Iron Man 3 ReviewJoe Green
Tony Stark's most thrilling outing yet
Let's start with the answers you're surely looking for. Is the film good? Yes. How good? Very. Does it live up to its predecessors? Absolutely; much more so than the second and easily rivaling the first. It may never have that same originality or unexpected "wow" factor as the first Iron Man, but it outshines it in terms of sheer excitement, suspense and jaw-dropping action scenes.
So there you have it, Iron Man has returned in style following his deservedly praised role in The Avengers. But he is not the same man we have come to know and expect. Far from a pale reflection of his former self, Stark is nevertheless plagued with fear and anxiety following the events of the Avengers film. As a result, we see more of the man behind the iron suit, allowing Robert Downey Jnr the opportunity to demonstrate his inimitable portrayal of Stark as a man of substance as well as wit, class and tongue-in-cheek lines. Don't take this to mean Stark has become some brooding, self-loathing, darker reflection of himself though. That's Batman's job.
All joking aside, Iron Man 3 is still a film full of fun, humour and likeable one-liners. Stark's sudden attack of character doesn't so much add depth to the man as it does add another likeable facet to his armour. This is played out very well in several scenes where Stark teams up with a young charismatic boy, who is clearly a younger resemblance of himself. It also acts as the premise for the film as we see the Iron Man struggle with home life with Ms Potts as much as his new enemy, The Mandarin.
The Mandarin's role in the film is very different to his comic book iteration and it's one which will likely not be seen coming. Played by the fantastic Ben Kingsley, Mandarin is a foreboding terrorist type, who unleashes sporadic and unforeseen attacks on the U.S, with the sole purpose of inevitably reaching its leader, the President. The attacks are followed by violently portrayed video broadcasts, interrupting normal viewing and targeted at encouraging fear and reaction. Stark rises to the taunt, but pays a harsh price in one of three of the film's most sensational action scenes. As was shown in the film's iconic trailers, Stark's home literally falls beneath his feet, reduced to rubble.
From the ashes of his fall, Stark is then left to piece together his retaliation without his suit and in doing so, we again get to see that there is more to the man than his armour. Part of what made the first film so successful, was seeing Stark evolve and create his character from nothing. In Iron Man 3, we again see him fight against stacked odds and it results in a more thrilling experience.
Speaking of which, the enemies he faces off against are, for lack of a more appropriate phrase, badass. Resulting from some form of mutation, their abilities allow them to instantly heal and recover lost body-parts, together with a heat the likes of which can burn and slice through almost any object. Yes, think Terminator 2. Stark's other nemesis of the film naturally has this ability more heightened than any other of his adversaries, with the outcome being a highly exciting finale to the film. Gwyneth Paltrow even has the opportunity to take part in the events, demonstrating that she is more than a pretty face and figure.
The biggest surprise of the film though, happens in the last few minutes. I will not of course look to spoil them in this review, but safe to say the future of The Iron Man seems less obvious than before.
Iron Man has turned into a blockbuster phenomenon and much-hyped superhero release as any in recent years. Iron Man 3 proved that there's not only life left in the old dog, but perhaps a new one altogether (watch the film, then read that line back). If you have watched and enjoyed any of the films he has starred in yet, you will certainly love him again. The casting is superb in all but one or two cases. The effects rival any I have seen. The action is breath-taking and the story is original; opening up new directions and evolutions for the character, particularly at the end. It is indeed Tony Stark's most thrilling adventure yet.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.