I’m going to try and write this review spoiler-free, but humor me, that’s hard. This movie arrived on the same weekend they are filming the new Captain America movie downtown DC on the Roosevelt Bridge. I have to admit, it was tempting to drive downtown and see if we could see the filming having just sat through Iron Man 3.
The first blockbuster movie of the summer is finally out. Iron Man 3 arrived in a crescendo of explosions and special effects magic. After the Avengers last summer, everyone wonders if Marvel can continue the franchise(s) with any degree of success. After all, when you have movies run in numbers larger than two, there’s the risk of the intellectual property getting stale. That’s not the case here I’m happy to say.
The movie picks up with Tony Stark post the Avengers movie. He’s still compulsive – now creating new Iron Man suits. He’s suffering from PTSD too. This is good character development here folks. Sure he’s arrogant, I wonder how much of this is actual action on the part of Robert Downey Jr.? We see that his relationship with Pepper Potts is moving along too. On the character development front, this movie is really about Tony Stark proving to himself that he’s the hero that he has played up to this point…that it’s not just the suit but the man in it.
We have a villain here, the Mandarin. I have to admit his bombing attacks at public venues stings a little after the Boston attacks. I won’t ruin it for you, but he’s not the villain you might think. The writers really did some neat stuff here.
The Mandarin is using a new genetics technology – Extremis – which allows people to essentially become super powered. He’s the front man for a terrorist organization that is striking at the US. America’s initial response is Iron Patriot, Colonel Rhodes, who is running around with the War Machine Iron Man suit, all done up red, white, and blue. Iron Man challenges the Mandarin to bring the fight to him. Okay, bad move. Tony Stark nearly loses everything in the process. The movie is really focused on unwrapping the intricate plot of the terrorists while Tony comes to grip with himself as hero.
The terrorists are playing a deep game and Pepper Potts becomes a leverage against Stark. This is a good reminder why most comic heroes have secret identities. The plot of the movie is solid and intriguing. If you think you know where things are going, be prepared to be surprised. Even with all of the trailers and snippets on the internet, the plot still offers viewers a lot of twists and turns.
I was a little worried when they gave Tony a kid sidekick for a portion of the movie. Uh oh, here we go, a path down the Jar Jar Binks Highway. Whew! Tony’s interactions with the kid are, well, typically Tony. It didn’t get all warm and fuzzy, thank God.
Iron Patriot and Colonel Rhodes gets a lot of screen time too. If this is a hint about Avengers 2, it is that the Marvel Universe is plenty big for a lot of characters.
Downsides to the movie? Well, we get to see a lot of Iron Man suits. That’s good and bad. The battle scene at the end has a lot going on with it. I got a little weary (stress little) with Tony jumping in and out of various suits. At the same time, some of them are downright cool. The battle scene at the end is overly complex in my opinion, but it’s not a big detractor and I will grant you, that’s just my personal preference.
Pepper gets some action scenes. I could take or leave those. It does develop her character but I’m not sure it adds a lot to the movie.
Great parts? Quite a few. Tony’s confrontation with the Mandarin is something that will catch you off-guard. And yes, if you stay until after the lengthy credits, you will be rewarded with a great scene that is both funny and gives you some ties to the Avengers.
Should you go and see this movie? Yes! It is money well spent. I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars.