Film Review – Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron Man 3

Title – Iron Man 3 (2013)

Director – Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)

Cast – Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, James Badge Dale, Rebecca Hall, Sir Ben Kingsley, Jon Favreau

Plot – Dealing with a fresh perspective of life after the events of The Avengers, Tony Stark (Downey Jr) must face up to himself, the love of his life Pepper Potts (Paltrow) and deal with the threat of the Mandarin (Kingsley) and a slimy scientist in Aldrich Killian (Pearce).

You know, it’s moments like these when I realize how much of a superhero I am.”

Review by Eddie on 26/09/2013

When Iron Man flew onto the big screen in 2008 it was a breath of fresh air that star tracked Marvel to live it’s dream of the eventual Avengers and also showed that they were more than mere spiders and mutants. Iron Man did so well thanks to it’s unique take on the superhero genre and a flare that gave it life thanks to Downey Jr’s great come back role and director Jon Favreau’s touch behind the camera. Since that big screen outing we have witnessed Tony Stark cameo’s, the lacking and forgettable Iron Man 2, the scene chewing yet still amazing The Avengers and now this (and seemingly final) Iron Man outing. And what a forgettable one it is.

Making huge amounts of money worldwide undoubtedly thanks to the love from The Avengers, Iron Man 3 is a film that shows you in all clarity that there can be to much of a good thing. What once seemed fresh and inspired here is nothing more than a riff and play of what has come before mixed in with a story that can only be described as uninteresting. A big flaw in the film is the use of Tony Stark himself, whilst interesting to see the never far from wisecracking billionaire deal with personal and more threating demons it just feels like we have learnt all there is to know about the American hero and have gone over his relationship with Pepper Potts enough now. Perhaps this would have been less noticeable if the films villains and central plot was more appealing.

Did director Black (again having references to the Xmas period) learn nothing from the over complicated Spider-Man 3 that more is definitely less. Iron Man 3 has dealings with Rhodes and his freshly named Iron Patriot, Guy Pearce’s slimy villain Aldrich, James Badge Dale as his fiery henchman Savin, Rebecca Hall as old love interest Maya Hansen, Sir Ben Kingsley (wow talk about over acting) as Mandarin and for some reason Favreau as the reappearing Happy. All these characters are just in the film not a part of it. Not once did I feel like I liked or loathed any of these characters enough to care which in the case of Iron Man and The Avengers was never an issue.

Iron Man 3 is a film that will more than likely be appreciated by fanboys and “boys”. It’s clear that on the current track record Marvel are free to virtually make any film and live off the love from previous more respectable entries. The film offers up no real action that hasn’t been done before or interplay between the characters to recommend it. One hopes that like Stark himself Marvel look for fresh possibilities and hang up the suit for a little while if not forever, unless of cause the Avengers are needed.

2 wisecracks out of 5

58 responses to “Film Review – Iron Man 3 (2013)

  1. Ah well, each to their own. I actually really enjoyed it. Definitely more so than “The Avengers” – which I thought was far more bloated; then again I’ve been a big fan of Shane Black for years and loved all the references to his other films in it.

    (Definitely NOT a fanboy) 😉

    • Nice Beyond. See I loved The Avengers that felt like the perfect mix of humour, action and character for me and also a interesting story.

      I do love Black’s ability to pull off a decent gag though which Iron Man 3 had a few decent examples of.

  2. I thought this film was better than Iron Man 2, but it was just…weird. The tone seemed way different, having Tony out of suit a good 90% of the movie was strange, and the twist with the Mandarin, though funny, was a little disappointing. I might’ve given it 3 or 3.5 wisecracks, but it still should’ve been much better.

    • I must admit, I really liked the fact that Tony was, for the most part, stripped of his gadgets and support net and had to rely on his wits.

      I must admit, while not a reader of the comics, I guessed “The Mandarin” twist; pulling a reversal in regards to the nature of the villain is one of Shane Black’s favourite tricks.

      • It was cool for Tony to rely on his wits, yes, but I don’t know…It was just so different than what I expected that I was thrown. Although I do think Tony Stark’s character has been developed wonderfully. As for the Mandarin thing, I did think it was funny and clever, but I was a little disappointed that the Mandarin *SPOILERS* wasn’t the terrifying being we expected. Like, he was SCARY. And then he was…goofy. For me, it was a letdown.

  3. I personally loved it. and respected the brave decisions regarding tone and plotting that the writers made. I disagree that it’s the “fanboys” who’ll like this one – it’s the readers of the comics seem to be up in arms about the changes they made to the source material. I just enjoyed not knowing what was coming next – it’s been a long time since that’s happened for me with a superhero film!

