Directed by Shane Black
The first Iron Man movie, five years ago, was an immediate blockbuster mainly due to the casting of Robert Downey Jr. The smooth-talking actor with all the irony he had to offer fitted the eccentric billionaire (and philanthropist) Tony Stark perfectly well. The sequel three years ago looked somewhat worse, but last summer in The Avengers, Downey Jr showed that he is still the most beloved superhero.
In Iron Man 3, a well-aimed joke still manages to break the intense heat emitted from the various scenes. Thanks to director and screenwriter Shane Black, who has previously worked with Downey Jr in the underrated Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, there is a neat balance between action and humor, just like Iron Man from 2008. Although Black uses this technique way too often in the first half hour of the movie, making it look like the Lethal Weapon series, the sheer fun stays and more importantly it does not interfere with the primary plot.
However, action is key throughout the movie. Now a topical issue, a series of bombings startle the American people (Boston is not one of the affected towns in the movie). The attacks are claimed by a terrorist called the Mandarin. Surprisingly enough, he has not been portrayed as a Chinese but rather a Bin Laden-type of guy naturally characterized by the beard. Or perhaps there is something about this Mandarin guy.
The Mandarin: Ladies, children, sheep… Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher.
The Mandarin has been brought forward as a strong and unexpected villain who simply wishes to teach the people of the United States a lesson. I am not really a fan of the comics, so purely looking at the Mandarin on the screen I can say one thing without spoiling the movie for you: great acting. Mark my words. After some tragic events , Iron Man literally invites the Mandarin to his residence in Malibu: the game is on.
Noticeably, Gwyneth Paltrow who plays the lovely Pepper Potts has more action scenes than in the two previous movies together. I do like that. It brings more drama to the big screens and it also emphasises the developing chemistry between Tony in person or suited-up and Pepper. Added to this triangle are new characters who make Iron Man 3 still original and suspenseful apart from the main storyline. This is not a dark brooding movie at all.
In the end though, of course, everything and everyone is related in some way or another, but Iron Man 3 has got enough surprises and twists up its sleeve to make us forget about the classic Iron Man we once knew and the hero that he has become. The actors have performed beyond my expectations, especially the Mandarin who instantly gave me the creeps. The movie regularly refers to The Avengers, but even if you haven’t seen that one you won’t miss out on anything.
Iron Man 3 is up until now the best movie from Marvel Studios. Surprising twists, humorous sneers and bombastic action scenes: Tony Stark’s beating heart is back.