Review: IRON MAN 3 (2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Review: IRON MAN 3 (2013)

Uh... you don't have to bite my mask to see my face. All you have to do is ask...
Less of a superhero movie than a Tony Stark show in an action comedy mode, IRON MAN 3 is energetic but suffers from unnecessarily bloated screenplay while the comedy element borderlines into near parody.

After the record-shattering (box office, that is) of THE AVENGERS last summer, I'm sure a lot of fans are eager to see how Marvel is going to move on with their Phase Two project -- starting with the highly-anticipated IRON MAN 3. The good news is, IRON MAN 3 is a minor improvement over the tepid IRON MAN 2 (2010). Unfortunately, just about everything in IRON MAN 3 is an overkill -- the plot is heavy-handed and the humor is too broad while the superhero element is surprisingly a bit too grounded for its own good (you know it when you see it).


Set after the events of THE AVENGERS (2012) which has left Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) as anxious as ever, he is now retreating in his Malibu mansion to update a couple of new Iron Man suits while his lady love Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) manages his business at Stark Industries. Then along came the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), a mysterious terrorist hellbent on global annihilation who is responsible for a series of world bombings. When Stark Industries security chief Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is badly injured from one of the bombings, Stark responds quickly by issuing a televised threat to the Mandarin. But the Mandarin is one step ahead as he sends out a heavily-armed helicopter to destroy Stark's mansion into smithereens. Stark survives the attack, before he gradually finds himself in rural Tennessee. He soon begins his investigation about the bombings, only to discover that nothing is actually what it seems at the first place.

Director Shane Black (who replaced Jon Favreau from the first two IRON MAN movies) does a credible job handling his first big-budget Hollywood movie. He knows how to stage a few exciting action sequences as well as delivering his trademark of witty one-liners. You can say IRON MAN 3 is the funniest of all three movies and this is especially made possible by the ever-charismatic Robert Downey Jr. As the ego-centric and now-anxious Tony Stark, Downey Jr. is often funny yet engaging enough to root for his character. I must say this is the best incarnation of Tony Stark I've ever seen so far. One surprising element that I never thought possible is how Black delivers a great buddy chemistry between Tony Stark and Col. James Rhodes (Don Cheadle). They immediately reminded me of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in the LETHAL WEAPON series (where Black used to write the first two installments). That's not all, Downey Jr. also has a brief but memorable buddy moment with the talented Ty Simpkins who plays Harley during the Tennessee scene.

The exhilarating mid-air rescue sequence where Iron Man have to save 13 people in freefall after the Air Force One blown up into pieces.

It seems to me that Shane Black is more interested to feature more Tony Stark in person than the Iron Man itself. On the surface, it's a bold reinterpretation from the usual IRON MAN movie but I'm sure a lot of fans and moviegoers alike are expecting an IRON MAN movie, not a Tony Stark movie. Then there's the radical change of the bloated plot written by Drew Pearce and Shane Black himself. Apart from trying too hard to cram a lot of subgenre into a 130-minute length, I was particularly shocked to find the surprise twist halfway through. Let's just say it's a total cop-out the way how they treated a certain character in this movie. As for the two featured villains, Ben Kingsley's The Mandarin and Guy Pearce's Aldrich Killian are sadly unmemorable. Even the post-credits scene this time around, let's just say, doesn't get you excited all over the place.


Hmm... I wonder what is my line again... Is it "I shall conquer the world..", no... not that...

Overall, IRON MAN 3 is a middling effort and it's quite sad to see Shane Black fails to capitalize the full potential of a superhero genre.

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