    I can understand why the plot might be considered convoluted (to put it mildly), but don’t agree that Kingsley’s over-acting is a weakness of the film (it’s like that for a reason).

    When all’s said and done, though, I completely agree that it’s now time for an Iron Man hiatus. Let’s hope he’s working more behind the scenes in Avengers 2, and Downey doesn’t get greedy after that!

    • Nice thoughts mate.

      I am all for a little hiatus – I am hoping Age of Ultron isn’t just another vehicle for Downey Jr to take centre stage, it needs to more about the cast as a whole.

  4. I liked this a great deal more than Iron Man 2, even if it wasn’t quite as good as the first film in the trilogy; I thought it did a great job of balancing some fairly serious issues (PTSD) in a superhero plot while still coming across as light and entertaining. Not the best piece of cinema, but a good movie.

  5. I’d certainly class myself as a fanboy and admittedly didn’t like IM3 on release. Seeing it again changed my mind somewhat but there are still glaring flaws, I think you’re right about the overload (the poor – cute – Rebecca Hall gets lost in the mix) and the handling of the Mandarin still doesn’t sit well with me.

    Anyway, good review Eddie!

  6. I can see your points eddie.. maybe im a fan boy I dunno?? Ive never been big on iron man or comicsbut I do enjoy most of the marvel movies.

    Iron man 3 was another I enjoyed. Was it brand new and completely different like the first movie?

    Of course not, we’ve seen it atleast twice now in both previous movies.. but I enjoy rjd as the ironman character and dont mind spending a couple hours to see what hes up to.

    Its not life changing but its as good as the other two movies without feeling fresh and adding in all the characters helps build iron mans world which will be needed should the massively lucrative movies continue.

    4 from me my friend

  7. I had mixed feelings about this film. I wanted to love it after the original Iron Man and The Avengers but like you said, there wasn’t anything terribly memorable about it. I’m hoping it picks up for Avengers 2…*crosses fingers*

  8. Wow, pretty harsh on it, Eddie. I was really enjoying this until the twist with The Mandarin. I REALLY hated how they handled that. I definitely get what you mean by “more is less”, there was a lot going on and with a lot of people.

    • Yeh to me everything got lost in the mire of countless characters and different things going on all at once – Iron Man was so great thanks to it’s somewhat simplicity. Thanks for your thoughts Gene.

  9. Great review. I don’t agree at all but still a good review. I loved Iron Man 3 as much as the Avengers and I adore that film. I think it mixed humor and action in a great way.
    It’s great that everyone can think different!


  10. To me, the first Iron Man was extremely overrated, and the second one was boring and generic. But I thought the third one was wonderful.
    IMO the Mandarin twist made the movie. Kingsley was not overacting at all; his performance during the first half of the movie was a PARODY of an overacting, “scene-stealing,” superhero movie villain.
    Did you notice that, when the Mandarin did his broadcast thing, there was a brief shot that showed he had a teleprompter? That should have tipped everyone off to the secret.
    I thought that the special effects and action were exponentially better than in the first two films. I loved it when the pieces of the suit flew around through the air and converged on Stark’s body, and I loved it when the empty suit opened up and trapped the man inside it.
    This was not an earth-shattering film, and while the Mandarin twist flew in the face of conventional superhero movie wisdom, the film didn’t break any new ground. I agree that this should be the last one. It’s time for RDJ to hang up the suit—unless it’s in an Avengers movie.

    • Very interesting Reasonable. I am glad we can agree on it perhaps being time to hold off on the solo outings and more RDJ gloating and let him be a player in the Avengers but please oh please not the Iron Maiden wearing focus!

  11. This film was a failure although it is hard to pin point exactly one thing that killed it, a lot of the scenes were boring and to be honest I wasn’t feeling it from most of the actors although on the other hand the writing was atrocious as well.

      • Up until the midway point of IM3, I thought that Kingsley’s Mandarin was going to rival Heath Ledger’s Joker as one of the most twisted, charismatically evil villains in comic book movie history. The fact that he turned out to be a foolish, benign figure did not disappoint me; instead, it put a smile on my face. The dark, cynical spirit of our times has its hooks in the superhero genre, which was once as pure and idealistic as genres come. Dark superhero movies can be brilliant, and people like us have been waiting our whole lives to see these characters taken seriously, but the Mandarin twist took IM3 and spun it around in a different, better-spirted direction. The twist would have ruined the Nolan Batverse, but in the context of the Iron Man world I thought it worked beautifully. I saw the Mandarin in IM3 as a meta-commentary on superhero movie villains, and the trend towards darkness within the genre. Or, if you don’t buy that, it was gentle ribbing at those of us who feel that dark always = good.

