*NOTE: SPOILERS WITHIN. Unfortunately this is a movie that I actually couldn’t review without spoilers seeing as most of the problems with the movie were spoiler type of situations that weren’t executed well.
That was a running joke during the viewing of Iron Man 3. Quite frankly, there was much more “Man” in this movie then “Iron Man.” The third movie in Marvel’s paramount series acquaints audiences much more with Tony Stark the man rather then the hero that helped save New York from an army of aliens.
Iron Man played a huge role in last years The Avengers so re-familiarizing everyone with who he is without the armor was a smart choice…for maybe the first thirty minutes of the film. But as the film wore on (clocking in at two hours and fifteen minutes), it was a bit annoying to not really see Tony donning the titular persona. This is an Iron Man movie, right? When do we get to see Iron Man!? Moments when we think we’re seeing Tony in the suit turns out to be him commanding the suit from a safe distance.
That did not make these scenes less exciting, merely disappointing. Marvel movies just know how to deliver the action sequences and this movie was no different. The best scenes were obviously those where danger was imminent. Stark’s house sliding into the ocean. Bar fights with fiery villains. Air Force One staff falling through the atmosphere. Everything was very worthy of butts being on the edge of the theater seat. Seeing different armor that Tony has built was the best sequence. Now that he is aware of all the threats the Universe has to offer, he has built an incredible arsenal to thwart them…
…only to destroy them moments later.
Which brings the next major problem with the movie: the actual story and execution. Primarily the villain in this story, The Mandarin. Borrowed from the comic books, The Mandarin commanded such a fierce demeanor and presence from his opening scene. This was a terrorist who did not give a damn. This was a man who truly wanted to watch the world (I.e America) burn. That is what we were led to believe to only have it revealed in a weak plot twist that The Mandarin we were presented with was merely a face for an evil plot that was never really clear to begin with. To reduce him to a blubbering idiot of an actor only for a poor switch to having Aldrich Killian as “The Mandarin” was just such a poor choice. Iron Man needs a decent villain and one movie after the other continues to let down the otherwise stellar franchise.
Performances in the movie were top notch. Don Cheadle as Colonel James Rhodes, or “Rhodey” as he is affectionately called, was immaculate. As a strong believer that Terrance Howard was always the better Rhodey, Cheadle certainly proved that he owns the role. Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark at this point in his acting career. One-liners ran rampant throughout the script which caused for some comedic moments at inappropriate times, but also made the movie much more fun to watch.
Unfortunately, Iron Man 3 suffers from being the follow up to the explosive Avengers and the start of Phase 2 of Marvel’s grand scheme for cinematic domination. That is far too much pressure on a film to help aid another film that won’t be out for years (cough Avengers 2 cough). This “plan” that has been concocted for the next two years for Marvel movies seems like a great plan on paper, but execution is key. If Iron Man 3 is any indication of the future of these movies, so help us.