The concluding (for now) installment of the Iron Man franchise switches directors from Jon Favreau to Shane Black with the intent of amplifying the action. Fitting, since Black has a long history with blow-out action films, having written Lethal Weapon (1987), The Last Boy Scout (1991), and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), the latter of which was also Black’s directorial debut. In Iron Man 3, Black re-teams up with Robert Downey Jr. (from Kiss Kiss…), invites several familiar characters, and rewards fanboys to a fitting end to the blockbuster trilogy.
The story picks up with Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) fresh from his battle with assisting the Avengers, as he tries to resettle into society. Stark, who is experiencing side effects from his previous battles, has some lingering mental issues. Apparently, even a billionaire superhero battles mental issues, from time to time.
As Stark tinkers away in his laboratory, his eccentric behavior is on full blast and his girlfriend, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), is the unfortunate recipient of his constant neurosis. Between an inept (yet, hilarious) birthday gift to Pepper to his distancing mannerisms, Stark’s mental state is far from recovered. Good thing there aren’t any terrorists running around the world. Oh, wait.
A genius, turned evil scientist (aren’t they all), Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) and former one-night stand Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) have created a compound that regenerates people’s injuries. Maya created this compound years ago when she first ‘met’ Stark as a way to regenerate plants. However, there are side effects that Killian is more interested in. As Killian weaponizes the compound, and has recruited a terrorist, The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) to utilize his regenerating compound to inflict terror throughout the world. Let the games begin.
Downey Jr. and Paltrow carry the film, but the true enjoymentcomes every time the villains, Pearce and Kingsley, are on screen. Kingsley, who talks almost like Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, resembles a certain Middle Eastern terrorist, but whose character takes a hilarious turn that had me giggling the rest of the film and Pearce always provides a top-class portrayal in every film he makes. Everyone plays a fun and exciting part within the film, which ultimately is its downfall. There simply is too much going on to fully enjoy the film. There are too characters, too many explosions, and too many plot details to cram it in such a short period of time.
There wasn’t enough time to let villains be villains. There was barely even any time for Stark to be Stark. Outside of a few conversations with a kid, Stark never fully utilizes his bantering style of dialogue. This story had enough fun ideas and evil villains that it really could have been extended into two films. Therefore, due to the rush to introduce the villains and reach its conclusion, there are some gaping holes in the plot.
Overall, Iron Man 3 is a nice beginning to the summer blockbuster indulgences. Black incorporated a new type of comedy into the character, and I retained more of the film’s humour than its action. The battles can be a little large and extreme as expected from a huge blockbuster action movie, but Iron Man 3 still works simply due to Stark, some genuinely funny situations and the villains involved.