      • Great points Reasonable. I to like my things light and dark in equal measure I just found nothing lightly enjoyable about this film especially The Mandarin, it just felt hooky, from him to the red hot villains just did not work.

  12. For so much of a ‘giant disappointment’ everyone here is saying that it is, I actually find most cinema-goers that were looking for a bit of escapist fun quite enjoyed it (and therefore it achieves what it sets out to achieve). It does cover new ground – such as Tony Stark’s anxiety and confidence crisis – and I think a lot of fans are dissing because frankly Marvel were brave enough to handle The Mandarin with less respect than you were all hoping.

    It’s just funny to hear some saying it ‘just did not work’, considering it has made over $1 billion dollars worldwide and gained mostly positive reviews from respected media outlets. That doesn’t sound like a film that ‘didn’t work’ to me, no matter how much snobbery with which you look at it.

    But hey, interesting opinions nonetheless :). Please check out my own review of the film here:

    • As someone I know put it – after the Avengers you could probably have an Iron Man movie with a length of two hours with him sitting around his basement listening to Iron Maiden and it would make a billion dollars.

      If a movie makes money you can’t call it good as modern day movie audiences lap up franchises (see Fast, Pirates, Paranormal) and shun original or more inventive films.

      I for one think Pacific Rim was a far more entertaining and original film than Iron Man 3 yet made half its money if not less – I don’t snob films I just think this was a tired, seen before and seen better film.

      If you dig deep enough you’ll discover there are quite a few that feel the same – but really I don’t even know why I am bothering justifying this opinion for in a years to 2 years time Iron Man will be lost amongst the myriad of other superhero films that whilst making money and being a “success” have no heart and soul to make it last.


      • I saw IM3 in a packed theater, and the audience was laughing and cheering the whole time. And they ate up the Mandarin twist. After it was over there were a few disgruntled faces, but for the most part people had a good time forgetting their troubles. Oneofthem is correct that most people really liked it, or it would not have made a billion dollars; that it was a fun piece of escapist entertainment. You are right that it is hardly a great film, and will not be particularly remembered (except, perhaps, in notoriety because of that twist). Most films are not great films; the majority come and go. It don’t think the makers of IM3 were aiming for the stars, I think they were just making a fun film designed to be an antidote to the problems of the world for a couple of hours.
        Pacific Rim, on the other hand, was the best film of the summer, and one of my favorite films of all time. In time Americans will recognize its greatness.

      • Reasonable all I can say is – thankyou! Forget Iron Man 3 (not that it’s hard to) and lets just both remember the spectacle and fun times had with Pacific Rim 🙂

      • Those of us who saw it on a big screen know that we were a part of something special. There are so many great films that bombed when first released: Pinochio, Fantasia, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Shawshank Redemption, Brazil. If I were a filmmaker, a real artist, I would care a LOT more about longevity that first-run box-office receipts. The problem with Hollywood today is that the studios are run people people who care only about the opening weekend.

      • I read an interesting piece the other day that with foreign totals added Pacific Rim is the highest grossing original film this year – eg non sequel/remake/update so that really warmed by robot loving heart.

        Del Toro should be proud of the entertainment he made.

      • Trust me—he is. The man puts his heart and his soul into everything he does. He made a brilliant prestige film like Pan’s Labyrinth, and then he turned around and committed to giant robots fighting giant monsters, and he did it with every fiber of his being. His heart is the thing that most distinguishes him from most other purveyors of summer entertainment.

      • Ultimately I do agree with you Eddie – Hollywood franchises like the ones you have mentioned have indeed sucked originality and creativity out of the industry. I have been and will continue to be highly critical of the vast majority of them myself. But I actually enjoyed Ironman 3, and thought it was a little better than the average instalment of these multi-million dollar franchises.

        I totally agree with your point that after Avengers they could have done anything they wanted with Ironman/ Tony Stark and it would have made money regardless – but from what I can see, Marvel put more effort than that into Ironman 3. Maybe on this individual film we’ll agree to disagree! 🙂


  13. It’s a shame you didn’t really enjoy it. I did – I thought the whole thing was a rollercoaster ride of a film. Saying that though, I am a bit of a Marvel fanboi and as such, all the films revolving around The Avengers or X-Men have always gone down well with me. Good review. 🙂

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