I went to the midnight showing of Iron Man 3 last night. I was pretty psyched beforehand, but then I watched Iron Man and the last hour or so of Avengers which got me even more excited. The cinema was pretty packed with a good crowd although the actions of some fans at the end mystified me, I mean, surely if you go to a midnight showing you’re a pretty dedicated fan so you should know all the Marvel films have post-credit scenes yet a lot of people left in droves as soon as the credits started rolling. Anyway, first my non-spoiler review.
I have to say that while I like the first two Iron Man films I have a few issues with them. I feel that the final battles were anti-climactic, and Iron Man 2 felt more of an Avengers prologue than a genuine Iron Man film. Iron Man 3, on the other hand, is a seamless mesh of humour, action and drama which deepens Tony Stark’s character whilst providing a lot of laughs and explosions along the way. There were a few twists I didn’t see coming and the relentless pace made the film move along swiftly. While it mentioned the events of Avengers it wasn’t tied down to it which I’m glad about because while I love that there’s a shared universe, I don’t want to feel like I have to see every film to understand the others (having said that I’d probably see them all anyway).
Every character got a lot to do and Robert Downey Jr. was on top form again. There was no unnecessary angst and the conflict present naturally flowed from the characters. Credit has to be given to the editors of the trailer because there is a lot of the story that the trailers didn’t give any indication to, so prepare to be surprised.
Now for spoilers, beware.
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It started with a flashback where we got to see Happy with a mullet and a nice cameo by Yensin, who helped Tony build the first suit in Iron Man. Then we leap forward to the present where Tony is dealing with the aftermath of New York. I like that it affected him so much because he’s probably the one Avenger who is most unused to the horrifying experience he went through. The others were either military, a god or the Hulk so they were used to the trauma whereas Tony wasn’t.
He’s rather on edge to say the least and sends out a message to the Mandarin, daring him to strike at his home. Big mistake. Tony’s house gets obliterated and he’s cast away to Tennessee, presumed dead. He makes friends with a young boy, and their scenes together provide more laughs. He also begins to put the pieces of the mystery together and finds out that Aldrich Killian has been using Extremis to heal people, but in some it has been unstable so they’re used as bombs. The Extremis army is powerful and they all provide worthy foes for Iron Man.
Tony traces the Mandarin to his headquarters in Miami and we get a big surprise. The Mandarin isn’t actually The Mandarin at all, he’s just an actor, played brilliantly by Ben Kingsley. It took me completely by surprise and it was such a good transformation from the cold, calculating Mandarin to the twitchy, spaced out actor Trevor. As I said, the trailers did a great job of covering this up. Meanwhile. Rhodey has been relieved of his Iron Patriot armour and Pepper has been captured and injected with Extremis.
There’s a very impressive action sequence involving Air Force One, where Tony has to fly through the air and collect falling victims. They all catch each other and form a sort of daisy chain, it was an exciting sequence and I can’t remember seeing anything quite like it before.
The final conflict takes place at a shipyard and the industrial setting is a fitting landscape. Tony is suitless by this point, but he instigates his ‘house party’ protocol and an army of armours join them. It was really cool to see a lot of different armours in action, especially the way Tony used them to fight. I like the Extemis army as well. One point my friend raised before the film, and it’s one I agreed with, was that we hoped that the main villain wouldn’t be a variation of Tony’s armour, because the previous two films had both featured that idea. It was nice to see different tactics deployed. There were some points when he transferred from armour to armour, ejecting just as he was about to be hit. It was a frantic sequence but it never became a blur. Pepper was dropped into a great blazing fire, but it was quite predictable that she wasn’t dead because she’d been injected with Extremis, and, true enough she came back. Tony was being put on the ropes by Killian, but then Pepper comes in and saves the day. It was a nice little twist on the usual order of things by having the love interest save the hero. I really like the Tony and Pepper relationship, they’re portrayed as equals and they help each other.
I was a bit puzzled by the end. He destroys all the armours, which I thought was a bit of a waste. Especially given the events of Avengers, surely they would come in handy in case the Chitauri attacked again. But, I suppose they were becoming a bit of an obsession and he wanted to let it go. He also got rid of the shrapnel in his chest, but he assures us as the end that nobody can take away the fact that he is Iron Man. It was a satisfying ending although as I said a bit puzzling, because one would assume he’s simply going to build more sets of armour.
Then we come to the end credits scene. I wasn’t sure what to expect, although usually the end credits scene has been used to set up the next film, but I thought possibly this could hint to Guardians of the Galaxy because not much is widely known about them. The one thing about Iron Man 3 that disappointed me was the lack of Bruce Banner. I thought, given that the two of them drove off together at the end of Avengers he may have had a small role to play. Lo and behold, just as I mentioned that to my friend he appeared! It was a cute little scene which gave some sense to the voiceover which framed the film. It was just a little annoying that they placed it right at the end of the credits rather than after the animated sequence of credits that occurred just at the conclusion of the film.
They assured us that Tony Stark would return, but not when, so is it possible he’ll be in a film before Avengers 2? Interesting to think about, given that I believe he has allied with the Guardians of the Galaxy occasionally.