Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle
Directed by: Shane Black
Running Time: 130 minutes
It's that time again to kick off the string of summer movies and this is the first movie on my list. I was really looking forward to this and coming back home. I was able to see it again with my mom with a slightly new set of eyes.
The movie starts off in Sweden of 1999, where Tony Stark is attending a New Year's Eve party. He talks to scientist Maya Hansen about her latest experiment, Extremis, and an eager Aldrich Killian approaches him about joining his company Advanced Idea Mechanics. Tony brushes him off by saying he will meet him later, but ends up standing him up to check out Maya's experiment. We fast forward to present day, after the events in New York. The Christmas holiday is approaching and Tony Stark is struggling with anxiety attacks brought on from a wormhole incident featured in The Avengers movie and uses his suits as a distraction from his problems. Throughout the movie, he fights against it and the effects it has on the people close to him while dealing with an unexpected terrorist threat, the Mandarin.
Now I know this movie has faced a great deal of controversy and criticism, but the overall feedback has been very positive. Some might even say this is the best Iron Man in the series, maybe because the sequel was lacking something. Anyway, let's move onto what I thought.
As mentioned before, I was really looking forward to this and I must say Iron Man 3 exceed my expectations. It was personable, entertaining, action packed, and funny. Robert Downey Jr. owned his role as usual. He brought a great range of emotion and a smooth comedic delivery when called for. He is Tony Stark. Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle had role expansions and become important parts to Tony's struggles. Pepper Potts wasn't a typical damsel in distress. Her relationship with Tony was very 50/50. She needed him as much as he needed her. Colonel James Rhodes fits into this follow up more easily and his contributions doesn't seem as awkward as the sequel. He gives a good amount of support to Tony and even adds to the comedy when appropriate. Ben Kingsley also did a fantastic job as the Mandarin. I keep hearing comparisons to the Joker, but I feel his speech pattern is similar but his tactics resemble Bane. This seemed very Dark Knight Rises in areas, but still refreshing in points.
I really enjoyed the direction of the story following the events of The Avengers. This, to me, made up for the weak sequel. Some were disappointed in the lack of Iron Man, but it brought a new dimension to the character, a more human side to the hero. This could also be compared to Bruce Wayne in Dark Knight Rises. I feel every hero should face their inner demons and battle with normal trials we face. It brings out a sense of relatability and vulnerability to our hero. A struggle with the self can be a more challenging battle than the actual villain, because it hinders the hero's train of thought. As for the villain, I also enjoyed the direction they went with that. I won't go into detail, but it might contribute to breaking a cinematic trope.
I will admit that this movie is not completely perfect, but it was entertaining and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it enough to bear through it the following weekend to see it with my mom. I was pleased and I'm curious to see the future of Iron Man.
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