Marvel Studios has been releasing one superhero hit after another. With summer approaching, the blockbuster features are getting ready to commence. After the insanely successful The Avengers, Marvel was hoping to continue Tony Stark's story after New York's alien invasion. Iron Man 3 has employed writer/director Shane Black, along with writer Drew Pearce. Neither of them have worked on either of the previous entries, which allows for new ideas to be introduced. Some audiences will find this to be exactly what the trilogy needs, since Iron Man 2 split viewers down the middle. While some viewers found it to an excellent superhero flick, others thought it was an absolute mess. I found it to be a letdown, especially compared to the first film in the trilogy. This is fortunately a definite improvement, even though it isn't the strongest entry.
A series of terrorist attacks begin to reveal a pattern, as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) gets closer to his final goal. Meanwhile, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is suffering from anxiety attacks, which are created by any mention of his near-death experience with The Avengers. He can't sleep, and when he does, he has terrible nightmares of the events that transpired. In order to save the world from destruction, Tony Stark must fight his fears and put his long hours of tinkering to use in an ultimate battle of good against evil. However, Stark won't be able to complete this mission by himself as the battle against terror commences.
Screenwriters Drew Pearce and Shane Black begin Iron Man 3 with an absolutely exceptional start. The audience is given a large amount of character development, as we watch Tony have trouble with the events that happened while he was with The Avengers. Even Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) has scenes where she shines more than she has previously. The dialogue will have you glued to the screen and the humor works when it's necessary. Even the groundwork created for the Mandarin is outstanding, as he hacks TV stations in order to deliver threats and other messages. This sets up for an outstanding villain, but the character's limited amount of screen time through the film's duration is a real letdown. This antagonist doesn't deliver the role that audiences are expecting, which will surely leave a lot of viewers disappointed. While it's always a good idea to make the protagonist the priority, the villain shouldn't be this flat.
If you're searching for a mindless popcorn flick, then you might find the narrative's direction to be a letdown, while others will find it to be quite refreshing. Tony Stark spends a lot more time as Mr. Stark than he does as Iron Man. This picture is a lot more about the man behind the armor than it is about the superhero. It most certainly works, although the film ultimately twists and turns into something completely different. The further I got into Iron Man 3, the more mistaken paths it took. By this point, it appears as if Pearce and Black have stopped trying to impress us with the story and decided to opt out for a lot of explosions. This normally wouldn't be an issue, but it's at the cost of sacrificing the story's development. Iron Man and The Mandarin's ultimate battle could have made for a truly epic finale, but we're merely teased with its potential. Whether or not you enjoy the turn of events, it still manages to be an incredibly entertaining film.
Iron Man 3 has substantially stronger roots in its comedy throughout this entry. While humor has always taken place throughout these flicks, the writers have given more attention to it here. Audiences will either find it to be charming and funny, or tacky and distracting. I found the majority of the comedy to work, although there are a few emotional sequences that are squandered by the jokes. Fortunately, the lead characters are infectious and get a strong amount of disposition. The fans of the original comic books might be irritated by the picture's deviations, but there are some fresh ideas to be found in Iron Man 3. However, the execution doesn't succeed with all of these concepts. I won't spoil any of them, but some of these twists are interesting, while others are undeniably dissatisfying. A few of them are followed for an unnecessarily long period of time, while others are far too subtle.
As expected, this entry features a round of solid performances. Robert Downey Jr. is as charming as ever in the role of Tony Stark. The writers have given a lot more emotional depth to the character, which Downey Jr. portrays very well. Gwyneth Paltrow is solid as Pepper Potts, especially since this character has been developed into a larger role. Guy Pearce is incredibly believable in the role of Aldrich Killian from start to finish. Rebecca Hall doesn't have a lot of screen time as Maya Hansen, but she certainly brings a certain charm to her scenes. Ben Kingsley is receiving a lot of praise for playing The Mandarin. While he's an excellent actor and his performance isn't bad, he simply doesn't physically fit this villain. Otherwise, even the supporting actors are satisfying.
Writer/director Shane Black has utilized this large budget rather well. Iron Man 3 presents some excellent action sequences, which will leave superhero fans with a smile. They're all exciting, but the final battle will leave viewers sitting at the edge of their seats. The CG work is utterly stunning, which is only supported by the jaw-dropping audio track. However, it isn't necessary to see this in 3D. In fact, I completely forgot that I was watching it in 3D, since there's an extremely small amount of depth. However, this is most certainly an experience to have on the big screen with a group of friends. As expected, there's a large amount of montage editing, but it isn't ever difficult to see what's happening on screen.
There isn't a single doubt that this entry is better than Iron Man 2, but the original Iron Man remains to be the strongest of the trilogy. The first act is tremendous, although the narrative takes some serious blows throughout the picture's progression. However, it still manages to be an explosively entertaining summer flick that will satisfy those who are looking for a fun time at the cinema. Other audiences will be split by writer/director Shane Black's route, as well as the constant comedic elements. This won't be the defining action flick of 2013, but it's a good way to start the summer blockbusters for the year. Recommended.