Film and TV

Iron Man Three – 8 GPPs

by on 25/04/2013
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Iron Man Three. Yes – you heard me. Three. Not Iron Man 3. Three. This is the official title for the latest outing of Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr) alter-ego… Ok maybe not alter-ego… just ego. Why this alteration was made, I have no idea. Clearly the person behind renaming The Avengers to “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” in the UK has been up to their usual tricks.

Yes – Shane Black‘s effort to start off Marvel’s “Phase 2” hit cinemas in the UK in the early hours of this morning (5 past midnight to be precise… though I couldn’t be up that late as I had to work), and I waited until the afternoon to go and watch it. Also due to travel constraints I was forced to see the film in 3D. I HATE 3D… but I LOVE the Iron Man movies, so I’m happy to sacrifice my eyes and endure an impending aneurysm to make sure you readers get the review you deserve. To that end, I feel that I need to provide you all with a SPOILER WARNING – however anything that will truly ruin the experience for the readers I’ll take the utmost care to conceal.

Suits. Lots of suits.

Suits. Lots of suits.

Synopsis

Since the events of New York, and the Loki-lead Chitauri army’s defeat at the hands of the Avengers, Tony Stark has been a changed man. He doesn’t sleep – instead he tinkers in his workshop until daybreak… then tinkers some more. He’s clearly haunted by the events, as he now knows that the human race could quite easily be wiped from the face of the Earth by any number of alien adversaries.

Because of these events and his apparent paranoia over protecting Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Tony’s prettymuch created an Iron Man suit to cover every eventuality – 42 of them in total, with his latest baby responding to his thoughts thanks to some rather nifty sub-dermal implants (again, 42 of them).

In the midst of all this suit-making, a new terrorist menace is plaguing the United States and the country’s forces abroad – this time in the shape of The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). A formidable cyber-terrorist and manipulator of people, The Mandarin coerces his disciples to bomb certain targets on US soil, and when someone Tony cares about gets hurt in the process, he takes it very personally.

Aldrich Killian

Killian is suitably slimy

Alongside the terrorist threat comes a more subdued antagonist in the form of Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) – the brilliant mind behind the Extremis program. Extremis being the use of nanotechnology to enhance people, and re-grow limbs among other things.

Killian’s company has also been involved in “rebranding” Colonel Rhodes’ (Don Cheadle) War Machine suit to become the “Iron Patriot” – a suit that comicbook fans will probably comment was most noticeably worn by Norman Osborn (yes… the Green Goblin), and was involved in setting up the replacement for SHIELD when it was disbanded and replaced by HAMMER. However, that’s another story – one which I’d recommend reading.

There’s my boys…

Iron Man Three is a beautifully-crafted movie… the visual effects are second-to-none, and the acting is definitely up to scratch (Pearce & Kingsley are great, and suitably hammy at the right moments). I’ve never been disappointed in how the tech appears in the movies either, and it almost seems believable – like with enough money, it could almost be possible. Almost (I can dream, can’t I?).

The first act of the movie builds quite slowly, setting the atmosphere and focusing on Stark’s anxiety whilst introducing the extremis-enhanced goons – James Badge Dale is particularly good here… he’s like a frickin’ Terminator. These guys are surprisingly powerful, and the effect the extremis has on them visually looks particularly cool.

James Badge Dale

This guy will never lose his keys in the dark

If I’m honest the middle act of the movie is slow to get off the ground, and much of the humour that infused Stark’s previous outings isn’t present – there are a few good lines, and Stark is still his witty self, but something’s off. I can’t quite place my finger on it, and I’m not sure if this is the difference between Shane Black’s and Jon Favreau‘s directing, but I was a little disappointed.

We don’t really get to see Tony pull his finger out and start to kick a little ass until about two-thirds of the way through (although I’m nitpicking here), and with the diminished capacity of the Mk 42 suit at the time, we see him step up and improvise about as well as anyone can – with some rather awesome use of Christmas decorations.

The 3D conversion isn’t bad, but aside from the final act and a scene in the snow the use of 3D is minimal – in my opinion, not worth the extra ticket cost. I may be a little bias in my loathing of 3D, but being objective there were no “oooh!” moments or parts of the movie that felt like they were made for 3D unlike films like Avatar or Alice in Wonderland.

Tony clearly doesn't want to watch Spongebob

Tony clearly doesn’t want to watch Spongebob

Speaking of the final act, there are a couple of twists in the lead-up – one of which is obvious, the other, not so much. These are executed pretty well, the latter being quite funny.[toggle_box title=”Spoiler! Click to read!” width=”Width of toggle box”]Ben Kingsley’s turn as a cockney actor called Trevor is great – I love seeing typically dramatic actors having fun with a role, which he clearly did.[/toggle_box]

The last 20 minutes of the movie is where the majority of the effects budget has been spent, and it’s been put to good use. It’s some proper edge-of-the-seat stuff, though it comes a little late in the film for my taste. There seemed to be too much time spent on the downtrodden Stark before we see the payoff. [toggle_box title=”Spoiler! Click to read!” width=”Width of toggle box”]However  Pepper steals the movie right at the end, much like Hulk did in The Avengers. She epically despatches Killian and a rouge Iron Man suit and does it in style![/toggle_box]

Conclusion

My final thoughts on Iron Man Three are a bit of a mixed bag. I really enjoyed the movie, and it’s a great continuation of the series as well as a solid start to Marvel’s Phase 2. However I can’t help but feel a little sad too. [toggle_box title=”Spoiler! Click to read!” width=”Width of toggle box”]The movie feels very much like a farewell to the role for Robert Downey Jr, down to Stark having the Arc reactor removed, packing up his stuff from his Malibu home and “hanging-up his spurs” so to speak. Even the end credits feel like the end of a trilogy, with a montage created from all 3 movies. RDJ was rumoured to not be returning, and unfortunately it looks more and more likely that this is the case.[/toggle_box]

Overall, you need to see Iron Man Three. It’s a great film, well made, well acted and will pluck the heartstrings in all the right places. Oh – and the obligatory extra scene at the end is present (as it is in most Marvel movies) – you do however have to sit right the way through to the end of the credits to see it though.

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