Friday 26 April 2013

Iron Man 3 (2013) - Shane Black

Tony Stark is the James Bond of the Marvel universe.  With his bravado persona, he has the money, the gadgets, the girl and the perfectly groomed goatee.  Yet with Iron Man 3, we final see Stark at his most vulnerable.  Stripped of the suit for much of the film and suffering from anxiety attacks after the events of Avengers Assemble, he is a desperate man seeking to protect the woman he loves.

The film doesn’t try to hide its blatant parallels to America’s war on terror, especially relevant after the recent bombings in Boston.  As such, the plot is fairly standard Hollywood blockbuster fare with all the typical villains, cute kid sidekicks and explosive action that you could expect.  Yet the series is reknowned for Downey Jr’s portrayal of Stark and Iron Man 3 delivers a new slant on the character, with a more serious story and believable terrorist threat (with a comic book twist of course), whilst retaining the trademark tongue-in-cheek humour.  The script is frequently hilarious, undercutting any seriousness with comedic one-liners delivered as charmingly as ever by Downey Jr.  The narrative is well paced, slowly weaving its story threads with surprising and unpredictable twists, albeit with plenty of plot holes.  Guy Pearce’s slimy villain Aldrich Killian follows a typical story arc with implausible motives, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts (far from the strong woman we’ve seen in previous films) is mostly reduced to helpless victim, and Don Cheadle’s Iron Patriot is more symbol than man.  Yet the film focuses heavily on Stark and is carried by Downey Jr’s performance – easily the most endearing Marvel hero.

In comparison to other Marvel superhero films, Iron Man 3 is heavily story driven with only a smattering of well-directed action sequences.  Then just as you feel there’s not enough Iron Man involved, the film crescendos towards a suitably spectacular finale that has more suits than you could hope for, accompanied by a rousing score.  Iron Man 3 ultimately does little that the previous films don’t, but provides a fitting conclusion to the most exciting Marvel hero.  As pure, simple popcorn entertainment, it doesn’t get much better than this.