I enjoyed Iron Man 3, but not as much as its predecessors. I’d recommend seeing it once, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it twice.
(For a different take, be sure to read Barry’s review after you finish this one!)
The special effects and stunts were exhilarating as expected. Robert Downey, Jr. was entertaining as always, and engaged in amusing rapport with his supporting cast.
However, Gwyneth Paltrow did not share scenes with Downey enough to exploit their chemistry to its full potential. Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan, too, was left out of too much of the action. Don Cheadle’s James Rhodes served as more of a deus ex machina to periodically save Stark than a fully-functioning character.
The plot did little to build on the success of The Avengers, avoiding the crossover formula that has always been a big part of Marvel’s magic. I assume that this was an attempt to make the franchise stand on its own feet, possibly in light of uncertainty over Downey’s contract future. I submit that this strategy is a mistake: Iron Man has always been most interesting as part of the Marvel Universe, not as a solo character. The potential to lay groundwork for sequels and tie-ins was largely wasted.
The opportunity to develop new villains was stunted by a lame reinterpretation of Mandarin minus his rings and an underutilization of A.I.M. The latter was introduced early but rarely referenced for the rest of the film. Aldrich Killian made for a one-dimensional villain. If Iron Man is going to fight a fire-breathing foe, I’d rather see him face Fin Fang Foom. Better still, I’d rather have seen the original Mandarin, who was considered as a villain for the first film. This idea was shelved with the intent of saving the character for a sequel with adequate space to do him justice. Now it appears that Iron Man’s most interesting nemesis has been written out of the series in favor of a bad joke.
Finally, if Marvel and Disney are going to lead us to expect to wait for stingers until the end of the credits, please make some effort to make them worth waiting for, or we will stop waiting. This is the second film in a row (after Avengers) where we’ve waited patiently through many minutes of credits only to be disappointed by a trivial attempt at humor rather than anything foreshadowing future films.
That’s my take. Let us know what you thought by posting below! (And don’t forget to check out Barry’s review too!)