“You’ll never see me coming.”
May 3 saw the US release of the third installment in the wildly popular Iron Man trilogy, and the final chapter in Tony Stark’s independent adventures. Fans found Iron Man facing a new and formidable tech genius business rival, while at the same time dealing with real-world relationship problems, PTSD, and anxiety attacks caused by events that occurred during The Avengers. I experienced a bit of a traumatic flashback myself when the opening monologue ended with something like, “Well, you know who I am.” But fortunately, Iron Man 3 shaped up to be an entertaining and explosive film (in more ways than one and at times overly so), and in the end met the quality standards of what fans of the trilogy have come to expect.
As this was the final film in a superhero trilogy, I went in expecting the hero identity crisis, the villain power complex that threatens to destroy life as we know it, and the climax with over the top explosions and special effects. And that’s what I got. But I couldn’t help but leave the theater longing for more, and wondering if the story could have been expanded. Very rarely does a trilogy’s third installment beat the other two, and while I found Iron Man 3 more engaging than the second, the first still tops my list. Nonetheless, the film’s quality, character depth, and of course Robert Downey Jr.’s performance, make Iron Man 3 an impressive and memorable conclusion to yet another superhero trilogy.
Things I liked:
•Tony’s PTSD/anxiety. I felt that this was realistic when considering the events in New York. It wasn’t overdone, and it helped tie the trilogy into The Avengers. Sure, Iron Man is a superhero and a technological genius, but he’s not invincible. This new aspect of his character simply reinforced Iron Man’s humanity, a point that had been pushed in previous films.
•The villain had deeper motives. What was the motive of Obadiah in the first movie? To take over the company? Make his own suit? Been there, done that. Iron Man 3 introduced the Mandarin and Aldrich Killian, founder of AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics), and it was nice to have a villain with a fleshed out backstory. There seems to be a split in opinion between the hardcore purists and the casual fans here about how the film’s creators handled the Mandarin’s true identity, but personally, I thought it was a hilarious twist.
•Pepper Potts is a badass. Enough said.
Things I disliked:
•‘Mer-cuh. Was the whole Iron Patriot thing really necessary? I like Rhodes, but I felt that they could have shaved this down. It seemed a bit out of place, and the whole war commentary thing has been done to death.
•The ending. Plenty of people won’t agree with me on this, but–SPOILER ALERT–Iron Man is just not Iron Man without his suits and arc reactor (was fixing his heart really that simple all along?). Looking back, I suppose it was an appropriate way (if not the only way) to wrap up the trilogy, but I couldn’t help but feel a bit empty inside (no pun intended). How he will deal with this minor issue of no longer being Iron Man come the next Avengers movie is yet to be seen.
So is Iron Man 3 worth watching? Absolutely, and especially if you are a fan of the first two films and/or The Avengers. However, if not for the promised “Avengers 2,” I would have felt that something was missing. And come on, Tony Stark without his suits is really just…Robert Downey Jr. (was there ever a difference to begin with?). But is that really such a bad thing?