Iron man 3 Review

When Shane Black took the reins of such a largely successful Marvel franchise, it could have gone one of two ways. It could have quite easily became another of these action-only films, so deeply focussed on dazzling you with special effects and violence that the fundamentals of a believable storyline are long-lost. Thankfully, he injected something new and interesting into Iron Man's story. No longer is Tony Stark the pure genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist character that we knew in previous films. His ironclad composure has cracked to reveal his humanity – the emotional scars from his near death experience during The Avengers Assemble make you think of Stark as more of a human than a superhero. Not even his huge ego, his precious inventions or his luxurious lifestyle can protect him from himself.

The only recent Marvel film which has matched the level of emotion in Iron Man 3 is The Dark Knight Rises. Both bring emphasis to the psychological toll on any superhero persona. This is a delicate matter – it's easy to make a character unbalanced, either by making them wholly cold or by making them an entire whimp. Somehow Stark manages to remain a strong lead even when his exterior begins to crack; Robert Downey Jr's continually impressive acting skills make his psychological turns all the more believable and frightening. In fact, it's from here that you do indeed start to see similarities between the recent Batman films and Iron Man 3.

The newest addition to Marvel's collection of box office hits is hard-hitting in both visuals and the unseen things. Black brings an intriguingly sinister feel to the franchise, something I think previous directors were weary to do. A venture into uncharted territory seemed to do well for the otherwise frivolous movie... Yet, somehow, Tony Stark's hilariously snarky personality shines through his mental suffering and gives his sarcastic side a new lease of life. He continues to be the witty protagonist who we soon grew to love, but the darker themes loom throughout the film. There is a constant threat – not just from the physical enemy, but also from what lies within Iron Man's mind.

Tearing the egotistical mechanic from his comfort zone and taking everything that matters most to him away allows us to creep deeper under the character's skin. A large majority of the film, unlike its predecessors, has the man-in-a-can without a functioning suit and without the assistance of Jarvis. He suffers a great fall from grace when he relies on the assistance of a little friend, but he fights back any hints of weakness with his persistently arrogant attitude. In spite of the lack of a suit, it has to be said that the action fans will not be disappointed. Robert's character propels into what can only be described as badassery even in his vulnerable state, befalling his enemies in intelligent – and surprisingly wacky – ways. He isn't a billionaire inventor for nothing, right?

But where would Tony Stark be without his leading lady, Pepper Potts? Their jovial relationship is stretched and tested to new levels in this addition to the Iron Man franchise, but this was carefully balanced. In the other films they have a very hero-meets-girl relationship, but the gravity of certain events during Iron Man 3 brings them closer together... Yet further apart. Though it is one of the main themes of the film, the writers are sure not to allow it to dominate the screen. Gwyneth Paltrow continues to be a strong female lead: a role model for aspiring actresses from all walks of life. In spite of the fact that she is absent for a majority of the film, her resounding presence continues to impact the actions of other characters, though she herself reveals a certain vulnerability in Tony's absence. The only bothersome side of Pepper's character is the dizzyingly fast transition between being helpless and suddenly adopting invulnerability, but perhaps that was intended.

It has to be said that even the antagonist is annoyingly likeable. Stark finds himself matched both in intellect and the ability to whip up hilarious one-liners, and the clashes in their egos keep the film interesting throughout. It's just very unfortunate that the trailer (as seems to be tradition lately) gives nearly everything of the film away. As I said before, there are some twists in the plot that were difficult to predict, but the scene we all saw in the trailer with the 'army of Iron Men' could have done with being kept a secret. The scene itself was impacting and displayed some of the best CGI of modern-day films, but I'm sure it would have been a whole lot more impressive if it was left a surprise. That's not to say that all is ruined by the trailer.

All in all, Iron Man 3 is definitely a film you should not wait until DVD release to see. It's the most hard-hitting and explosive Iron Man film yet, with surprises and hilarity around every corner. We see one of Robert Downey Jr's most impressive performances yet, and at the same time, a decadent and loud return of the director of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. One can only hope that the two collaborate again in the (very) near future. Perhaps the ending won't be to everybody's liking, but the film as a whole is an epic that you can't afford to miss. I end the review by absolutely pleading any long-running Marvel fans to brave the excessively long credits and watch out for the nugget at the end. The cinema had emptied by the time the credits were over – and they really did miss out!

I rate this film 5/5.

Reviewed by Jade Earley

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