The end of the Iron Man trilogy is here and hardcore Marvel comic fans will most likely leave the cinema disappointed. Casual viewers, however, are in for two hours of Robert Downey Jr. and 'splosions.
From the beginning we're whisked to an extravagant New Year's Eve party in 1999 where the DJ is pumping out 'Blue' by Eiffel 65 ...
Present day, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) tinkers for hours on end in his Malibu workshop perfecting his latest suit. Our quirky arms dealer turned superhero is as funny as ever with his zany charm and sharp wit. Hilarity ensues when Stark tests a prototype suit that flys to him, bit by bit. Comic relief with the workshop robot is familiar and welcome too. Iron Man 3 is off to an excellent start.
Stark's lack of sleep however takes a toll on his wellbeing and so we see a man struggling with post traumatic stress. For those who have seen The Avengers (2012) this will make sense as he recently endured a near-death experience to save New York. There is a brief explanation so prior knowledge is not assumed.
Iron Man 3 follows the predictable formula established in the last two films and the plot twists will either prompt laughter or tears. We learn of yet another research and development nutter (Guy Pearce) who wants to be better than Stark while a Middle-Eastern terrorist leader (Sir Ben Kingsley) known as the Mandarin is hijacking television stations across the States to claim responsibility for terror attacks across the globe.
This film is packed with satisfying action and entertaining banter between new and old characters which is punctuated by more explosions.
It is fair to say that the first film is the best of the trilogy because it was cohesive and brilliant (and had Jeff Bridges).
Iron Man 3 is an improvement compared to the second film but suffers from being too similar to its predecessors, which is unfortunate because there is ample opportunity, given the source material, to attempt something new and more exciting.
Fan expectations, for any sequel, are always ridiculously high which is why it is difficult to appease everyone in the audience.
The beautiful Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) goes from empowered CEO of Stark Industries to damsel in distress in a heartbeat. Using Potts as leverage to coax Stark is not only a cliche but it also comes across as lazy writing. The weak and helpless Potts scenario does turn on its head in the movie but that moment should have occurred much sooner.
There was a severe lack of tension despite the stakes because we all know that Stark, with the help of Rhodes/Iron Patriot (Don Cheadle) will prevail.
Loose ends are tied and and the trilogy is complete. We have not seen the last of Tony Stark though. Stick around after the credits for a bonus conversation between Tony Stark and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). The Avengers sequel should be fun ...