US Release Date: 05-03-2013
Directed by: Shane Black
- Robert Downey Jr., as
- Tony Stark
- Gwyneth Paltrow, as
- Pepper Potts
- Don Cheadle, as
- Colonel James Rhodes
- Guy Pearce, as
- Aldrich Killian
- Rebecca Hall, as
- Maya Hansen
- Jon Favreau, as
- Happy Hogan
- Ben Kingsley, as
- The Mandarin
- James Badge Dale, as
- Stephanie Szostak, as
- Paul Bettany, as
- William Sadler, as
- President Ellis
- Dale Dickey, as
- Mrs. Davis
- Ty Simpkins, as
- Harley Keener
- Miguel Ferrer, as
- Vice President Rodriguez
- Xueqi Wang as
- Doctor Wu
Robert Downy Jr. in Iron Man 3.
And so Iron Man returns for a third and possibly last film, at least with Robert Downey Jr. in the title role. Although, somehow I doubt that this is the last time he'll suit up in the armor. I imagine we'll at least see him one more time in Avengers 2. It's certainly a part that has been good for his career, reviving him to star status when many had written him off for good. In any case, as he proved in the first two films and proves once again here; this is a part that suits him to perfection.
In this installment we find Tony Stark living with his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Paltrow), his former assistant and current CEO of Stark industries. Stark is suffering from panic attacks following the events detailed in The Avengers. He has since taken to burying himself in his work, creating a large amount of new Iron Man suits. His private life is interrupted when the terrorist, Mandarin (Kingsley), begins a string of attacks against the United States, one of which places Stark's personal friend, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau who reprises his character, but declined to direct) in the hospital. But are things what they appear to be? The return of an ex-one night stand and a rejected business suitor (Guy Pearce), seem to muddle the matter. Can Iron Man figure out what's going on in time to save the President of the United States?
With so many superhero movies being produced these days, they no longer have the same impact that they once had, particularly after the superhero-palooza that was The Avengers. How do you top that? The world has been threatened by so many super villains and rescued by so many different costumed heroes, that to be honest, they've all become a bit samey. For a superhero film to stand out these days, filmmakers need something special and the ace that has always been up the sleeve of those behind the Iron Man films, is their star, Robert Downey Jr.
As he did in the first two films, Robert Downy Jr. charms in the title role. He's comic and easygoing, with always a twinkle in his eye. So many superhero films feature heroes who spend a great deal of time moping around, bemoaning the fact that they have superpowers, when all they really want to be is ordinary and to fit in with everybody else. Tony Stark, as embodied by Downey Jr., however, revels in being Iron Man. He doesn't hide who he is and he enjoys suiting up and showing off his work and abilities. This installment tries to add a touch of seriousness with his occasional anxiety attack, but he's at his best when he's smiling rather than worrying.
This charm of Downey Jr.'s is perhaps best embodied in this film with the scenes he shares, not with Gwyneth Paltrow or Don Cheadle, but with Harley, a young boy he meets during his investigations into the terrorist attacks. Tony Stark has a child's enthusiasm for toys and gadgets and so he bonds with Harley, almost immediately. They share some nice comic chemistry as Tony teasingly trades verbal barbs with the boy.
Although the scenes with Downey Jr. as Tony Stark are always enjoyable, many people go to these movies to see Iron Man in action. They might be disappointed to learn that there are surprisingly few scenes with Tony in the suit. That doesn't mean that the film is light on action. There are quite a few action scenes with him either outside the suit, or only wearing pieces of it. Those jonesing for a big armor battle need only wait for the climax where there are armored suits galore.
Although it's not as fresh as the original, Iron Man 3 is a highly enjoyable big budget superhero film, thanks mostly to Robert Downey Jr. If some other actor does take on the role of Iron Man in a future film, he's going to have some very big armor to fill.
