Filed under: Movie Reviews | Tags: Aldrich Killian, avengers, Ben Kingsley, Captain America, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Iron Patriot, Iron-Man, Joss Whedon, Kenneth Brannagh, Mandarin, Pepper Potts, Thor
Phase Two of Marvels series of movies kicked off in a similar way to Phase One – with an Iron Man film and after some pretty impressive trailers and glimpses of The Mandarin and Pepper in the latest armour designed by Tony…..I was fairly hyped……enough to book tickets for a midnight showing. 😀
As the first Iron Man marked a significant point in Marvels long-term movie plans it was almost certain that Iron Man had confirmed his place at the forefront of the movies they were releasing. Unfortunately for Iron Man 3, we’ve seen the likes of Thor and Captain America appear in their own movies in cinemas across the world and reached the pinnacle of those releases with Joss Whedon’s The Avengers – with those in mind and Avengers in particular, my main concern was how a solo film could fair.
As I mentioned, the hype factor was high for me and I have to admit that I even enjoyed Iron Man 2 (which many fans took a dislike to) but Iron Man 3 proved be the first of the let-downs in Marvel’s releases, at least for me. It’s a very different Tony Stark that appears on the big screen as a much more grown-up and troubled character tries to deal with those sleepless nights and panic attacks in the only way he knows – building some seriously cool sh&%.
Now the tech has always been a big pull and with The Mandarin billed as being a significant match for Tony/Iron Man it was a surprise (not necessarily a good one) that not all was at it seemed with this “villain” figure and even the inclusion of the Extremis plot in the film all seemed a bit forced. That being said, the characters themselves play a much more significant part in this third instalment – marking a move away from the flashy tech side that brought a consistent amount action in those first two films.
Downey Jr. matches the serious aspect of the character well as he juggles that with his typical smart-mouthed bravado and there are enough laughs and quips to keep the momentum going but the tortured soul that is Tony Stark definitely seems to overshadow that and almost drag the film down to becoming a more sombre affair. Maybe that’s the narrative from Tony but with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and even James Rhodes (Don Cheedle) playing a more significant part in the whole film as War Machine/Iron Patriot there is still an element overshadowing their contributions.
To be honest, I still think they should have held with Terrence Stamp as Rhodey – but that’s maybe just me. There’s then the under-used Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) and ultimately disappointing reveal of the truth behind that hyped villain – although that villain side is improved with the addition of the man behind Mandarin, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) who does play the character to his typically high standard.
Iron Man 3 as a whole was OK in my eyes – and that’s mainly down to the films we’ve seen in-between as Thor has been the standout film for me as Kenneth Brannagh delivered a surprising addition to Phase One. There’s also no doubt that Joss Whedon raised the bar with Avengers and it’s the combination of those two movies that have made the Marvel Universe that the movies are trying to portray much more difficult to make an impact on. Some new tech and some pretty clever CGI effects can add some shine to the movie but I still think that this is the weakest of the releases so far.
The post-credit scene itself was also not what I’d hoped – I’d hoped for more of a hint at the next release, a real “WTF?” moment but even that fell flat. Could be I’m being over-critical here but 2012 was a strong year for Comic Book Movies and I had hoped this would truly start the second phase with style……unfortunately for me, that hasn’t happened and it’s actually left me much more concerned over the next releases with Thor 2 out this October and Captain America out in early 2014. More good than great and it definitely felt that Iron Man’s solo films had come to an end with a whimper, which is such a shame as it got the whole ball rolling.
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