Following the success of the Avengers, Marvel sets out to create the 2nd Phase of their Cinematic Universe and the first film to officially launch this is Iron Man 3. This isn’t particularly an easy role to fill since fans are already pre-disposed to the kind of movies that they’ve seen and the studios are pressured to create something fresh and exciting to not tire out audiences.
Iron Man 3 does this but I wouldn’t say it does so without much hiccup. If you’re going to compare this to the epicness that was the Avengers, then you might end up being a little bit disappointed. Iron Man 3 isn’t the Avengers 2, folks. Lower those expectations and you’d end up enjoying the film more.
In Iron Man 3, the story shifts and focuses deeply on Tony Stark as he struggles to battle demons within and from his past. The narrative of the film takes a while getting used to since director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) really tried to get his mark on the film. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t Sure there’s a bunch of hilarity that never seems to run out on the Iron Man films (particularly here in Iron Man 3) but sometimes you have to know when to hold back on the funnies.
Aside from a geekgasmic third act battle sequence, one of the main highlights of the film is Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of Iron Man’s greatest comic-book nemesis, The Mandarin. Kingsley creates a marvelously refreshing villain for us to watch that I’m actually saddened he doesn’t have enough screen time (it’s all part of the story). There may be some contention to the character of the Mandarin in the film and I’m torn in the middle about this (we’ve seen a lot of iterations of Mandarin in the comics anyway, from an Oriental dude with magic rings to a criminal organization). On one hand, the movie geek in me absolutely loved the performance (seriously I cannot get enough of it)! On the other, the comic book geek wished they took the character on a different route or pushed the envelope further.
Overall Iron Man 3 is a pretty fantastic ride. It’s also the most non-Iron-Man movie of the Iron Man franchise since we see more Tony than the suit. Akin to what Tony says in the end narrative, Iron Man 3 feels very much like the struggle that the film needs to be to set up Iron Man/ Tony for the Avengers 2. We’re excited to see how this unfolds, of course.
Iron Man 3 is showing nationwide.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ke1Y3P9D0Bc]
Editor’s Note: I had very little sleep when I watched Iron Man yesterday so we’ll see if this initial impression changes after watching it again tonight. Also, stay through the end credits.