Iron Man 3 - Cinema Review

'the film clearly appears to be cherry picking Robert Downey Jr. and Shane Black's best parts, heading towards an inevitably average outcome'

Though better than the second film in the series, Iron Man 3 is still a film desperately searching for the sense of fun its original iteration offered. Marooned in a coma of moroseness, Robert Downey Jr. still offers some value for money as Tony Stark, but somewhere his spark, like that of his metallic charge, is missing.

The pairing of director Shane Black and Downey Jr, who previously combined to such good effect in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, should have fixed that, but instead the film clearly appears to be cherry picking their best parts, heading towards an inevitably average outcome. Black's acerbic wit is toned down here, sarcasm reigns, but Stark has already had that anyway. Meanwhile, Downey Jr. speaks with the uncertain syntax of his Kiss Kiss character. Nerves and uncertainty are things Stark has never suffered with and they don't suit him.

The counter argument to that point though runs that Stark is very much at a crossroads here. Though not the comic book depiction of Stark's alcoholism, he is still a broken man, in other ways. Leaning on a crutch, the weapons used to kick him come in the form of Guy Pearce's slighted nerd Aldrich Killian, Ben Kingsley's terrorist/educator The Mandarin and James Badge Dale's laxidasical killing machine Savin. The latter, now carving a career for himself with notable bit parts, is impressive and his villain satisfyingly evil, whilst the other two take different paths than one might expect when examining the film from the outset. Kingsley, after a key reveal, has a hugely entertaining few scenes, though how well the reveal itself works is certainly open to debate.

Not open to debate is the characterisation of Rebecca Hall's Maya, who is apparently meant to offer herself as some sort of anti-hero-cum-love-interest but gets so little to do her conclusion is pointless and wasted. Not something, by the way, that you can aim at first female lead Gwyneth Paltrow, who has grown in stature from the first film onwards and continues to do so here.

That though, and a terrifically fanboy-friendly finale, is not enough to elevate this up to the levels the first film set for comic book movies. Where Iron Man launched Marvel's Phase 1 with a colossal bang, this announces Phase 2 with a warning: Marvel are going to try some new things, and not all of them are going to be as successful as previously.


  1. Agree with most of your thoughts on this one. It was entertaining, but some things felt underdeveloped.

    1. Yeah, I agree with that - think the finale is a good example. Entertaining but would have liked to have seen some more of some of those suits throughout the film; Downey building them, referring to them even, maybe even Cheadle using them, etc.