First Review- Spoiler Free
Tony Stark, you know him, you love him; the man, the myth, the legend makes his return as the beloved metal man, aka Iron Man. This time around we find Tony struggling with the aftermath of The Avengers and the negative toll it’s taking, not only on him but on Pepper as well. Sleep evades him and when he does sleep he is met with nightmarish flashbacks of the past events in New York. He feels helpless and out of touch with everything in his life. He feels Pepper pulling away from him and he wants nothing more than to have her at his side.
In a moment of delirium and anger, Tony threatens a man known globally as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) who is responsible for hurting those closest to Tony. It isn’t long before The Mandarin takes Tony up on his offer and attacks Iron Man in his own home, and it is one hell of an attack. All this pain and chaos is a result of past mistakes made by Tony in the late 90’s. The thing of it is, he didn’t even realize his mistakes until present day and by then it’s far too late for apologies.
All at once Tony’s already turbulent life gets thrown into turmoil and he’s left with no real help other than the head on his shoulders. Will Tony find his way out of this one? I could say but I’m just going to assume you, the reader, are not dumb. Remembering not long ago this was being pegged as by far the most serious in the Iron Man trilogy and I can honestly say without spoiling anything that is in no way true, in fact if you ask me I would say this is bar far the most humorous of them all. So humorous that sometimes the funny even gets in the way. It feels like they had so many jokes and no intention of getting rid of any of them that they just threw them all in and quite a few fell into places they didn’t belong. Don’t get me wrong, I want and love the humor, it’s one of the many charms of this character, but I also want the seriousness of the character as well. There were moments of true peril and tenseness and they just get stopped short with some “gag”. It sometimes felt out of place, but altogether not enough to hurt the film all too much.
This has all the elements we loved about the first two Iron Man films, but it has a pace and uniqueness about it that sets itself apart. I would say aside from the misplaced humor here and there I only had two real qualms with Iron Man 3. First is the lack of Tony in the suit, it felt like a lot of time is wasted with him running around without it. Tony Stark is a great character outside of the suit but more time flying around would have been nice. The second were the villains, I won’t say anything specific but I will just bring up the film franchise of The Terminator and leave it at that. Even with these minor mishaps, Iron Man 3 is a very welcome addition to the Marvel Universe and a very strong start to Phase II.
Second Review- Spoilers Ahead!
The lights go down, the screen starts fluttering as pages fly by and the Marvel logo is revealed! Excitement takes over the audience and not a creature was stirring as a familiar voice emanates through the theater. Tony Stark is talking and when he talks, you listen, mostly because he never shuts up. Tony is struggling and as someone who claims to never have problems like stress or anxiety both seem to hit him simultaneously and he doesn’t handle this so well. This is certainly the most human we have ever seen Tony, he’s weak and wounded in a way inexplicable even to him. He turns to Pepper but his behavior is so erratic that Pepper is keeping a distance out of sheer uncertainty.
As Tony tries to cope with his issues by keeping busy, in other parts of the world terror is spreading in the name of The Mandarin. The Mandarin calls himself a teacher, but to the rest of the sane world he’s nothing more than an ass that blows stuff and people up and must be stopped at all costs. When one of his attacks hurts Happy (Jon Favreau), Tony’s close friend and former body guard, Tony goes on the offense and flat out threatens The Mandarin. In a very blunt and to the point way, The Mandarin responds by blowing up Tony’s house in a blaze of glory. Amidst all the chaos Tony is separated from Pepper and is taken away to a location in the Midwest. All in one giant shift Tony is on his own with a broken down suit, stranded in a snowy nowhere.
Here he finds help in the unlikeliest of ways in that of a little boy with issues of his own, so in some fashion he understands Tony. As Tony looks for evidence that he hopes will locate The Mandarin, the villain “teaches” his lessons to the world with each attack bigger than the last. For his final lesson he aims to teach the President himself by attacking Air Force One. Once Tony has gotten his evidence and located The Mandarin, certain secrets come to light such as The Mandarin isn’t who everyone thinks he is and the impending attack on the President is soon, very soon. Tony repairs his suit and heads for the plane but with little luck of saving the plane itself he focuses on the people thrown from it and falling to their deaths. Tony is overwhelmed and outmatched as he learns the true villain is someone he wrote off over a decade ago, a man known as Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), the true Mandarin! The man everyone knew as The Mandarin was nothing more than a façade intended to conceal the identity of Killian.
In a grand finale, a final showdown of sorts takes places and boy is it a doozy! Tony and his equally suit-less friend Rhodes (Don Cheadle) are met with immense opposition and as I just said their suits are elsewhere. In a stroke of sheer genius Tony’s hobby before all this came to light was making drones that come simply by Tony waving his arms. Now with a lot of backup the battle takes to a whole new level of awesome. In the end, despite all the suits and super-humans running around it all really comes down to Tony and Killian with a little bit of Pepper thrown in for seasoning. (Clever wordplay if I do say so myself, and I do.)
With a pace all its own, Iron Man 3 brings us into Phase II of the Marvel Universe and it certainly does a wonderful job. It has its faults, such as the bad guys advantage reminding me entirely too much of The Terminator; the humor is wonderful but misplaced at times and a little more flight time would have been nice. But despite these few tiffs, I loved this film! It is a very welcome addition and a great window into what we can expect from future Marvel films to come. It is witty, action packed with wonderful characters that really make this one to remember. Tony Stark will return!
Rated PG-13 for: sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief suggestive content
Runtime: 130 minutes
After Credits Scene: It’s a Marvel film, you should know by now that YES, there is something at the end.
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, Don Cheadle, Ben Kingsley
Directed By: Shane Black
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 4.5/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 5
OVERALL: 4 Nerdskulls
Don’t get sold out! Buy tickets to Iron Man 3 now. Iron Man 3 in theaters May 3.