Marvel Phase II begins NOW! “Iron Man 3” is the fourth time Robert Downey Jr. has played the titular character. And like other third parts comic-book-based movies (Spider-man 3, The Dark Knight Rises), this is also the movie in which the hero rarely appears in his costume/ suit, showing that a superhero is more than just a suit/ costume.
Tony Stark has got everything that he ever wanted. But after the events in NY (“The Avengers”) and his – SPOILERS – near death experience – SPOILEREND – he has changed. traumatized. Now he is working non-stop at new suits, because he can’t sleep, which also leads to some problems with his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). But when international arthouse-fan terrorist The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) threatens the US government, Stark challenges him, which endangers both him and Pepper, as well as his best buddy Rhodey (Don Cheadle). And another extreme villain is lurking in the shadows, in person of a vengeful ex-coworker (Guy Pearce). Thank God Tony has got an army of Iron Men…
The surprising fact about Iron man 3 is that the movie borrows a lot of its scenes and plot elements. So is the initial sequence a rip off of Batman Forever, while there also some Terminator- moments, and yes, I came to be aware that the movie is bearing some resemblance with a well-known Disney movie…
The movie, directed by Shane Black, who replaced Jon Favreau, has a lot of themes and story arcs going on, and too many characters, like the red herring Rebecca Hall. Tony’s story and issues in this movie are great and very down-to-earth. It’s just a pity that they are solved in a side-sentence. Also, in the final minutes, other story-arcs were completed that weren’t even addressed in the 2 hours before! Another problem is that Tony spends a lot of time in the movie solving a mystery, a mystery that doesn’t exist for the audience because it has happened in a scene before. If particular scene was cut or shortened, more vague, then it would have been a pleasure to see Tony Stark investigating.
The story is very nicely done, and takes some twists and turns before the end, and I’m not gonna lie to you, many fans, especially comic-book readers won’t be happy about some of them. Well I liked it, because it was very unexpected. Which brings up another question: Was this movie the version we were originally supposed to see?
Minor Spoilers ahead…
You know, as you may have heard, Iron man 3 is one of the first movies, that was already planned for having different versions for different countries. In this case (and probably most cases), it is China. They gave a lot of money to the movie, so there could also be a Chinese star actor playing a fellow-hero’s role. And that character would have a major part in the Chinese version. Also, they wanted to change the Mandarin’s origin in that version. Well, as we are in the spoiler-section of the review, the twist is about the Mandarin (duh!)
So my theory is that the version everybody has seen is actually the version the Chinese would have gotten, minus the Chinese actor. Midway through production the makers went: “Well, two (entirely?) different versions of one movie is two much, we make every version the same and surprise everybody.” Just look at the two good but misleading trailers:
“Lesson No 1: Heroes… there is no such thing“
“Do you want an empty life, or a meaningful death?“
When two of the most awesome and memorable sentences in the trailers don’t turn up in the movie, it raises some questions…
Iron man 3 may have its flaws, but I like it. It has a good story, and is not a two-hour-teaser for the Avengers, like “Iron Man 2” was. Even though there may be too many characters in the movie, they are well-played, and even though the showdown falls under the typical Hollywood-cliche that “One is hard to kill, many are easy to kill“, it’s fun to watch.