I guess even superheroes aren’t perfect.
He also doesn’t have much patience as witnessed in the first scenes where Tony is down in his workshop, all of his past Iron Man suits lined up against the wall. Tony is working on his latest suit but as he extends his arms beckoning the parts to zoom over and attach themselves, some of the parts go all over the room. Tony is not happy about this.
After bits of life in his huge extraordinary sea-side mansion, and quick exchanges with his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), the story moves on to more relevant aspects of Iron Man’s missions.
The plot borrows from today’s headlines when Tony notices on TV that villain Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) claims responsibility for terrorist bombings on both foreign and American soil. The interesting note about the Mandarin is learned in flash backs where Tony was approached by a young man with urgent news he wanted to share with Iron Man. Years later he’s revealed as mad scientist Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) who discoveries are almost more fantastic than Iron Man’s.
The story is set, and for those who like loud explosions and plenty of violence, Iron Man 3 is their movie. The production is terrific and that’s a credit to the 100s of digital and production artists that worked on the film. The scene of the destruction of Hollywood’s historic Chinese Theatre is only one example. But this focus also seems to cover up the weak story. Fans might not like that Tony has anxiety attacks, sometimes can’t be where he needs to be, and occasionally can’t rescue his friends or family from harm – Pepper as an example.
Director and co-writer Shane Black adds a significant added value to this franchise. The cast is wonderful. Downey Jr. brings his usual charisma to the role, but then is almost too good in scenes where Tony questions himself.
Writer’s really need to increase Pepper’s role in this series. Paltrow did the best she could; even when she stands up to Tony wanting some more attention, but her character is too-one dimensional. Pearce is a villain we love to hate as Killian. He really meets Iron Man head on and sometimes comes out on top. Ben Kingsley is hands down the scene stealer in this film. Without giving too much away, he’s a real plus as Mandarin and makes for a very unique villain.
Ty Simpkins gives a delightful performance as Harley, a young boy who not only comes to Iron Man’s rescue, but also learns some valuable lessons about life.
Almost the entire audience, who attended the screening I attended, stayed through the very long list of credits to see a final scene with Robert Downey Jr. and what he had to say about Iron Man.
Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal, MVLFFLLC, TM & Marvel.