Quick Hit: A film that lingers at the edges of greatness, but the obligatory needs of this superhero film keep it from being great.
It had been quite some time since I had watched Iron Man 3, which came out in 2013. The movie was once of (if not the first) movies in the MCU to come out after the Avengers, which had absolutely destroyed how most of us thought superhero films could be. In watching it, even 7 years after its release, you can still feel the hangover from Avengers. And there’s definitely some shame in that, because lurking through the shadows here is a really enjoyable action comedy that takes a billionaire superhero and makes him feel tangible and relatable. Let’s move on to the film shall we?
As stated before, this film takes place after the events of Avengers. Tony has gone on a bit of a mental spiral from the stress of carrying a bomb through a wormhole and then falling almost to his death. He had fully expected to die in that moment, and so he is suffering full blown panic attacks throughout the film. There is also the stress of dealing with an ever changing relationship with Pepper (Gwenyth Paltrow) as she really is running Stark Industries at this point. Combine that with the threat of two different villains in Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce, ripped beyond belief) and The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley, hilarious as always), and the destruction of Tony’s mansion, and we’re left with a film that has a lot going on.
It also plays with the idea that Tony might be becoming a bit of an alcoholic (something that the comics explored extensively). While the House of Mouse wasn’t willing to tackle this story here, the knowledge that there is part of Stark’s history lurking around the edges isn’t totally lost. In fact, with the decision to pull Iron Man out of his armor and let us see Tony as a man, it completely humanizes the character. If the film had focused on these elements, and left the exploding fire people out of the film, I think it may have been the best Marvel film - right up there with Winter Soldier and Thor: Ragnorok. However, it becomes middle tier, because of EXPLODING FIRE PEOPLE.
Let’s be honest here - for the most part, Marvel really doesn’t do villains well. It’s one thing that DC seems to have a lot more of - interesting villains. Here, taking the Mandarin feels… sleezy, because it’s taking a character that had been built off of some racist characterictures, and attempting to shoehorn him into a film that doesn’t really want him in it. The film is much more interested in Guy Pearce and his amazing compound that can regrow limbs and oh yeah, that minor side effect mentioned in capitals above. And so despite the fact that we get an amazing scene where Tony meets a young boy and not only helps him build things in his garage but truly seems to connect with him (in a way that we’ll later see him connect with Peter Parker), we also get him and Don Cheadle fighting a bunch of exploding fire people, in a CGI affair that is just incredibly outrageous.
So yes, Iron Man 3 has its elements that are both entertaining (a skydiving scene from an exploding Air Force One is a must watch) and heartwarming, but it also goes a bit too far into the Disney machine. I’m going to give this one a “C+”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"