Movie Review: IRON MAN 3 (2013) – Focusing More On The ‘Man’ Than The ‘Iron’
In the plethora of Marvel’s movie Universe, the Iron Man movies were always lighter, funnier and simply entertaining, but not in a bad way. Imagine my surprise when the latest installment took things a bit more seriously and gave us depth into a superficial character. Here’s my Movie Review of IRON MAN 3…
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Despite the comics portrayal of Iron Man since his creation, the movies have featured a more sarcastically humorous and defiantly badass Iron Man / Tony Stark. This basic premise allows the third act to be even more effective when such a character gets his act together in a last ditch effort of heroism, and overcomes the conflict of the story. This formula even spilled over into the character’s treatment in THE AVENGERS as well.
However, IRON MAN 3 gave a more subdued, distracted and emotionally traumatized Tony Stark. Stark’s own narration, which opens the movie immediately, makes the audience realize that it’s not a typical Iron Man movie. The story starts off back in Stark’s home, away from the aftermath of everything that happened in THE AVENGERS, showing the impact the events of that story had on the team’s most aloof member.
Stark is shown to have been busy building many Iron Man suits, while juggling a full time relationship with Pepper Potts, when a threat from the past comes back to haunt him and challenge him in ways he never thought possible. More on that later. Let’s get back to the character again.
What sets IRON MAN 3 apart from the two other films in the franchise was how much more there was of the ‘man’ in Iron Man. This was, thematically… the whole point. Almost sacrificing himself in THE AVENGERS took a toll on Tony, as he’s having panic attacks and over all freaking out at the mention of New York. Introduce a brand new terrorist into this mix who’s just hurt someone close to Stark and there is an emotionally driven story at play.
Downey’s performance is most likely his best as the Iron Man character. Downey brought the typical traits of humor and wit to the performance, while adding layers of grief, confusion and emotional trauma. Downey was always amazing in those types of characterizations prior to donning the wise cracking man in the Iron suit, and he was let loose here to do what he does best.
The majority of the film even focuses more on Tony Stark instead of him in the suit, as he’s left to ‘find himself’ and deal with the consequences of his past actions. Guy Pearce as the threat from the past is brilliant. It’s always great seeing such a talented character actor in successful franchise. Playing the head of AIM, through him, the writers bring a bit of Comics World familiarity into the IRON MAN movies as well. Gwyneth Paltrow definitely got a lot more to do this time around, and she was wonderful as usual. Unlike its predecessor, IRON MAN 3 does a great job of world building through its characters and story. Which brings a theory to mind regarding AVENGERS 2: AGE OF ULTRON…
The final battle scene of IRON MAN 3 has him using remote controlled Iron Man battle suits, with pre-programmed defensive and offensive capabilities, controlled by Stark’s Artificial Intelligence, Jarvis. Jarvis was also briefly seen to be slightly erratic due to not being able to maintain a full charge. This further fuels the existing theory that the villain Ultron, who is confirmed to be appearing in THE AVENGERS 2: AGE OF ULTRON, may have origins that stem from Iron Man. The Comic-Con teaser further adds to this theory.
Showing an Iron Man helmet be warped, hammered and modified into the face of Ultron definitely implies his beginnings being connected to Iron Man. And given the IRON MAN 3 climax, it’s very reasonable to assume that one of Iron Man’s battle suits or technology may get corrupted with an Artificial Intelligence known as Ultron and cause him to build himself a body that rivals or is better than that of Stark’s. In the comics, Hank Pym, (Antman) is considered to be Ultron’s creator/father. So it’s not hard to imagine that same dynamic being attributed to Tony Stark in the Movie Universe.
IRON MAN 3 pushed some envelopes that might have seemed risky; for example, not having the main character in his titular suit for more than a few scenes of comic relief until the 3rd Act, was definitely risky. Even the emotional turmoil the main character goes through isn’t in keeping with the franchise’s, thus far, light hearted tone. IRON MAN 3 is definitely a welcome additional to the series and is a brilliant take on the character and his story while leaving a door wide open to the future of the series and character.