Iron Man 3 is likely to be one of the biggest blockbuster hits of the Summer this year, but will it be able to top last summerís hit movie from Marvel, the Avengers? Financially it may, but it doesnít quite hit the mark on the enjoyment factor. Donít get me wrong, Iron Man 3 is certainly a fun movie with lots of comedic and action moments, but I donít think the overall story is on par with Avengers or even the first Iron Man movie (yes this movie is definitely better than Iron Man 2 but thatís not saying a lot).
The events of this movie take place shortly after the events of the Avengers movie. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is back home in his Malibu, CA mansion and back to tinkering with his now many suits of armor. A new terrorist known as the Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley) is making trouble for the U.S. Government. To combat this new threat, War Machine piloted by James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) is re-christened Iron Patriot and assigned to handle things. It appears Iron Man is no longer on speed dial. Meanwhile, an old acquaintance of Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns to stir things up in both Tony and Pepperís lives. All this against a backdrop of Tony dealing with anxiety issues over the events from the Avengers movie and revisiting an old acquaintance in Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall).
This movie has most of the elements we have come to expect from an Iron Man movie: the many comedic Tony Stark one-liners, lots of cool Iron Man armors (and we do mean lots) plus many action-packed scenes. Where it differed from the previous two movies is the focus on Tony Stark instead of Iron Man. Despite the volume of Iron Man suits in this movie, the amount of time Tony actually spends in the suit is far less than any of the previous movies. Marvel is known for their heroes being flawed and suffering crises of conscience. That certainly is true here.
The film also did little to build upon the overall Marvel/Avengers Universe storyline. While the previous character-based movies occurred prior to the Avengers ensemble film, they all contributed to the story arc. This unique approach is one of the reasons Avengers was so good. Although Iron Man 3 is the first film in Marvelís second phase of movies, it is largely backwards facing and does nothing to lay groundwork for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy or Avengers 2. The scene following the credits also avoids building for the future although itís funny enough to stick around for.
Avid Marvel fans will be disappointed in the handling of a major character. Details would give away a plot point, but I was unimpressed. With a different character, the approach would have been fine, and the actor portraying this character certainly did a good job. Unfortunately, they chose to depart completely from the rich history the character enjoys in the comics - something many will not be able to forgive.
Despite my complaints, I still enjoyed this movie overall. Robert Downey Jr. continues to give a great performance as Tony Stark/Iron Man, and I loved seeing all the different armors in the movie. There was a lot of laughter to be heard while viewing this one.