Curious, adventurous, and solemnly swearing that he is up to no good.
Published April 30th 2013
The Iron Man Returns
The highly anticipated third instalment of this famous Marvel comic hero arrives in major cinemas worldwide this week, effectively kickstarting the mainstream blockbuster season for 2013. If this is any indication of what is to come, we might be in for an enthralling movie season.
Iron Man's greatest challenge yet
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) finds himself pitted against a new and unknown adversary, The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), who has brazenly claimed responsibility for various acts of crime around the world, with each crime even more vicious and cold-hearted as the days go by.
As if that isn't enough for him to handle, he gets a blast from the past when Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) enters the picture, along with Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall).
Due to his increasingly developed sense of morals and previous events in the Avengers (2012), Stark, ever the flamboyant showman, calls out on the Mandarin in as Stark-esque a manner as you'll ever see. It is a move that will set a chain of events which breaks Stark's world and those around him into pieces (somewhat literally).
Caught between a rock and a hard place, Stark must now find his way to retribution, redemption and the answer to the question: Does the man make the suit, or does the suit make the man?
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of Tony Stark has brought on mass acclaim, and he nails it yet again here. He effortlessly channels "genius playboy billionaire philanthropist" to a tee, while bringing out a more sensitive, vulnerable and believable side of his character in key moments.
Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley may have been overshadowed in the presence of Downey Jr. when they share the screen, but both of them manage to hold their own, and credit should be given for adding some unexpected dimensions to their characters.
Special mention goes to Jon Favreau, who plays Happy Hogan, now head of security of Stark Industries, and mainstay of the Iron Man movies. The director of the preceding Iron Man movies put on that type of performance that makes you root for the underdog, and makes you wish you can get some revenge when the bad guys let him have it. Not as outstanding as Clark Gregg for the Avengers, but should not go unnoticed either.
Unfortunately, there are some points I can nit-pick on.
The rest of the main cast (Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Rebecca Hall) performed competently, but I felt more character development could have been done, particularly for the women.
The finale actually had a great first half, but in Jekyll and Hyde fashion, its second half somehow did not give me the conviction that Marvel-style justice had been served. Not even Downey Jr.'s performance for that small section could negate the awkward feeling I had. Director Shane Black had done pretty well from the beginning, but he might do well with some advice from the Avengers' Joss Whedon. That Avengers finale was one of the finest superhero finales I've seen in my entire life. That, to me, is how a superhero movie is supposed to play out its climax. But then, I might be a tad sentimental.
My friend who watched Iron Man 3 with me said the first Iron Man movie in 2008 was the best of the three, and I actually agree. However, if it wasn't for that second half of the climax, Iron Man 3 might have been my pick. Instead, it has to settle for a close second.
Not the best superhero movie, but does it tick the boxes for a good superhero movie? Action? Check. Special effects? Check. Good guys, bad guys, story? Check, check, and check. Robert Downey Jr.? Double check. It's still great to watch, and most will not be disappointed.