The more movies there are in a franchise, the more room there can be for error in that succession of blockbusters. Watching the third (and supposedly final) in Marvel’s Iron Man series, leaves me wondering if it may suffer sequel fatigue. Here are my thoughts on how it all turns out.
Iron Man 3 (2013) MCU Film Review
Saving the world alongside his comrades leaves Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) with memories. Too many memories, the sort that leave him unwell; the memories torment him and he cannot process his near-death experience. It’s now not just affecting him, it’s also beginning to come between him and the woman he loves, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). But bleak as things are, things get worse when Tony’s past rears up to haunt him.
Thirteen years ago, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) tried to sell Tony a theory, and now he pitches his idea to Stark Industries new CEO, Pepper, only to be turned down again. Coinciding with Aldrich’s return is the rise of a terrorist everyone knows as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). This puts Tony’s friend Col. James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) on the path of finding the man who has taken credit for multiple overseas terrorist attacks. But that’s only one part of the fight. Tony is personally attacked at his home. Somehow, he ends up in tiny town in rural Tennessee where a pint-sized version (Ty Simpkins) of himself helps put the pieces back together and reminds Tony why he is who he is.
Of all the superheroes Tony Stark is likely the most egotistical there is. If you didn’t make it through the first movie for this reason, you may want to give the guy another shot. Like any hero should, Tony rises to each occasion and becomes the kind of guy you don’t mind seeing get the girl. Does this mean he’s no longer an occasional jerk? No, but he doesn’t only think about himself and that speaks volumes. Each script has “grown him up” and believe it or not, there’s even more moral lessons here.
Though my memory of the first two films is fuzzy, I have to say this script is comparatively smart. The sign of a “good movie” is when writers can make the action genre work well with humor and as usual there is no shortage of either in this plot, two elements that mingle together well. Instead of campy, a lot of the laughs are inspired by witty antidotes, and of course, no one delivers the lines better than Robert Downy Jr. The references to The Avengers is fabulous as is the flirty banter between the leading couple; their “cute” romantics never cease to lighten the mood, and remind us why the beloved Pepper and Tony are a couple worth rooting for.
Unlike the previous outings, this film takes a unique approach by having Tony fight the baddies as a “mere mortal” instead of Iron Man. Here the plot takes Tony out of his safety net (of a sort) and strips him of the superhero mantle. This reminds us he’s only a man albeit a brilliant one, not some supernatural being. The climax is quite good and it’s also interesting to see what writer’s do to Pepper. If this really is the end of the franchise, I think fans will be satisfied. It’s complete while also allowing for more should a fourth movie ever come, plus there’s a funny little scene at the end credits that explains Tony’s narration.
In my opinion, this is the best Iron Man yet. It’s snazzy and classy in equal parts. In closing, should a writer ever want to know a way to endear their story to me, just add in some Downton Abbey references and you’re golden.
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CONTENT: minor flirting between Tony and Pepper [we see one shot of them in bed together, clothed]; the film opens with Tony having a one-night stand [implied]. Women wear inappropriate, low-cut ensembles, including Pepper being in a shorts bra once and there are some crude sexual references. Multiple scenes are “violent”; there’s bombs and several people sustain injuries or die. There is a lot of fighting between Tony and Aldrich’s “army,” as well as a terrorist boasting about killing Americans. There is some profanity [a**, da*n, h*ll]. Iron Man 3 is PG13.