For those worrying that Iron Man 3 is darker and gloomier than the original Iron Man, I can happily tell you that you’re giving yourself grays over nothing. The third movie has more humour than a box full of cats. And it’s not just comedy-relief funny but a well-balanced kind of funny, combining 50% wit with 50% face-melting action. But never fear, the humour doesn’t stand out awkwardly and wave like your Dad at prom; it blends in with the scene and softens the impact of suspenseful situations, giving characters more dimension than wide eyes and heroic poses. From super villains to security guards not one character is flat or out of place.
Spoiler alert: Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) survived the New York apocalypse. Mostly. He’s still Iron Man, still rich, and still cocky, but Stark is seriously afflicted with PTSD. Instead of sleeping he builds Iron Man suits. Instead of eating he tweaks his Iron Man suits. Instead of playing the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, he (guess what) designs more Iron Man suits. The hobby has become an obsession, and girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is well aware. Apparently Stark doesn’t agree with quiet time and emotional confrontations, so we introduce The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). The Mandarin breeds terror, infiltrating governments, destroying infrastructure, and spreading fear across the globe. What does Stark do? Gives his home address to the media.
In Iron Man 3 Tony Stark is on a mission to save the planet but also to save himself. Not every problem can be solved with a cannon and sarcasm, apparently. Even so, Iron Man 3 does not forget about the action. Various kinds of sneak attacks, laser beams, gun shots, and magma flows are evenly spread across the whole movie. In fact, my favourite explosive scene takes place a little less than half way through. The CGI is crisp, like a mellow Transformers, and blends very well with the crowds of civilians cowering in the distance.
As for Stark’s emotional journey, there are just enough zippy hand gestures, hyperventilation, and well-placed muscle flexes to make the viewer happy. Tony Stark has become a much more ‘human’ character compared to previous installments. He finally realizes that his mind may have more problems than his body.
On that note, I HIGHLY recommend that you see The Avengers before Iron Man 3. There are plenty of references to ‘last summer’s New York invasion’ and chunks of the movie will make about as much sense as an Avengers shawarma party to someone who hasn’t seen it.
The dramatic scenes are grip-your-chair exciting, the action shots are explosive, and the humor is laugh-out-loud funny. I give this movie an approving “well done” and a 7.5/10.