Josh and Violet give their male vs. female reviews of the first blockbuster hit of the summer, Iron Man 3! Both reviews are spoiler-free, so come check ’em out after the jump!
Iron Man 3 marks the kick off of the summer blockbuster season for the movie industry. Iron Man 3 focuses on one of Tony Stark’s (played by Robert Downey Jr.) most infamous villains: The Mandarin (played by Ben Kingsley). Gwenyth Paltrow reprises her role as Pepper Potts, Don Cheadle returns as James Rhodes, and Guy Pearce joins the cast as Aldrich Killian: nerdy scientist turned super stud.
Here is a brief outline of the movie: The movie begins in 1999 (with the awful reminder of what a joke Y2K was). Tony Stark is his old womanizing self, attempting to bed a scientist (Maya Hansen, played by Rebecca Hall) who is working on a technology called “Extremis”, which has regenerative capabilities. It is still in testing phase though, as the small crater left in Tony’s hotel room is a testament to. We also meet Aldrich Killian, a scientist interested in Maya’s and Stark’s work, who has begun a research company called AIM, to which Tony is not impressed with. This is all a precursor to the primary story, which takes place 6 months after the events of The Avengers. Tony Stark is plagued with insomnia and anxiety attacks as he deals with the realization that he was just a “man in a can”, battling aliens and “gods” in New York. In this film Robert Downey Jr. has to juggle these “PTSD” symptoms while attempting to maintain Stark’s “swagger”.
In addition to battling his own internal problems, he has to deal with The Mandarin. Our villain, the Mandarin is a domestic terrorist, whose goal seems to be to take the president down. Kingsley does an excellent job playing this villain, especially once the twist is revealed. Without giving away too many details, we learn that Extremis is playing a key role in the Mandarin’s ability to cause terror among Americans, as he taunts the President with videos of his destruction. During one of these attacks, Happy Hogan (played by Iron Man 1 & 2 director Jon Favreau) is severely injured, fueling Tony Stark’s rage to stop the Mandarin.
So what do I make of the movie? Iron Man 3 provides you with a fun ride throughout the movie, while acknowledging events from Avengers, without dwelling on them. Robert Downey Jr.’s swagger as Tony Stark is excellent as usual, but the scenes where his “PTSD” kicks in seem forced and too brief to really be able to accept them as “real”. Still though, it is an interesting take on a “normal” human having to compete with demi-gods, aliens and “hulked” out science experiments.
While I felt like Shane Black came up with every excuse to keep Tony Stark out of the suit in many of the action scenes, I felt it still worked really well. There is an awesome action scene where Tony has nothing but a glove and boot from the Mark 42, and has to handle some Mandarin thugs. It was quite entertaining to see Tony Stark more vulnerable in his action scenes, rather than simply being able to hide behind is nearly invulnerable suit of armor.
Also enjoyable was the development of Tony’s relationship with his suits of armor, and how they have become more a part of him than perhaps he and definitely Pepper Potts would like.
The action in the movie is great, providing audiences with the suspenseful eye candy a “comic book” movie should. Tony gets plenty of action scenes both in and out of the suit, which is a fun ride the entire time. The relationship development between the kid introduced is quite fun, and allows Tony Stark’s personality really shine. Despite my lack desire to be within hearing distance of children, I felt their chemistry as an adversarial friendship was a lot of fun and provided most of the humor for the movie.
While the movie is mostly enjoyable, it is not without its flaws. The “twist” in the movie while handled fairly well, if thought about too much raises a lot of questions that make the movie not quite make sense. Aldrich Killian’s motives in the movie don’t seem too clear either, making his character hard to find believable. Also, while I understand the purpose of Tony’s anxiety attacks throughout the film, I had a hard time taking them seriously, and felt they were abrupt in their comings and goings and wrapped up a little to neatly for me. My biggest disappointment in the movie was Stark’s “build something” scene. I was hoping for more “toys” than his simply using a nail gun and homemade smoke bombs to be built for his infiltration of the enemy “base”. He made the Mark I in a cave in the middle east! He couldn’t make anything better with access to more building materials?!
