I am openly conflicted about “Iron Man 3.” On one hand, I am desperately trying to achieve objectivism in my review. I enjoyed it. It had a solid plot, it tied wonderfully to Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers,” and a majority of its special effects are a technical marvel. I thought that the casting was superb, and personally the inclusion of Sir Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce always make a film better. All-in-all, the quality of the film sits snugly between the first and the second Iron Man films.
However, on the other hand, I was incredibly dismayed to learn that, “Iron Man 3” would be Robert Downey, Jr’s last standalone Iron Man film. In this context, “Iron Man 3” disappoints. It doesn’t invoke the same sense of finality that I experienced when watching Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Rises.” “Iron Man 3” felt like a strong mid-entry to the series, but not the epic conclusion that should be expected from the franchise. However, it has been pointed out to me that Robert Downey Jr. will reprising his role for “The Avengers 2,” so maybe a more adequate ‘conclusion’ to Iron Man will present itself within the confines of an Avengers film.
Personal reservations aside, “Iron Man 3” is a topnotch Marvel film. It dives into the character by making Iron Man fallible, resulting in a two-hour character exploration–One of both his weaknesses and strengths. The Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley) and the founder of A.I.M. (Aldrich Killian played by Guy Pearce) are excellent villains and far superior than “Iron Man 2’s” subpar Whiplash (Mickey Rourke). I also enjoyed Marvel Studios’ deviation from the more-famous Iron Man comic book plots. It held true to the character (for the most part), but was removed enough to surprise comic book and films fans alike.
I thought that the special effects were top notch, save for the fire effects used for the A.I.M. henchmen. The were starkly different from the other special effect heavy scenes, which made them appear dated and cheap. The end sequence was gorgeously rendered and nearly all of the scenes involving the Iron Man armor were meticulously dazzling; they were fluid and excellently scripted.
My only complaint, besides the shoddy A.I.M. fire effects, is that Stark seems to break character towards the end of the movie. The script alters the very core of the character’s personality, and it as-if the exploratory elements of the film override the source of Iron Man. I am curious to see if Joss Whedon carries this new ‘Tony Stark’ into “The Avengers 2,” or decides to follow a more comic book-like rendition of the character that was presented to audiences in the first two Iron Man films. Whedon will be struggling between cohesion and character integrity, but with his directing and writing chops I am sure a happy median exists.
Overall, “Iron Man 3” is a good film. It is better than the last and is on par with the other Marvel Universe films. Besides my own comic book snobbiness and reluctance to see Robert Downey, Jr. leave the mantle, “Iron Man 3” is more than worth the price of a couple of movie stubs.
I give “Iron Man 3” four-stars-out-of-five.