Review: Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 logo

You never know if a sequel is going to be any good–can it live up to the first one? And if it’s the third installment of a trilogy, can it be fresh and original instead of leaving a feeling of “enough already!”? Iron Man 3 is a film that masterfully navigates all the potential pitfalls facing a sequel, and churns out an amazing adventure that has some calling it better than the first. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I definitely think it’s a huge improvement on the second and I loved it. So much. Here’s why:

The Iron PatriotDo you like explosions? Well, this movie will satisfy your explosion craving and then some. It felt like there’s an explosion every five minutes or so. It’s crazy but it works. And there’s action, action everywhere, but not to the point that you feel exhausted just watching it. Tony’s suits and his tinkering get shown off plenty too. This is an exciting film that is basically the definition of a fun action adventure superhero flick.

There are some darker themes in this one, as promised, but that doesn’t mean that this movie is without the trademark Stark Snark. There are one liners and side-splitting gags that often had the theater laughing so loudly that I missed the next part of the dialogue. There is the introduction of a young boy that may make you worried the movie is about to suffer the dreaded Annoying Child Sidekick Syndrome, but Tony is just as much of an asshat to the kid as he is to adults, that that crisis is thankfully averted, with hilarious results.

Plot-wise, I have to say that while watching the movie I was captivated by the many twists and turns. Afterward when I started thinking about it, I found that it was kind of convoluted and not all of it made much sense, but I had no problem with that when watching. I think I was too distracted by shiny things, like Tony’s new suits. There is also a twist concerning the Mandarin that I was not surprised by, because I’ve seen a similar thing done a few times before and could kind of see it coming, but again I wasn’t bothered by it because it just seemed to fit. The movie is a crazy ride that drags you along so fast, that you don’t really stop to think about whether or not things make sense. You just go with it, because the characters and the snappy dialogue sell it so well that you don’t even notice any weaknesses. However, fair warning to fans of the comic books: some of those twists and turns in the plot are at the expense of being faithful to the original story, but if you’ve seen any of the Marvel movies before then you should know to expect little to no continuity with the source material.

Pepper Potts and Tony StarkNow let’s talk about Pepper and Tony, because they are the heart of the movie. Pepper first, though, because Pepper gets her moment to shine in this one, and big time. She has comfortably taken control at Stark Industries and is now living with Tony in as mature a relationship as one can ever have with Tony Stark. She does spend part of this film in a typical damsel in distress role, unfortunately, but she also gets a chance to kick ass. For one, she gets to wear the Iron Man armor, and then there’s another part I don’t want to spoil, but let’s just say that without her this movie would have ended very differently. Pepper was amazing and a great highlight of the film.

And then there’s Tony. He has been having anxiety attacks over almost dying during the final battle of The Avengers, which tied this nicely together with the previous Marvel films. He’s facing some serious inner demons when some external ones coming knocking. Tony has everything stripped away from him in this, forcing him to really prove just how smart and resourceful he is by finding ways to kick ass and take names without his super suit. He ends this with a “clean slate” of sorts, which makes me curious about where he’s going to go from here, but since he’s still Tony Stark, he will never stop tinkering and getting into trouble. Suffice it to say, I imagine he still has plenty of adventures left in store.

I was so overwhelmed by the awesome of this film that it’s hard for me to find any negatives. I suppose that the treatment of female characters was far from progressive, even though Pepper does have at least one genre-convention-defying moment. Maya Hansen, however, has a particularly disappointing fate that was probably the one thing that I really did not like. Other than that, the only thing that didn’t seem to work for me was the ending credits, which seemed like the credits from a 1960s spy thriller got lost on their way home through the Marvel parking lot.

My favorite part of the entire film, on the other hand, would have to be the scene after the end credits. Marvel fans know to stay after the credits, but this one did not do what the previous Iron Man films did by hinting at things to come. This scene went a different way, but you could say that it changes your entire perception of what this film is about. It was great and I loved it so much I can’t wait to see just that part again. Those thirty seconds or so make this whole outing 100 times better.

This is how you do a successful sequel. If the rest of the Phase Two films are anywhere close to this good, then I will be a very happy fan girl. Iron Man 3 is a worthy addition to the Marvel franchise, and possibly one of my favorite superhero movies of all time. Seriously, go see this thing. Go on, I’ll wait. Then let me know what you think in the comments below.