Forgive me for this belated review. I started writing this two weeks ago and I only got to finish today because things have been a bit busy lately. That being said, I will proceed now to the actual post.
It comes as no surprise that most cinemas have completely filled their slots with Iron Man screenings. In many malls, there are no other movies being featured except for Tony Stark’s return to the big screen. Fans have been waiting for this third installment and after the sheer awesomeness of the first two, who can blame them? Certainly not me, because I was one of the legions who lined up in the theater to support Robert Downey Jr’s iconic Marvel superhero alter ego on its first weekend out.
After the events of New York where Iron Man almost lost his life in the wormhole, Tony becomes obsessed with improving his suits in order to protect the people that he loves from harm’s way (read: Pepper). But a terrorist who calls himself The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) suddenly shows up causing explosions to happen in different parts of the US, as if to send a message to the President. As Happy (now the newly minted chief of security at Stark Inc.) sniffs around a suspicious scientist named Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) whom he recognizes from an encounter with him and Tony decades ago, he almost loses his life to an explosion of unknown origin and Tony takes it upon himself to challenge The Mandarin, whom he believes to be responsible for the expl0sions, to a showdown. Big mistake, as it turns out, because Mandarin gladly takes him up on his offer and attacks him in his home. With the world believing that Iron Man died in the hands of the villain, Tony must work with his wits and save the world from danger anew with the only tools he has left and the help of a pint sized sidekick, Harley (Ty Simpkins) and his best bud Col. James Rhodes, or the Iron Patriot (formerly known as War Machine).
The third installment to the franchise is quite different from the first two mainly because it does not present Tony Stark as an ultra confident billionaire/superhero but rather as a person with imperfections. This sequel presents Tony in a different light, not devoid of sarcasm and humor but rather a person who is uncertain and afraid of losing the person he loves most. This vulnerability, which Robert Downey Jr. depicts brilliantly allows the audiences to connect to the character on a deeper level and care for him more. It shows him on a more mature light wherein he takes responsibility for his mistakes and deals with them the best way that he could.
The pacing for this movie was a bit slower than the first two because of the dramatic component of the film. However, it was not lacking in cool action scenes and new innovations to the Iron Men suits (yes, plural) But what I liked best from this episode was the throwback to the time when Tony was in the cave in the first chapter, where equipped with only a few tools, he was able save his own life by creating a device that would keep shrapnels away from his heart — the device that allows him to power the Iron Man suit. This time, Tony has no choice but to Mcgyver his way to Pepper’s rescue with a few powertools from the local hardware, trade wisecracks at a 12 year old small town boy (who was adorable, by the way), and rely on his trusty assistant Jarvis.
Fanboys will get a field day from all of the versions of Iron Man suits that were on parade for this sequel but I guess there will be those that would feel differently about the major change in the Mandarin’s origins in the storyline. While the presentation did make sense, I felt that this movie, despite being kickass as a standalone, was not as fun as the previous two movies. Props to Shane Black who did well in the director’s seat but I liked it better when Jon Favreau was directing the franchise. I felt that the stories were stronger and simpler and more relateable to fans and kids alike.
All in all, I had a great time watching Iron Man’s third outing. I’m looking forward to more sightings of this dynamic superhero on the next Avengers movie.