Last time we saw good ol’ Tony, he and a group of super-powered rabble-rousers saved New York City and the world from an invading alien force. All appeared well and good, but the effects of nearly dying while combating an intergalactic menace took more of a toll on him than he presumed. Not good considering a villain who’s been looming since the first Iron Man has finally made his influence known, terrorizing the United States whenever he sees fit.
Directed and co-written by Shane Black, Iron Man 3 is the sequel that you wished for with Iron Man 2. Whatever spark was missing in that film has returned and is brighter than ever. The first thing you’ll notice is the armor isn’t the story: It’s more of a crutch for a man who has shirked into his own Howard Hughes lifestyle. No matter all the good he’s done, the world appears to be getting worse and the threats continue to pile on.
From the top down, the casting was exceptional. The acting pedigree that is Ben Kingsley, Guy Pierce, and Rebecca Hall was the shot in the arm this franchise needed. Additionally, the supporting performances from James Badge Dale, and most especially youngster Ty Simpkins, left lasting impressions. Unlike Jeff Bridges and Mickey Rourke in the first two films, Kingsley, Pierce, and Hall were able to breathe more life into their respective characters. The heroes are more relatable, flawed yet capable. The enemy, however, is definitely focused, methodical, SMARTER and very realistic (for a superhero movie). One thing’s for certain: you willdefinitely be talking about the Mandarin.
Granted, all of this is in thanks to the smart writing of Shane Black and Drew Pearce. Without question this was a Black creation through and through. His fingerprints are everywhere; from the in-battle banter, to the season in which Iron Man 3 takes place. Few people in the business can write a fragile hero better than Shane, which is exactly what Tony has become. Taking cues from the more memorable Iron Man storylines like Extremis, Armor Wars, and Demon in the Bottle, Black and Pearce allow Tony to go through his natural progression after getting his ass beat up in The Avengers. Despite all his wealth, intelligence, and influence, he’s only a man in a can. He’s mentally drained and emotionally frayed. The only way he can cope is to stay inside the armor and shut everyone out. Yet it’s the armor that also stops him from reaching his potential.
Speaking of reaching one’s potential, I for one am thankful ‘Happy’ Hogan (Jon Favreau), Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and even JARVIS (voice of Paul Bettany) had greater roles in this installment. After viewing 3, you’ll only wonder why they weren’t written so expertly before. They’re placed in such incredible scenarios that only Tony would have rushed in, but they perform admirably. Best yet, none of it appears out of character in the slightest.
Although there many tentpole films to be released this summer, Iron Man 3 has made itself a difficult film to surpass in box office and overall badassery.