Iron Man 3 review – Tony Stark realises he’s just a man in a can

Posted on 5 May 2013
By Andy Johnson
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Fighting off an alien invasion in New York and flying a nuke through a wormhole before falling helplessly back to Earth.

The Avengers Assemble movie is a hard act to follow, so the chiefs at Marvel studios decided to push in a different direction with Iron man 3 (surely there are better names for the sequels, just the numbers make the stories appear diluted).

Making this more of a Tony Stark movie. He is the only truly human superhero – just a man in a suit. We see the all powerful Stark Industries supremo suffering panic attacks – in the words of Dirty Harry – ‘a man’s gotta know his limitations.’

Such reality-bending revelations, were bound to bruise an ego the size of Tony Stark’s.

Iron Man spends more time out of his suit than in it – as Tony comes to terms with the world-shaking developments in New York and the fact he is the more human, most vulnerable part of a now intergalactic superhero team.

With a new team at the helm, director/writer Shane Black and co-screenwriter Drew Pearce bring a different sensibilty to play compared with the two previous Jon Favreau directed Iron Man movies, including references to Downton Abbey and Croydon.

Robert Downey Jnr is more important to Marvel’s comic book movie franchise than Sean Connery ever was to James Bond.

But the whole Pepper Potts scenario, as much as it must appeal to a mass audience – blokes taking their dates to a movie, is becoming a big let down for fans.

Tony Stark, international playboy, millionaire, arms dealer and philanthropist is now a stay at home wannabe house hubby, buying his missus 10 foot cuddly rabbits. Honky please!

The film does have its high points, but they come in the trademark bursts of humour and touch of class elements we’ve come to expect from Marvel Studios and particularly Tony Stark and his pimped out HQ.

A great action scene unfolds after an attack on Air Force One and Tony rescues the free falling crew from certain death by playing Catch a Monkey, with his remote controlled suit.

The Iron Man 3 cast is also delight to watch in action. Guy Pearce always brings gravitas to his roles and British lovie Rebecca Hall brings a touch of grace and eloquence to her supporting role as the Botanist who begins the Extremis experiment. The Downton reference doesn’t do her extensive theatre pedigree credit.

Ben Kingsley steals the middle of the film with his turn as a warped Cockney actor, who reveals that The Mandarin is merely a machination of the dark and mysterious Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who’s spurning at the hands of Tony Stark some years earlier has come back to haunt him.

The scene where Kingsley switches to British 60s psychedelic survivor ‘Trevor’ is hilarious. As Tony Starks asks him why he’s there: ‘Did they promise to get you off the drugs?’ He responds: ‘no, they promised me more.’ Before shushing him up later while watching Liverpool FC on the telly.

Overall, the feedback from many hardened fans of the Man in a Can is they feel let down by the third film. With the biggest complaint focussing on how the Mandarin was used – for such a major villain in the Iron Man comics to be written off as a drugged up Cockney loser is unforgivable.

But after letting the movie resonate for a while, we’re not convinced that that is the last we’ll see of the Mandarin (last spotted being carted off in handcuffs, loving the press attention).

How do we know that his Trevor act was not just a big ploy to escape the clutches of Iron Man?.. He could easily return, after all – he is the ‘best King Lear Croydon has ever seen.’

One of the biggest fails in the movie is the soundtrack, an element we have come to expect to rock. What no Metal? This is unforgiveable – the film opens with Blue (Da Ba Dee by Eiffel 65, before sliding further into 90s mediocrity with Mambo No.5 and even features a song with the infamous infidel Robbie Williams. Surely top of the Mandarin’s death list.

Marvel… Give the fans what they want. When can we see Iron Man – Demon In A Bottle adapting one of the best Iron man comic story lines? Tony battling his alcoholism and out partying after his break up with Pepper.