8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Fails to meet the standards of its predecessors & The Avengers,
This review is from: Iron Man 3 [DVD] (DVD)
Hard to believe that it was FIVE years ago that Robert Downey Jr. took centre stage as Tony Stark in the smash-hit film Iron Man (2008). Since that inspired performance in what was one of the sharpest & most-refreshing superhero films ever produced, Robert became a household name and Iron Man's popularity matched that of Superman, Batman & Spider-Man in no time at all.
The greatness continued in 2010's Iron Man 2. A film (which in my honest opinion) was EVERY-BIT-AS-GOOD as its predecessor (regardless of what others say!), continuing the cinematic journey of Tony Stark/Iron Man and his world in brilliant fashion. And by the time last year's masterpiece The Avengers came along, Robert Downey Jr. had truly cemented his legacy forever as both a phenomenal actor and an icon.
So OBVIOUSLY, we had to check out Iron Man 3. Especially given that it takes place right after The Avengers. But does Iron Man 3 match the standard set by the earlier prequels and The Avengers?
Tony's life was changed forever by the events of The Avengers. The universe is bigger and wilder than he'd dare dream. Tony's struggles to accept that has resulted in severe anxiety issues. His relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) has become more questionable than ever and when things couldn't get any worse...Tony and all he cares about will come under fire from the feared Mandarin.
It all sounds great. The initial trailers showed much promise, but the final product is let down severely by new director Shane Black (succeeding Jon Favreau), and the direction he takes the franchise in. Black ditches Favreau's approach (sharp, witty, relatable and none-too-serious) in favour of a darker, harder & more-convoluted presentation. In doing so, Black forgets the ingredients that made Iron Mans 1 & 2 so appealing, whilst trying to produce something that mirrors The Dark Knight Rises. While this is admirable, it can't compare with Christopher Nolan's genius and his efforts in making Bruce Wayne/Batman a truly tragic & inspirational figure (with the tale to match).
Of course, the tools ARE there with the character of Tony Stark (who's more troubled & tragic than ever here). Iron Man's clearly been affected by what's happened to him previously, and various flashbacks are used to great affect. The circumstances DO shape Tony into a harder & even more inspirational individual, but while the development works, the plot becomes needlessly bloated & convoluted to the point where it ruins the film.
Speaking of plot, there are too many twists-and-turns along the way. It builds-up nicely, then just falls through spectacularly, thus undermining the stakes completely. It's so frustrating, and lacking in discipline. And while the CGI & action remains as groundbreaking as ever, it's mostly flash & little substance this time around, which goes against everything that made previous Iron Man flicks (and The Avengers) so special.
But whereas the film's plot crumbles under its own weight, fans can still expect top-notch performances from most of the cast. As ever, Robert Downey Jr. DOES NOT disappoint. He is to Tony Stark/Iron Man what Christopher Reeve was to Superman. Because of Downey's real-life problems, he can relate to the character of Tony Stark in a way no one else could. Robert just continues to live & breathe the role, to the point where it's virtually impossible to imagine anyone else donning the suit.
Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) & Don Cheadle (James Rhodes/Iron Patriot) continue to flourish in their colourful parts of the supporting-cast, and there's also strong performances from the likes of Rebecca Hall (Dr. Maya Hansen), Guy Pearce (Aldrich Killian) and young Ty Simpkins as Harley (who I reckon has got a bright future ahead of him). But the most prominent display comes from the legendary Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin. Kingsley simply steals every scene he's in as the majestic warlord, matching the presences of Jeff Bridges & Mickey Rourke from previous films. The only thing that hampers Kingsley is the reduced screen-time he receives, and how wasted his role (and talent) is under Shane Black's direction. It's another frustrating thing about this film!
Normally, the third-entries in superhero film trilogies are generally regarded as the weakest. I had hopes for Iron Man 3, especially after marvelling at Iron Mans 1 & 2, the Avengers, and of course the whole Dark Knight Trilogy. But alas, Iron Man 3 sadly falters. It's an okay (at best) flick, but unlike Spider-Man 3 or X-Men: The Last Stand, Iron Man 3 is something I just couldn't enjoy all the way through. Has its moments, and by the end, it concludes this trilogy satisfactorily, but it has far too many blemishes going against it. A great, great shame.