Originally published on the now defunct Newcastle Free Press website. Link unavailable.
Runtime: 130 mins
Director: Shane Black
Writer: Drew Pearce, Shane Black et al.
Starring: Robert Downey Jnr., Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow
Release: 25th April 2013
Right, I had better put a massive SPOILER WARNING right here; I am not going to talk about the plot very much because it is genuinely not my intention to ruin it for anyone, but the nature of reviewing means that I am inevitably going to mention a few specifics. In summary, the film is really good, entertaining from start to finish, Robert Downey Jnr is awesome and the 3D ain’t bad. There be spoilers from here on.
Shane Black, the writer and director of Iron Man 3 had a hard job following on from the first two films, which went to great lengths to up the ante with each instalment. I have to admit that the director of the amazing Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang (also with Downey Jnr) and the writer of the Lethal Weapon films was not who I imagined would be at the helm of Marvel’s flagship franchise. Thankfully, Iron Man 3 lent more towards the former film than the latter series… by which I mean it’s a really entertaining movie.
The script is really well written with sharp dialogue and good action beats and, story and character wise, this is arguably the most interesting and ambitious film in the series. The film is also really funny throughout with RDJ firing on all cylinders. There has been some question as to whether Downey Jnr will be continuing with the series… I can only assume that he has a strong aversion to huge amounts of money. I do hope that this isn’t the case; I can’t actually think of anyone else who could now play that part as he has made it very much his own. So much so that one of the many comments made about his appearance at Comic Con last year was: ‘Ah… nice to see that Tony Stark has shown up in his Robert Downey Jnr costume.’
As for the rest of the cast (still without trying to ruin anything); Guy Peirce and Ben Kingsley do incredibly well as the villains, ‘Aldrich Killian’ and ‘The Mandarin’ respectively. Don Cheadle isn’t in the film that much as War Machine (or the ‘Iron Patriot’ as he has been re-branded) but when he is there he is excellent. Oddly, Paul Bettany gets a much bigger role despite not being in the film as the (mostly) disembodied voice of Jarvis. Despite what you may think of her in general, Gwyneth Paltrow is a much more well-rounded character in this film. Also… as unbelievable as this may sound, she gets to be a badass and is surprisingly good at being one!
Despite all this good stuff… I do have some criticisms, but they are mostly minor. In some cases major plot themes are summed up a bit too quickly and easily for comfort. There are also certain things that just don’t make sense, especially in the context of the other films. Again, I want to avoid specifics here but… across the three films, they have never really been consistent with what the big light in Stark’s chest actually does. In the other two films, this was much less of an issue, but here it actually affects important elements of the story. Let’s just leave it at that.
Finally, and appropriately, the ending. For me the final action scene fell a bit flat, but to be fair this is not really the fault of the section itself. It’s because I knew what was going to happen… because they ruined it with the trailer. As they always do. Because I knew that loads of other Iron Man suits were going to show up at the end, the whole segment was less exciting. The proper ending might be distinctly more… final (as redundant as that sounds) than audiences were wanting or expecting. The aforementioned uncertainty over RDJ continuing in the role and the fact that his contract with Marvel is officially over now presumably affected the story in this manner. Thankfully, this slightly anticlimactic ending was wholly made up for with a very funny post-credits scene. You just have to sit through about 15 minutes of VFX artists’ names scrolling past you.
All in all, Iron Man 3 is a very enjoyable film; entertaining and exciting throughout. It’s only really afterwards, when you have a bit more time to think about things, that you start to notice the problems. But even then, the problems aren’t going to stop me going to see it again. Hopefully, this is not the last we’ve seen of Tony Stark.