Iron Man 3 Review

poster from the Marvel Studios film Iron Man 3

Until 2008, I didn’t have a thought to spare for Iron Man, probably because until I’d only seen the suit. Then Iron Man introduced me to Tony Stark, and all of a sudden I’ve got a new favorite superhero. I mean, how can poor gloomy Bruce Wayne compete with a guy who’s as hilarious and intelligent as Tony Stark? Iron Man 2 was a bit of a letdown for me because Tony wasn’t as funny, but of course that didn’t stop me from rushing to the theater to see this one.

After an international terrorist blows up Tony’s house, he finds himself without his iron suit or Jarvis as he plots his revenge.

Because of Iron Man 2, my biggest worry was that Iron Man 3 would be too convoluted and not funny enough. Now that I’ve seen it I’m delighted to report that the plot is simple and linear (but not always obvious) and that it might have been even funnier than Iron Man. Go at once, I tell you!


My favorite thing about Iron Man, as I mentioned above, is Tony. Character development is key, which is why I didn’t like The Avengers as much – not enough Tony. Therefore my favorite thing about Iron Man 3 is that it’s all Tony. Tony Stark (Robert Downy Jr.) has post-alien invasion anxiety issues left over from The Avengers and it’s affecting his relationship with his secretary/manager/business fixer Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).

Pepper in bed with the iron suit from the Marvel Studios film Iron Man 3

Tony!! Take that thing off. I feel like I’m being molested by a suit of armor.

It also doesn’t help that Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) a suave and debonair genius from a think tank called AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics) is trying to horn in on Pepper out of revenge for the fact that Tony ignored him at a party like 20 years ago. Killian and his Tony’s ex-one night stand Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) are working on a project called Extremis which will allow human beings to repair themselves like starfish.

Pepper and Killian from the Marvel Studios film Iron Man 3

And that concludes my extremely sketchy business proposal.
See you later in the plot when I use it against you.

And too add injury to insult, Tony’s pal Happy (Jon Favreau), the newly minted head of Stark Industries security gets blown up while investigating Savin (James Badge Dale) the sketchy guy Killian brought with him on his visit to Stark Industries. Tony vows revenge and gets his house blown up for his troubles.

House explodes from the Marvel Studios film Iron Man 3

Tonyyyyyy you have a big mouuuuuuuth…

Now Tony’s really screwed. No house, no Jarvis, broken suit, and the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) the international terrorist he threatened, keeps sending lava people who can’t be killed out to assassinate him.

Tony phones home from the Marvel Studios film Iron Man 3

Hello operator? I want to make a collect call. YES. COLLECT. BECAUSE I HAVE NOTHING.

Oh, and his buddy Rhodey (Don Cheadle), and Air Force Colonel who wears a government-owned iron suit called War Machine (redubbed the Iron Patriot in a fit of insanity) can’t help him because all the terrorist threats are directed at the president and he has to stand around and look threatening at ceremonies.

Iron Patriot from the Marvel Studios film Iron Man 3

Excuse me sir, but Captain America is on the phone claiming copyright infringement.

So the movie does something I never would have expected – gives Tony a little kid for a buddy. Harley (Ty Simpkins) is a kid living in the bumpkin town where Tony winds up and Tony uses him for information and a place to work. He even bonds with the kid in his uniquely Tony way and the kid tries to help him get over his anxiety problems.

Ty Simpkins as Harley from the Marvel Studios film Iron Man 3

TONY: “Dads leave. No need to be a pussy about it.”
HARLEY: Oh yeah? Well if you’re so smart why don’t you just smart your problems away?

So all that was great. But what about my other favorite part of Iron Man, his suits that turn him into a human fighter plane? Well, sadly he’s missing all of his suits for a good chunk of the film. They do show up eventually, and there are a lot of them that all do different things. They have crazy names like Heartbreaker and Igor and I really would’ve liked more chances to see them in action.

Party Suits from the Marvel Studios film Iron Man 3

Here we are, your reaaaaalllllly expensive missiles.

Tony’s newest suit is so awesome that it almost makes up for the rest of it. Its boring name is Mark 42 but I like to call it the ‘come hither’ suit, because all Tony has to do is stick his arms out and the bits come flying over on little rockets to clamp on to his body. This leaves plenty of openings for my other other favorite part of Iron Man: the screwups. Anytime you’re working with new technology it never works right the first time (or, you know, ever), often messing up your life in hilarious ways – especially if you’re Tony Stark and you don’t have time for safety.

Mark 42 Suit from the Marvel Studios film Iron Man 3

The codpiece brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘crotch rocket.’

Now, I’m not saying this movie is perfect, because there are at least a handful of places where I asked myself questions like ‘hey, why didn’t he use all those suits earlier’ or ‘where does Jarvis live anyway?’ or ‘if his come hither suit is coded to him how did he get it to go on Pepper?’ but almost immediately I answered my own questions with ‘I don’t care’ because I was so swept along. Even thinking back afterward they don’t retrospectively ruin it for me, for several reasons.

1) Pepper gets to be bad-ass. She even gets to wear the suit for a bit, which is an interesting bit of role reversal.

Pepper saves Tony from the Marvel Studios film Iron Man 3

Ha! Who’s saving who now?

2) Holy Barrel-of-Monkeys skydiving rescue scene, Batman. They really filmed it with real skydiving, and it shows.

Barell of Monkeys scene from the Marvel Studios film Iron Man 3

Oh the things you can do when you have a lot of money.

3) The Mandarin. They have a cool take on him that I cannot tell you about.

Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin from the Marvel Studios film Iron Man 3

Excuse me. All these violent explosions are hurting my eyes.

The ending of the movie seems pretty final, but since there’s still money to be made on the franchise (and another Avengers movie in the pipeline) they make it clear that we WILL see more Iron Man in the future. This makes me happy because I love Tony and this movie was almost perfect. Everyone should see it in theaters so they’ll have a virtual avalanche of money to work with when Iron Man 4 starts shooting.

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