Overall I give Iron Man 3 an 8 out of 10. I really enjoyed it, and felt all of the actors and characters melded well within the movie. I wasn’t quite on the edge of my seat as I was hoping though, and there are some silly plot issues I won’t spoil for those who haven’t seen the movie yet. Unfortunately, part of the small let down of Iron Man 3 is inevitably caused by the awesomeness that Avengers was. Logistically, it is hard to believe that the U.S. is under heavy attack, and the Avengers haven’t done anything to stop it. All in all though, it was a great start to summer time, and this is just the beginning!
The latest (and final?) installment of Iron Man movies was fun, humorous, and action packed, with a bit of a dark side as Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., internally struggles to battle the demons that haunt him as a result of everything he went through in Avengers.
The movie starts off back in 1999 on New Year’s Eve in Bern, Switzerland, where Tony convinces a girl named Maya Hansen, played by Rebecca Hall, to take him up to her room to show him her research. On the way up, a very nerdy looking Guy Pearce manages to sneak onto the elevator to tell Maya he is interested in working with her and gives her his card. Tony tells the nerdy guy, Aldrich Killian, that he’s interested in working with him and that he’ll meet him on the roof in 5 minutes. Obviously, Tony never shows, and the poor guy is left waiting on the roof while Tony spends the night with his lady friend. But first, we do get to see some of her research in action, as Tony’s bodyguard Happy, played by Jon Favreau, breaks off part of Maya’s plant, and the branch regenerates, but then the plant explodes, due to a glitch in her research. This scene is important, as Tony’s introductory voiceover talks about the past coming back to bite him.
Fast forward to the present. It’s Christmastime, and Tony has been working on several new Iron Man suits and installing micro implants into himself so that individual pieces of his suit can fly to and attach to him at whim. Unfortunately, it turns out he has a bit more tinkering to do in order to get this new feature to function properly. Meanwhile, over at Stark Industries, Aldrich Killian, now clean cut and handsome, stops by to present his research to the CEO, his former co-worker Pepper Potts, played by Gwyneth Paltrow. She declines, though she seems slightly enamored with Aldrich, despite the fact that she is now in a committed relationship with Tony, and has moved in with him.
We learn that War Machine, the suit worn by Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes, played by Don Cheadle, has been re-branded as “Iron Patriot,” much to Rhodey’s dismay. Rhodey and his Iron Patriot suit go on to play a significant part in this film.
Our villain, The Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley, hijacks the airwaves to brag about his explosive attacks, one in which Happy gets injured at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Through some technologically advanced research, Tony thinks the key to these attacks is a bombing that occurred in Rose Hill, Tennessee, which was allegedly the method of a soldier’s suicide and on the surface seems to have nothing to do with the Mandarin’s attacks.
Now that an attack has occurred on Iron Man’s turf and nearly killed his friend, Tony is pissed off, so he issues a challenge to the Mandarin to meet him face to face, giving out his own home address. This turns out to be a bad idea, as helicopters come and shoot missiles at his house, while he, Pepper, and Maya (who has come to warn Tony about something) are inside.
The suit ends up flying an unconscious Tony to Rose Hill, Tennessee, where he teams up with a tween boy named Harley, played by Ty Simpkins, to help him solve the mystery behind the explosions.
Eventually, through several exciting and humorous action scenes, we discover that certain people are not who (or what) we think they are, and that Tony’s suits have some surprises in store regarding their functionality (although I felt like this ended up being a little too convenient). Even Pepper Potts gets in on the action. By the end, everything gets wrapped up in a nice, neat bow, making you think that this could in fact be the end of the Iron Man movie series as we know it.
Speaking of being wrapped up in a bow, one thing that bothered me was the timing of the movie, which is set at Christmastime. It seems as if the movie was originally planned to be released on or around Christmas, with all the Christmas music and decorations, to the point that it was distracting considering its release was nowhere near Christmas.
My other complaint is the kid that they brought in as Tony’s temporary sidekick. Sure, it brought up some humorous banter between Tony and the kid, but for the most part I found the kid to be annoying and I felt like he was overacting. Also bothersome was the fact that the movie awkwardly tried to squeeze in the nickname of “The Mechanic” for Tony, even though it was hardly used.
Overall, despite its flaws and the annoying kid, this was quite an enjoyable film, with the tone matching that of the previous Iron Man and Avengers movies with its trademark Tony Stark humor, and fun action scenes with cool special effects. Definitely a great kickoff to the summer movies, I give it a good solid 8/10.
P.S. As always with Marvel films, make sure you stay after the credits!