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In terms of Iron Man, the first was great and other than The Avengers is probably the most enjoyable Marvel film so far. Iron Man 2 however felt messy, making for a truly awful film.
I’ve still found myself looking forward to Iron Man 3 since it was announced Shane Black was taking over directing duties and contributing to the screenplay. For those who don’t know, Shane Black sold his first screenplay, Lethal Weapon at 23 for $250.000, so in that sense he’s a bit of a hero.
The trailers have promised a much more personal and darker story too which I’m all for.
So to the actual film. It takes place a few months after The Avengers and Tony Stark is having difficulty in coming to terms with his mortality since his eyes were opened to a world filled with gods, aliens and wormholes. Things get worse when The Mandarin, a super terrorist begins a campaign of attacks on America and our main hero.
The first “big” film of the year doesn’t disappoint in that it kept me entertained from beginning to end. It’s the best of all three films mainly due to it’s strong story and tight script which focuses on human themes such as redemption .
This is no doubt due in part to Black, who injects the film with the humour and conversational dialogue he’s famous for along with his signature trademarks such as Christmas and an inner monologue running throughout. The finale even takes place on a cargo ship which reeks of Lethal Weapon 2 but on a much bigger scale.
The action sequences throughout are well crafted and some of the best I’ve seen in a long time with the climax being the highlight. I’d even go as far as to say that it tops the end of The Avengers which let’s face it is a pretty tough act to follow.
It’s not afraid to step back from the action either and focus on the actual characters. Seeing Stark stripped of his armour and having to use his intellect and inventive mind to get out of sticky situations is partly why it works so well and some people may be surprised, even disappointed as to how much time he spends outside of his suit.
Robert Downey Jr puts in another excellent performance as Tony Stark which feels slightly bittersweet as the chances are The Avengers 2 will be his swan song. It’s hard to imagine anybody else playing the character and who ever takes over has big shoes to fill.
Gwyneth Paltrow has a lot more to do this time too and clearly has fun getting to actually kick some ass as opposed to being the damsel in distress all the way through. Her chemistry with Jr is believable and it’s their relationship which provides the emotion which I feel has been lacking in other instalments.
Marvel continues to add to it’s collection some pretty impressive talent with Sir Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce playing the villains this time around. Kingsley as The Mandarin is decent but slightly disappointing as I didn’t find him as menacing or as memorable as I thought I would judging from the trailers.
It’s surprising but Guy Pearce has a much more notable performance as Aldrich Killian who is a cross between Syndrome from The Incredibles and Ra’s al Ghul from Batman. He’s a villain with purpose, a villain who has been scorned and Pearce brings a great intensity to him.
Also worth a mention is Ty Simpkins as Harley, the young boy who helps Tony when he crash lands in his town. He manages to hold his own against Robert Downey Jr and the two have great scenes together.
Iron Man 3 is a step in the right direction for the franchise and Marvel as far as I’m concerned. An overall well rounded film with laughs, spectacle and real human moments. It should be interesting to see where they take the character next.