Iron Man 3 movie review with spoilers: If you’re looking for the non-spoiler Iron Man 3 movie review, follow <- that link…. because here, I don’t hold back in the talking points about the Shane Black directed movie.
When Shane Black took over the directorial duties of the Iron Man franchise, I did not pause to ponder how different the movie would feel. And as anyone might know, different directors have different styles, visions, and what not about a story.
And now, after seeing Iron Man 3, I realize how much more I enjoyed the Jon Favreau approach or vision to the franchise. With watching IM3, I came to realize just how much “popcorn fun” the first two were.
No, this newest version is not bad. In fact it was pretty absorbing, so don’t get me wrong. It was smart, it was funny, though it almost seemed to be trying too hard to be Favreau/Whedon funny, it had some surprises and it had a wonderful sense of closure.
If, that was, you were looking for closure or a finality to the Iron Man trilogy. I wasn’t. I want it to go on. But it did end on a closing note.
Let’s chat about Iron Man 3… as the title suggests, HUGE SPOILERS to follow… and feel free to chime in with what you felt about the movie too! I want to hear your thoughts. Good, bad or indifferent.
In this movie, Jarvis is less stoic, the voices come through the armor mouth pieces with no modular adjustment. Though we have Extremis in the movie, it’s not quite the Extremis we know from the movies.
Tony has to deal with the end products of Extremis, but unlike the comic franchise, he does not turn to it to help deal with the Extremis enhanced bad guys.
Instead we see he’s been working on remote controlled versions of his armor. He no longer needs to stand on a pedestal to put the armor on, but rather, he can summon his armor, in parts, to fly to him.
But this Mark-42 is still in prototype mode. It isn’t quite a finished product. Much like Tony himself as he’s trying to deal with events from New York.
War Machine is rebranded as the Iron Patriot. (Focus groups liked the name better. LOL) Col. Rhodes (Don Cheadle) is the full-time watch dog for the President of the United States, played by William Sadler.
And then there’s the Mandarin, played rather surprisingly, by Ben Kingsley.
And let’s not forget about the Iron Legion. Or Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) involvement and rumors addressing her putting on an armor of her own, which in the franchise, is called Rescue.
This is where I’m miffed. (#1)
Sure, there were rumors about the Iron Legion, but when Disney put out trailers focusing on them, it pulled out what could have been one hell of a surprise in the movie. But instead, I watched the movie, wondering and waiting. And when the armors was alluded to by Tony, to Jarvis, asking for reinforcements, instead of wondering what that meant, it was a known commodity.
When the first armor leads the way out of the wrecked mansion, it was filmed to be a great curiosity or mystery. Instead, it was just, ah, there they go.
Then there’s Pepper. We know from the trailers that Tony sends his suit to protect her while the mansion is being blown up. That would have been an awesome surprise to see. Instead, not.
Later, from various scenes in the trailers, you know or surmise that Pepper gets shot up with Extremis. It was nice to see just how ‘kick ass’ it makes her. So that was a nice surprise.
Miffed, no, SHOCKED #3:
And the Mandarin… wow, what a twist Kingsley played.
In the comic franchise, the Mandarin is one of Tony Stark’s greatest and long-time foes. They even kept the hints of the Mandarin in the first two movies with reference to the ten rings. I was expecting a full-blown, knock down, drag out confrontation between Tony and the Mandarin.
But to see director Shane Black and writer Drew Pearce minimize one of the staples of the franchise to a mere distraction was a huge let down.
Rather than a man who finds and uses alien technology in the form of the ten rings, the Mandarin turns out to be a drunk named Trevor, who was hired by Aldrich to be the face of his terror campaign, and nothing more.
And Kingsley, who brings a certain amount of expectation to any role he lands, helped this redirect to its fullest extent.
Long time fans will be disappointed in a huge way and I’m waiting for the expected tidal wave of verbal backlash on how Shane Black handled this staple of the franchise.
Shame on you Shane!!! Shame on you!!!
But with all that said and done, there were some fantastic, laugh out loud moments, good snarky humor, dramatic moments and down right dangerous scenarios.
And through it all, Tony had to deal with his prototype armor and it’s quirks. This movie was purely about Tony fighting Aldrich and his Extremis minions, as himself and as Iron Man, albeit, a bit faulty and funny, at times, but ignored the path in the Extremis comic franchise Tony took to deal with them.
The movie opens in 1999 in Switzerland, when Tony meets Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) for a “one nighter,” while blowing off Aldrich Killian (Drew Pearce), while he tries to pitch Tony his business idea of A.I.M..
Remember in the first movie, when Dr. Ho Yinsen told Tony in the cave that he met him at a conference but was too drunk to remember, that moment. Yes, Shaun Toub reprised his role of Ho Yinsen, even if it was but for a moment, and we saw that moment. The scene immediately connected me to the first movie.
We see Maya’s pet project that will later become Extremis, even if it does have some minor flaws, like the subject exloding. In this case, a plant.
In other words, this moment in 1999 set the tone for everything, from the first two movies to the challenges that Tony faces in this movie.
But as this movie takes place after The Avengers, we see that Tony is having huge, show stopping panic attacks. He’s having a hard time gripping the idea what he dealt with in New York.
Aldrich meets with Pepper to pitch his Extremis idea, she turns him down. Happy follows the body guard of Aldrich, Savin (James Badge Dale) around because he’s suspicious. But for his trouble, one of the Extremis soldiers explodes, almost killing Happy.
This sets off Tony, (cut to scene where he threatens the Mandarin on camera, to the press) and then a bit later, is when the mansion gets exploded.
And that scene, though we’ve seen it a thousand times from different angles in the teasers and trailers, is still a pretty fresh scene. Because once Tony gets the armor on his body, it’s then that JARVIS (Voice of Paul Bettany) reminds Tony it’s a working prototype and not fully functional.
And yes, Jarvis is still pretty funny, even if he seems different.
As far as Tony going to the Midwest to get help from a small boy… well, I see how that came about.
Tony was just programming Jarvis with flight path directions to the Midwest when the mansion got attacked. After all was said and destroyed, Tony goes unconscious and Jarvis takes him to his last requested point of destination.
And that interlude with the kid was a cute bit too, as an almost inner-demon or inner-angel, with Tony talking the kid up about things, as the little manipulative guy gets under Tony’s skin… but in a good way.
All in all, it’s still a great movie done well. It was just a very different Iron Man movie than the first two.
And the closing of the movie, Tony uses the Iron Legion to trounce the Extremis soldiers, but in the process, either gets them all destroyed or, to appease Pepper, self-destructs them all. Seriously? Ug… there were some cool models in there, even if they were short-lived.
But I’m leaving out the ending so there’s still something to be surprised by, or fresh content. Even if it’s done in such a way that seems like the closing of the franchise, but at the end of the credits, we get an extra (BORING) scene of Tony talking to Bruce Banner and a quick note that “Don’t worry, Tony will be back.”
Bottom line: Despite some of the shortcomings that franchise fans will see, this is still a great movie. It’s just… different.