[This review contains spoilers.]
Robert Downey Jr is Tony Stark, and Tony Stark is…well, you know who he is.
And that's pretty much the story. I cannot think of a better actor to play Tony Stark/ Iron Man. He brought awesomeness to the role, he was born to play Tony Stark! Iron Man is a superhero movie, but unlike some, the humanity and emotions are very well written. I think that's why I like it so much. It isn't just another action blockbuster. It's about people, why they do what they do, and what makes a hero. I think Marvel is doing a great job in giving its superheroes an opportunity to rise to the challenge. Captain America, Thor and Iron Man all share the common theme -- things are personal, it's heroic, it's about their humanity and rising to the challenge.
So, phase II has commenced with Iron Man 3. I don't even know where to begin, but I'll start by saying this, his armours are awesome! The multiple suits of remote-controlled armours, I think that's what it's called, was mind-blowing. The special effect and the idea behind were very cool! Tony Stark didn't just make them for fun, he made them because he has become so paranoid. He was scared to loose the one person he loved the most, Pepper Potts. He has anxiety problems and he hasn't been sleeping since his encounter with the aliens and wormhole in New York. I think this was a great angle, it gave the story a focus. Because he was paranoid, he build and hid his back-up suits. Because he was paranoid, he upgraded the technology including the way the suits were coded to him (and I think Pepper).
What I love about this movie is that we saw Tony Stark going to the field without the armour. We saw him making things, investigating a case, doing recon and interrogating the bad guys. In the 'party protocol' battle scene at the end (which was my favourite scene of the movie), we saw Tony Stark in multiple armours and we also saw Tony Stark fighting without the armours. This concept itself was awesome and I love it! It showed us he was capable in fighting with or without his armours. He used his armours whenever he saw fit. His house was destroyed and his army of Iron Man was blown up, but he could always rebuild them whenever he wanted to. You can take away his mask, his armours and his gadgets, but he is still the Iron Man! To me, this part of the story is extreme well written. Tony Stark wasn't the only on wearing a Iron Man armour in this movie, the story went a bit further into showing why Tony Stark is Iron Man.
I think it's good that people know Tony Stark is Iron Man. Like that guy in the media van, he was obviously the biggest fanboy of Iron Man -- Tony needed Gary, and Gary needed Tony! (Nice shot of the Oracle logo in that scene! Oracle people will be very happy! I mean, did you see their corporate website?) Anyway... What about the kid Harley? If anyone wants to make Teen version of Avengers or Iron Man, this kid has to be in it! Harley was awesome! I love about the chemistry between Harley and Tony. The dialogues and the interactions were pretty amazing. What I love about them is that Tony speaks to Harley as an equal. I think kids like respect from adult more than adult can realise. Potato Gun Mark II FTW!
I haven't given Pepper Potts enough credit. I didn't think her character had much impact on the movie in the first Iron Man movie. The second one was a bit better. Iron Man 3 upgraded a lot of things such as the technology and the armours, but the movie also upgraded emotions, people relationships and Pepper Potts! I am really happy to see Pepper played an integral role this time. I love the fact that she got a giant bunny (ha!), she got the Extremis upgrade, she got to wear Mark 42, and she kicked some serious butt! Sometimes it annoys me to see different 'girls' in different movies of the same series such in 007 -- they have different 'Bond girls'. I personally like to see drama and character growth, even in superhero movies. I would hate to see someone like Pepper absent from the movie because she was so important in Tony Stark's life. It was totally obvious in Iron Man 3 that she was the reasons for all the back-ups and upgrades in Iron Man 3. He didn't do it to protect himself.
Let's talk about the villains. I gotta say, I was a little uncomfortable to see the terrorist stuff, because they were so real to me. The whole Mandarin on the TV was a bit creepy than it should. Once it was revealed that Ben Kingsley's character was nothing but a stoned British actor call Trevor, I was having a laugh! Ben Kingsley's performance definitely one of the highlights of the movie. Guy Pearce's Killian was a bad ass. I wouldn't say he was a highlight, but his character brought enough to the table to make that part of the story worked. Extremis was a great but creepy idea, very Terminator like. I am quite intrigued by the science behind it. Is Killian or Mandarin my favourite villain in Iron Man? No, and I don't have one. Loki all the way! One thing though, Rebecca Hall's character just didn't work for me at all. None of her previous roles worked for me -- Vicky Cristina Barcelona and The Prestige. Sorry, love!
I haven't said this enough in the past, but you know who else is a hero of the story? JARVIS! I am in love with JARVIS! I want one! I think JARVIS is definitely the invisible sidekick that kicks ass! I love the underwater scene where JARVIS saved Iron Man. I love that JARVIS was like running field ops. JARVIS is always reliable, he is so funny he doesn't know it! I believer the original JARVIS is an old butler like Alfred in Batman. But I am glad in the movies, JARVIS is more and he is totally awesome!
And then there were Happy and Rhodey. I love Happy. I love that Happy went off working on a case. I have always loved Happy as the bodyguard in Iron Man! I love that he was worried about Tony, especially after all the superhero stuff happened in New York. Rhodey was great and the idea of Iron Patriot was pretty good. I like the inside jokes about Iron Patriot and War Machine between Tony and Rhodey. There were a few brilliant bromance moments!
There wasn't a single dull moment in Iron Man 3. The dialogues, the pace, the action, the music and the jokes were amazingly integrated. There were so very good stunts such as the Airforce One rescue scene. I can't say I know Shane Black well as a writer and director, but I thought he did a fantastic job! I was worried when Jon Favreau wasn't going to direct Iron Man 3, but I am extremely happy to see the result! I can't get the music out of my head! I downloaded the soundtrack the moment it was released. The bonus scene of Tony Stark talking to Bruce Banner was brilliant! I laughed so hard! I really think Tony and Bruce had a bromance thing going on there. The end credit didn't say Iron Man will return, but instead it said Tony Stark will return. So I guess Marvel is leaving it as flexible as possible. Joss Whedon did say he didn't quite know what to do after he saw the ending of Iron Man 3. But I am hopeful, I will see Tony Stark again.
Sequels can be tricky, look at Spiderman or Fantastic Four. Iron Man still manages to surprise me. I am impressed with story and character growth, especially with Tony Stark and Pepper Potts, and I just love the tech upgrades across the board! I've seen Iron Man 3 twice now, and probably will watch it again on a cheap-ass Tuesday. Iron Man 3 is simply 'spectacular' (I did change it to 'Starktacular' later).
So, what do you think of Iron Man 3?
PS: If you can skip the 3D version, skip it. I watched both versions, they were the same to me. Except I have two pairs of glasses to wear during the 3D session, which was always annoying.
My other reviews:
Captain America: The First Avenger