Why wouldn’t he? Stark (portrayed by the charismatic Robert Downey, Jr.) was the vanguard for Marvel’s movie success. Marvel Studios released Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk in 2008. Downey’s portrayal of Stark became overnight success, and Iron Man, traditionally a B-list hero in the Marvel Comics universe, became a household name. The films were followed by Captain America, Iron Man 2, Thor, and eventually the culmination of all of the studio’s plans – The Avengers, a Billion dollar plus film.
Iron Man 3 finds Tony Stark challenged by his demons following the alien invasion that took place during the Avengers. He is tinkering in the lab; developing a version of Iron Man armor that comes when he calls it. He is unable to sleep, and his exhaustion is effecting his work and his relationship with his assistant-turned-CEO, Pepper Potts (Gwynneth Paltrow).
While Tony has been buried in his work, a vicious terrorist has begun anonymous bombing attacks all over America. The mysterious man, dubbed The Mandarin (Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley), has escalated his attacks, calling out the President of the United States with a promise to destroy the American way of life. Feeling that he needs a purpose to cling to, Tony calls out the Mandarin, delivering his home address on national TV.
The Mandarin answers by destroying Tony’s multi-million dollar home, dropping his many suits of armor, his cars, his wealth, and all he has accumulated to the bottom of the ocean. Tony escapes, thanks only to the fail safe measures he has built in to his technology.
Meanwhile, Pepper is approached by a former suitor, the slick Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). Killian has developed a program called Extremis. It possesses the ability to re-program the human brain, specifically the portion that controls cellular recovery and repair. He seeks Stark Industries’ investment to expand the program. Fearing the possibility of weaponizing the technology and the army of super soldiers that may follow, Pepper declines. Little does she know that Killian has already created that army, and they are on the move.
The Good: Iron Man 3 features so many different suits of armor that viewers heads will spin. Fans of the Extremis storyline will love the adaptation to the big screen, and Tony gets to pilot nearly a dozen different suits (and there are plenty more that pilot themselves). Viewers will also enjoy the strength of the female leads in the movie. There are a few damsel-in-distress moments, but plenty of strong woman moments, as well.
The Bad: Long-time fans of the Iron Man comic may see one particular character arc as ridiculous, or even insulting. Not every fan will see the character arc as a betrayal. (As a long time fan, I laughed out loud.) Those who want the 21st century movies to absolutely mirror the 20th century comics will be upset.
The Choose For Yourself: The Dark Knight trilogy ratcheted the stakes (and the performances up) with each concurrent film in the series. The Men in Black trilogy opened strong, dipped in the sequel, then more than made up for things in the third film. Watch Iron Man 3, then see how it ways in as the finale’ to the three film story arc. (We’ll look for your comments below.)
Til next time, Keep your powder dry and your armor polished and ready to Suit Up.
Nick Kelly is a Prince William based musician and writer. He is the author of the Leon “Catwalk” Caliber comic book released by Peregrine Entertainment, and the upcoming novels based on that character. He co-authors the Urban Samurai series with his wife, Stacia D. Kelly. His movie reviews, book reviews and interviews are available at www.horrorview.com . Read more of Nick’s work at www.nickkelly.com.