Gwyneth Paltrow in Iron Man
I am in complete agreement with Scott that Robert Downey Jr., as Tony Stark, is the best thing about the Iron Man films. It is his movie star quality and on screen charm that endears us to him. Compare him to how dull, no matter how talented an actor, Don Cheadle is as Iron Patriot? Let me put it another way. Tony Stark is a misogynist, arrogant billionaire prick. He blows people off, telling some fan to meet him on the roof and then never shows up. He has countless one night stands with girls he knows he never intends on seeing again. He is a very self centered person.
His saving grace is that he does not hide who he is, whether he is in his armor or in his personal life. He never pretends to be a warm emotional person. He does not live modestly. He is proud of his accomplishments and puts them in your face. He enjoys showing off in his suit as well as outside of it. This arrogance leads to his biggest mistake in the film. This genius gets so caught up in a moment that he announces his personal address to the media and as such, to a known terrorist. Lest I forget, he also eggs him on. That moment of idiocy almost gets Pepper and himself killed.
Whereas Bruce Wayne pretends to be an arrogant uncaring playboy to throw off those who think to connect him to Batman, Tony Stark genuinely is one. Okay, so he loves Pepper and that scares him. He even says as much just prior to his home being attacked. Tony Stark enjoys being alone and using women for their "company" when the urge arises. With Pepper, he has a weakness. She is the one person he has any emotional investment in. Their relationship humanizes Stark and makes him more vulnerable.
I completely enjoyed this film, until it is divulged that Stark has a couple of dozen new Iron Man suits in his basement, that are all fully functional. They act on his commands and he need not be in any of them for them to be activated, fly into action to fight or rescue people. It takes away much of the potential tension. Stark needs to just sit at home in a lounge chair while his suits are out doing all the work. It is not exactly the basis for an exciting "superhero." Picture it, Pepper walks into the living room where Tony has his feet up on an ottoman, "Tony, dinner is ready." She says to him, to which he responds, while watching his suits on a monitor, "Be there in a minute hon, I'm just about to finish with these terrorists." With this new technology, Tony Stark/Iron Man could potentially be as exciting as your average video game player. The film ends with a Tony Stark voice over where he clearly states that he is Iron Man. That remains to be seen.
Robert Downey Jr. and Don Cheadle in Iron Man 3.
So we all agree that Robert Downey Jr. is great as Tony Stark. He has created a multidimensional flesh & blood human out of what in lesser hands could have been just another stereotype. He also spouts quips with the best of them and has managed to make an essentially unlikable character likable. Take the scene where the little boy tells Stark that the boy's dad left home 6 years ago and hasn't returned. Unmoved Tony replies, “Hmm... which happens, dads leave, no need to be a pussy about it, here's what I need... (brief pause) A laptop, a digital watch, a cell phone, the pneumatic actuator from your bazooka over there, a map of town, a big spring, and a tuna fish sandwich.”
His performance alone isn't enough to make me like this movie. Although I will admit that it improves on the crappy Iron Man 2. I still say enough with the superhero sequels already. I am once again in the minority on this as Iron Man 3 has grossed more than a billion dollars worldwide. Apparently audiences all around the globe are willing to throw away money on the same old rehashed plot and overdone CGI effects.
Like Scott I found the scenes between Tony and the boy to be the most enjoyable in the movie. I couldn't have cared less for the villain's dastardly plans. At this point does it really matter what they want or what their motivation is? Scott, you made the understatement of the year when you wrote that these superhero movies have all become a bit samey. A bit?! They are all completely interchangeable. A villain arises seeking revenge on the hero, they cause plenty of eye-candy destruction until the hero shows up for last second rescues. The End. (only it never is)
I'm with Eric on the remote controlled suits. What a ridiculous idea. But why stop there? Let's just make these suits available for everyone in the Marvel movie universe and be done with it. Then I'll never have to waste my time reviewing yet another inane superhero reboot or sequel.
Photos © Copyright Marvel Studios (2013)