THE ROAD TO ‘INFINITY WAR’ – ‘Iron Man 3’

This may not be the best film in the MCU, but it is still pretty damn exciting!

Review by J.T. Johnson

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: April 14, 2013
DIRECTOR: Shane Black
CINEMATOGRAPHY: John Toll
WRITERS: Drew Pierce, Shane Black
MUSIC: Brian Tyler

When “Iron Man 3” was released in 2013, I really enjoyed the film. That’s why I was shocked to see that so many people disliked the movie. I have one friend that I think refuses to watch the movie at all because he just can’t bring himself to like anything about it.

Therefore, while watching the film again in preparation for “Avengers: Infinity War”, I tried to open my mind a little more and see what people hated about it. Unfortunately, I just ended up enjoying the damn thing all over again. I’ll even be a little more controversial and state that I actually like this film more than I did “Iron Man 2”.

I think the biggest problem for others with this flick is the apparently irredeemable twist which reveals to us that the main villain called the Mandarin is actually a bumbling actor named Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley) and that Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian is actually the Big Bad of the piece. I’ll admit, though, I actually liked the twist because let’s face it, the Mandarin from the comic books is a bit of a racist stereotype and even original “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau said that it was hard to try and develop a villain that had such a shady background. So, in other words, most people are butthurt over how this villain was treated.

I must also admit that it definitely takes time to get things started. It’s thirty minutes into the movie when Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) finally suits up to do battle. Before that, the only time we see any of his suits for any significant amount of time is when he’s testing his faulty Mk. 42 suit.

Another missed opportunity is the fact that Tony and his best friend Rhodey (Don Cheadle) don’t really have much to do together until the third act. Writer and director Shane Black is known for making fantastic buddy films such as “Lethal Weapon”, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” and “The Nice Guys”. Would it have been too much to get these characters together sooner in the movie?

Instead, we get several scenes where Tony is teamed up with Ty Simpkins’ Harley Keener, a kid who has a garage where Tony hides out for a bit. Their scenes are great together as Tony proves to be an unconventional adult figure for a child, but it would have been great if it was Tony and Rhodey in hiding… You still could still include the kid, but dammit I wanted more War Machine!

I guess before I move on, I should say that due to the above complaints, I actually do understand why there are audience members out there that don’t like this movie. I just can’t join them though due to a few things. The first and most important is Downey, Jr. as Iron Man.

In this movie, Tony is trying to figure out how to deal with anxiety attacks that he has been suffering from since fighting an army of aliens in “The Avengers”. After all, he almost died in that film trying to save everybody. Despite the attacks though, Tony never loses his eccentric attitude toward being a superhero.

If there is a scene that needs to be improved upon, Downey, Jr. is there with a clever one-liner and enough charm to make up for any faults that may exist. It also helps that his mission this time is more personal as he is also trying to keep his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) safe because she is the only thing that he cannot live without. There is also a cool element where the movie even explores whether or not Iron Man is the result of the suits that Tony builds or if it is because Tony is in the suits himself.

Then there is the action, which for the most part is pretty damn spectacular. The “Barrel of Monkeys” scene where Iron Man must save several people at once after falling out of a plane was extremely fun to watch. The climactic battle on an oil rig involving several of Tony’s suits is also pretty exciting to watch even today.

Yes, “Iron Man 3” is a flawed film and if you’re a damn purist of the comic books, then you’re not going to be satisfied by this film. Still, it is more focused than “The Avengers” trailer that was “Iron Man 2”. Fun action, witty banter from Tony, and a story that centers more on its lead character make this another worthy entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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